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1.  Bmi1 Drives Stem-Like Properties and is Associated with Migration, Invasion, and Poor Prognosis in Tongue Squamous Cell Carcinoma 
Bmi1 (B-cell-specific Moloney murine leukemia virus insertion site 1) had been found to involve in self -renewal of stem cells and tumorigenesis in various malignancies. The purpose of this study is to evaluate the role of Bmi1 in the development of tongue squamous cell carcinoma (TSCC) and its functional effect on the migration and invasion of TSCC. Initially, immunohistochemistry revealed that Bmi1 overexpression was a common event in premalignant dysplasia, primary TSCC, and lymph node metastases and was associated with a poor prognosis. A significant correlation between Bmi1 and SOD2 (manganese superoxide dismutase) expression was observed. Side population (SP) cells were used as cancer stem-like cells and further assessed by sphere and colony formation assays, and the expression of stem cell markers. TSCC cells with higher migration and invasion ability (UM1 cell lines) showed a higher proportion of SP cells and Bmi1 expression than TSCC cells with lower migration and invasion ability (UM2 cell lines). Knockdown of Bmi1 in UM1 or SP cells inhibited migration and invasion and decreased the sphere and colony formation, and the expression of stem cell markers and SOD2. Direct binding of C-myc to the Bmi1 promoter was demonstrated by chromatin immunoprecipitation and luciferase assays. Moreover, C-myc knockdown in SP cells inhibited their migration and invasion and decreased the expression of Bmi1 and SOD2. Our results indicate that the deregulation of Bmi1 expression is a frequent event during the progression of TSCC and may have a prognostic value for patients with this disease. The Bmi1-mediated migration and invasion of TSCC is related to cancer stem-like cells and involves the C-myc-Bmi1-SOD2 pathway.
doi:10.7150/ijbs.10405
PMCID: PMC4278249  PMID: 25552924
Tongue squamous cell carcinoma; Cancer stem-like cell; migration; invasion; prognosis; Bmi1.
2.  Molecular Variation and Horizontal Gene Transfer of the Homocysteine Methyltransferase Gene mmuM and its Distribution in Clinical Pathogens 
The homocysteine methyltransferase encoded by mmuM is widely distributed among microbial organisms. It is the key enzyme that catalyzes the last step in methionine biosynthesis and plays an important role in the metabolism process. It also enables the microbial organisms to tolerate high concentrations of selenium in the environment. In this research, 533 mmuM gene sequences covering 70 genera of the bacteria were selected from GenBank database. The distribution frequency of mmuM is different in the investigated genera of bacteria. The mapping results of 160 mmuM reference sequences showed that the mmuM genes were found in 7 species of pathogen genomes sequenced in this work. The polymerase chain reaction products of one mmuM genotype (NC_013951 as the reference) were sequenced and the sequencing results confirmed the mapping results. Furthermore, 144 representative sequences were chosen for phylogenetic analysis and some mmuM genes from totally different genera (such as the genes between Escherichia and Klebsiella and between Enterobacter and Kosakonia) shared closer phylogenetic relationship than those from the same genus. Comparative genomic analysis of the mmuM encoding regions on plasmids and bacterial chromosomes showed that pKF3-140 and pIP1206 plasmids shared a 21 kb homology region and a 4.9 kb fragment in this region was in fact originated from the Escherichia coli chromosome. These results further suggested that mmuM gene did go through the gene horizontal transfer among different species or genera of bacteria. High-throughput sequencing combined with comparative genomics analysis would explore distribution and dissemination of the mmuM gene among bacteria and its evolution at a molecular level.
doi:10.7150/ijbs.10320
PMCID: PMC4278250  PMID: 25552925
comparative genomics; homocysteine methyltransferase gene; horizontal gene transfer; molecular variation
3.  Differential Transcriptional Response in Macrophages Infected with Cell Wall Deficient versus Normal Mycobacterium Tuberculosis 
Host-pathogen interactions determine the outcome following infection by mycobacterium tuberculosis (Mtb). Under adverse circumstances, normal Mtb can form cell-wall deficient (CWD) variants within macrophages, which have been considered an adaptive strategy for facilitating bacterial survival inside macrophages. However, the molecular mechanism by which infection of macrophages with different phenotypic Mtb elicits distinct responses of macrophages is not fully understood. To explore the molecular events triggered upon Mtb infection of macrophages, differential transcriptional responses of RAW264.7 cells infected with two forms of Mtb, CWD-Mtb and normal Mtb, were studied by microarray analysis. Some of the differentially regulated genes were confirmed by RT-qPCR in both RAW264.7 cells and primary macrophages. Kyoto Encyclopedia of Genes and Genomes (KEGG) pathway was used to analyze functions of differentially expressed genes. Distinct gene expression patterns were observed between CWD-Mtb and normal Mtb group. Mapt was up-regulated, while NOS2 and IL-11 were down-regulated in CWD-Mtb infected RAW264.7 cells and primary macrophages compared with normal Mtb infected ones. Many deregulated genes were found to be related to macrophages activation, immune response, phagosome maturation, autophagy and lipid metabolism. KEGG analysis showed that the differentially expressed genes were mainly involved in MAPK signaling pathway, nitrogen metabolism, cytokine-cytokine receptor interaction and focal adhesion. Taken together, the present study showed that differential macrophage responses were induced by intracellular CWD-Mtb an normal Mtb infection, which suggested that interactions between macrophages and different phenotypic Mtb are very complex. The results provide evidence for further understanding of pathogenesis of CWD-Mtb and may help in improving strategies to eliminate intracellular CWD-Mtb.
doi:10.7150/ijbs.10217
PMCID: PMC4278251  PMID: 25552926
Mycobacterium tuberculosis; macrophage; bactericidal response; cytokine signaling; autophagy; lipid metabolism.
4.  Epithelial Cell Polarity Determinant CRB3 in Cancer Development 
Cell polarity, which is defined as asymmetry in cell shape, organelle distribution and cell function, is essential in numerous biological processes, including cell growth, cell migration and invasion, molecular transport, and cell fate. Epithelial cell polarity is mainly regulated by three conserved polarity protein complexes, the Crumbs (CRB) complex, partitioning defective (PAR) complex and Scribble (SCRIB) complex. Research evidence has indicated that dysregulation of cell polarity proteins may play an important role in cancer development. Crumbs homolog 3 (CRB3), a member of the CRB complex, may act as a cancer suppressor in mouse kidney epithelium and mouse mammary epithelium. In this review, we focus on the current data available on the roles of CRB3 in cancer development.
doi:10.7150/ijbs.10615
PMCID: PMC4278252  PMID: 25552927
apical-basal polarity; CRB3; EMT; cancer
5.  Decrease in Plasma Cyclophilin A Concentration at 1 Month after Myocardial Infarction Predicts Better Left Ventricular Performance and Synchronicity at 6 Months: A Pilot Study in Patients with ST Elevation Myocardial Infarction 
Background: Cyclophilin A (CyPA) concentration increases in acute coronary syndrome. In an animal model of acute myocardial infarction, administration of angiotensin-converting-enzyme inhibitor was associated with lower left ventricular (LV) CyPA concentration and improved LV performance. This study investigated the relationships between changes in plasma CyPA concentrations and LV remodeling in patients with ST-elevation myocardial infarction (STEMI).
Methods and Results: We enrolled 55 patients who underwent percutaneous coronary intervention for acute STEMI. Plasma CyPA, matrix metalloproteinase (MMP), interleukin-6 and high-sensitivity C-reactive protein concentrations were measured at baseline and at one-month follow-up. Echocardiography was performed at baseline and at one-, three-, and six-month follow-up. Patients with a decrease in baseline CyPA concentration at one-month follow-up (n = 28) had a significant increase in LV ejection fraction (LVEF) (from 60.2 ± 11.5% to 64.6 ± 9.9%, p < 0. 001) and preserved LV synchrony at six months. Patients without a decrease in CyPA concentration at one month (n = 27) did not show improvement in LVEF and had a significantly increased systolic dyssynchrony index (SDI) (from 1.170 ± 0.510% to 1.637 ± 1.299%, p = 0.042) at six months. Multiple linear regression analysis showed a significant association between one-month CyPA concentration and six-month LVEF. The one-month MMP-2 concentration was positively correlated with one-month CyPA concentration and LV SDI.
Conclusions: Decreased CyPA concentration at one-month follow-up after STEMI was associated with better LVEF and SDI at six months. Changes in CyPA, therefore, may be a prognosticator of patient outcome.
doi:10.7150/ijbs.10271
PMCID: PMC4278253  PMID: 25552928
Acute myocardial infarction; Cyclophilin A; Left ventricular ejection fraction; Left ventricular dyssynchrony; Matrix metalloproteinase.
6.  Decrease of Let-7f in Low-Dose Metronomic Paclitaxel Chemotherapy Contributed to Upregulation of Thrombospondin-1 in Breast Cancer 
Low-dose metronomic (LDM) paclitaxel therapy displayed a stronger anti-angiogenic activity on breast tumors with fewer side effects. Upregulation of anti-angiogenic factor Thrombospondin-1 (TSP-1) accords for therapeutic potency of LDM paclitaxel, but its molecular mechanism has not been elucidated yet. microRNAs (miRNAs) have emerged as new important regulators of tumor growth and metastasis. Here, we hypothesize that miRNAs are involved in TSP-1 overexpression in paclitaxel LDM therapy of breast tumors. The miRNA profile of tumor tissues from control, LDM and MTD groups in 4T1 mouse breast cancer model was detected by microarray, and then verified by quantitative real-time PCR (qRT-PCR). Luciferase assay and western blot were employed to explore the mechanisms of miRNAs involved in this process. We found that let-7f, let-7a, miR-19b and miR-340-5p were reduced by >2 fold, and miR-543* and miR-684 were upregulated by at least 50% in paclitaxel LDM therapy. qRT-PCR verification revealed that let-7f level was reduced most significantly in LDM therapy. Computational prediction using TargetScan and miRanda suggested THBS1 which encodes TSP-1 as a potential target for let-7f. Luciferase activity assay further confirmed that let-7f may bind to 3'UTR of THBS1 gene and inhibit its activity. Moreover, forced expression of let-7f led to a decrease of TSP-1 at both mRNA and protein levels in MCF-7 cells. Contrastly, let-7f inhibition induced an increased expression of THBS1 mRNA and TSP-1 protein, but did not affect the proliferation and apoptosis of MCF-7 cells. Paclitaxel LDM therapy led to a decrease of let-7f and the elevation of TSP-1 protein expression in MCF-7 cells, while overexpression of let-7f may abolish LDM-induced the upregulation of TSP-1 in MCF-7 cells. In summary, let-7f inhibition contributed to the upregulation of TSP-1 in paclitaxel LDM therapy, independently of proliferation, cell cycle arrest and apoptosis of breast cancer. This study indicates let-7f as a potential therapeutic target for breast tumor.
doi:10.7150/ijbs.9969
PMCID: PMC4278254  PMID: 25552929
let-7f; Thrombospondin-1; Low-dose metronomic paclitaxel therapy.
7.  Coenzyme Q10 Protects Astrocytes from ROS-Induced Damage through Inhibition of Mitochondria-Mediated Cell Death Pathway 
Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) acts by scavenging reactive oxygen species to protect neuronal cells against oxidative stress in neurodegenerative diseases. The present study was designed to examine whether CoQ10 was capable of protecting astrocytes from reactive oxygen species (ROS) mediated damage. For this purpose, ultraviolet B (UVB) irradiation was used as a tool to induce ROS stress to cultured astrocytes. The cells were treated with 10 and 25 μg/ml of CoQ10 for 3 or 24 h prior to the cells being exposed to UVB irradiation and maintained for 24 h post UVB exposure. Cell viability was assessed by MTT conversion assay. Mitochondrial respiration was assessed by respirometer. While superoxide production and mitochondrial membrane potential were measured using fluorescent probes, levels of cytochrome C (cyto-c), cleaved caspase-9, and caspase-8 were detected using Western blotting and/or immunocytochemistry. The results showed that UVB irradiation decreased cell viability and this damaging effect was associated with superoxide accumulation, mitochondrial membrane potential hyperpolarization, mitochondrial respiration suppression, cyto-c release, and the activation of both caspase-9 and -8. Treatment with CoQ10 at two different concentrations started 24 h before UVB exposure significantly increased the cell viability. The protective effect of CoQ10 was associated with reduction in superoxide, normalization of mitochondrial membrane potential, improvement of mitochondrial respiration, inhibition of cyto-c release, suppression of caspase-9. Furthermore, CoQ10 enhanced mitochondrial biogenesis. It is concluded that CoQ10 may protect astrocytes through suppression of oxidative stress, prevention of mitochondrial dysfunction, blockade of mitochondria-mediated cell death pathway, and enhancement of mitochondrial biogenesis.
doi:10.7150/ijbs.10174
PMCID: PMC4278255  PMID: 25552930
astrocyte; caspase; coenzyme Q10; mitochondrion; reactive oxygen species; ultraviolet.
8.  Silencing the HaAK Gene by Transgenic Plant-Mediated RNAi Impairs Larval Growth of Helicoverpa armigera 
Insect pests have caused noticeable economic losses in agriculture, and the heavy use of insecticide to control pests not only brings the threats of insecticide resistance but also causes the great pollution to foods and the environment. Transgenic plants producing double-stranded RNA (dsRNA) directed against insect genes have been is currently developed for protection against insect pests. In this study, we used this technology to silence the arginine kinase (AK) gene of Helicoverpa armigera (HaAK), encoding a phosphotransferase that plays a critical role in cellular energy metabolism in invertebrate. Transgenic Arabidopsis plants producing HaAK dsRNA were generated by Agrobacterium-mediated transformation. The maximal mortality rate of 55% was reached when H. armigera first-instar larvae were fed with transgenic plant leaves for 3 days, which was dramatically higher than the 18% mortality recorded in the control group. Moreover, the ingestion of transgenic plants significantly retarded larval growth, and the transcript levels of HaAK were also knocked down by up to 52%. The feeding bioassays further indicated that the inhibition efficiency was correlated with the integrity and concentration of the produced HaAK dsRNA in transgenic plants. These results strongly show that the resistance to H. armigera was improved in transgenic Arabidopsis plants, suggesting that the RNAi targeting of AK has the potential for the control of insect pests.
doi:10.7150/ijbs.10468
PMCID: PMC4278256  PMID: 25552931
Arginine kinase; Helicoverpa armigera; RNAi; transgenic plants; double-stranded RNA; pest control.
9.  Ligands Binding and Molecular Simulation: the Potential Investigation of a Biosensor Based on an Insect Odorant Binding Protein 
Based on mimicking biological olfaction, biosensors have been applied for the detection of various ligands in complex environment, which could represent one of the most promising research fields. In this study, the basic characters of one insect odorant binding protein (OBP) as a biosensor were explored. To explore the molecular recognition process, the tertiary structure of the protein was modeled and the protein-ligand interactions with 1,536,550 chemicals were investigated by the molecular docking. The availability of large amount of recombinant SlitOBP1 overcame the difficulty to obtain biological sensing material. After obtained the purified recombinant protein, the result of fluorescence binding assays proved the candidate protein has good affinities with the majority of the tested chemicals. With the aid of simulation docking, the key conserved amino acids within the binding site were identified and then mutated to alanine. After mutation, the protein-ligand binding characteristics were recorded, and the competitive binding assays were carried out to provide experimental verification. The detailed information on its structure and affinities investigated in this study could allow the design of specific mutants with desired characteristics, which provides a solid base for tailoring OBP for biosensor and provides a role model for screening the other elements in olfactory system for different applications.
doi:10.7150/ijbs.9872
PMCID: PMC4278257  PMID: 25552932
Odorant binding protein; Biosensors; Molecular simulation; Fluorescence binding; Site-directed mutagenesis.
10.  Integrative Genomic and Transcriptomic Characterization of Matched Primary and Metastatic Liver and Colorectal Carcinoma 
Metastasis is the main cause of cancer mortality but its process remains poorly understood and thus hampers more effective treatment and improved cancer prognosis. To search for metastasis driver genes responsible for tumor spread, we integrated genomic and transcriptomic profiles of 61 matched primary tumors and distant metastases of liver or colorectal carcinoma isolated by laser-capture microdissection and assayed by array-based technologies. We found that primary tumor lesions and their matched distant metastases were largely similar at the genomic and transcriptomic levels, but substantial differences could be found between primary tumors with or without accompanying metastases. Interestingly, metastasis genes were principally tumor type and organ site-specific. Despite distinct pathway enrichment, different metastasis gene sets shared common prognostic capacity and were predictive of hepatocellular carcinoma survival in an independent cohort. Thus, the metastatic propensity is inherent to the primary tumor and the lack of general metastasis genes necessitates the development of specific treatment modalities.
doi:10.7150/ijbs.10583
PMCID: PMC4278258  PMID: 25552933
Liver cancer; Colon cancer; Organ site-specific metastasis; Profiling.
11.  CEP2 Attenuates Myoblast Differentiation But Does Not Affect Proliferation 
CEP2 (CDC42EP2) is a member of the CDC42 subfamily that belongs to the Rho family. The Rho family plays an important role in a variety of cellular processes including skeletal myogenesis. Here, we find the expression of CEP2 increased significantly during C2C12 myogenesis. Overexpression of CEP2 could attenuate myoblast differentiation, while knockdown of CEP2 by siRNA results in enhancing myogenesis. Furthermore, we demonstrate for the first time that CEP2 attenuates myoblast differentiation via suppression of muscle regulatory factors (MRFs) rather than influencing myoblast proliferation. These results indicate that CEP2 acts as a repressor during myogenesis, which provides new insights into the role of CEP2 in muscle development.
doi:10.7150/ijbs.8621
PMCID: PMC4278259  PMID: 25552934
CEP2; myogenesis; skeletal muscle; myoblast proliferation.
12.  MiR-467a is Upregulated in Radiation-Induced Mouse Thymic Lymphomas and Regulates Apoptosis by Targeting Fas and Bax 
It has been reported dysregulation of certain microRNAs (miRNAs / miRs) is involved in tumorigenesis. However, the miRNAs associated with radiocarcinogenesis remain undefined. In this study, we validated the upregulation of miR-467a in radiation-induced mouse thymic lymphoma tissues. Then, we investigated whether miR-467a functions as an oncogenic miRNA in thymic lymphoma cells. For this purpose, we assessed the biological effect of miR-467a on thymic lymphoma cells. Using miRNA microarray, we found four miRNAs (miR-467a, miR-762, miR-455 and miR-714) were among the most upregulated (>4-fold) miRNAs in tumor tissues. Bioinformatics prediction suggests miR-467a may potentially regulate apoptosis pathway via targeting Fas and Bax. Consistently, in miR-467a-transfected cells, both proliferation and colony formation ability were significantly increased with decrease of apoptosis rate, while, in miR-467a-knockdown cells, proliferation was suppressed with increase of apoptosis rate, indicating that miR-467a may be involved in the regulation of apoptosis. Furthermore, miR-467a-knockdown resulted in smaller tumors and better prognosis in an in vivo tumor-transplanted model. To explain the mechanism of apoptosis suppression by miR-467a, we explore the expression of candidate target genes (Fas and Bax) in miR-467a-transfected relative to negative control transfected cells using flow cytometry and immunoblotting. Fas and Bax were commonly downregulated in miR-467a-transfected EL4 and NIH3T3 cells, and all of the genes harbored miR-467a target sequences in the 3'UTR of their mRNA. Fas and Bax were actually downregulated in radiation-induced thymic lymphoma tissues, and therefore both were identified as possible targets of miR-467a in thymic lymphoma. To ascertain whether downregulation of Fas and / or Bax is involved in apoptosis suppression by miR-467a, we transfected vectors expressing Fas and Bax into miR-467a-upregulated EL4 cells. Then we found that both Fas- and Bax-overexpression decreased cell viability with increase of apoptosis rate, indicating that downregulation of Fas and Bax may be at least partly responsible for apoptosis suppression by miR-467a. These data suggest that miR-467a may have oncogenic functions in radiation-induced thymic lymphoma cells and that its increased expression may confer a growth advantage on tumor cells via aberrant expression of Fas and Bax.
doi:10.7150/ijbs.10276
PMCID: PMC4278260  PMID: 25552935
radiocarcinogenesis; thymic lymphoma; miR-467a; Fas; Bax; apoptosis.
13.  Stanniocalcin-1 Controls Ion Regulation Functions of Ion-transporting Epithelium Other than Calcium Balance 
Stanniocalcin-1 (STC-1) was first identified to involve in Ca2+ homeostasis in teleosts, and was thought to act as a hypocalcemic hormone in vertebrate. Recent studies suggested that STC-1 exhibits broad effects on ion balance, not confines to Ca2+, but the mechanism of this regulation process remains largely unknown. Here, we used zebrafish embryos as an alternative in vivo model to investigate how STC-1 regulates transepithelial ion transport function in ion-transporting epithelium. Expression of stc-1 mRNA in zebrafish embryos was increased in high-Ca2+ environments but decreased by acidic and ion-deficient treatments while overexpression of stc-1 impaired the hypotonic acclimation by decreasing whole body Ca2+, Na+, and Cl- contents and H+ secretion ability. Injection of STC-1 mRNA also down-regulated mRNA expressions of epithelial Ca2+ channel, H+-ATPase, and Na+-Cl- cotransporter, suggesting the roles of STC-1 in regulation of ions other than Ca2+. Knockdown of STC-1 caused an increase in ionocyte progenitors (foxi3a as the marker) and mature ionocytes (ion transporters as the markers), but did not affect epithelium stem cells (p63 as the marker) in the embryonic skin. Overexpression of STC-1 had the corresponding opposite effect on ionocyte progenitors, mature ionocytes in the embryonic skin. Taken together, STC-1 negatively regulates the number of ionocytes to reduce ionocyte functions. This process is important for body fluid ionic homeostasis, which is achieved by the regulation of ion transport functions in ionocytes. The present findings provide new insights into the broader functions of STC-1, a hypocalcemic hormone.
doi:10.7150/ijbs.10773
PMCID: PMC4279088  PMID: 25561895
stanniocalcin; ion regulation; differentiation; ionocyte; zebrafish.
14.  Adipose-Derived Stromal Cells Protect Intervertebral Disc Cells in Compression: Implications for Stem Cell Regenerative Disc Therapy 
Introduction: Abnormal biomechanics plays a role in intervertebral disc degeneration. Adipose-derived stromal cells (ADSCs) have been implicated in disc integrity; however, their role in the setting of mechanical stimuli upon the disc's nucleus pulposus (NP) remains unknown. As such, the present study aimed to evaluate the influence of ADSCs upon NP cells in compressive load culture.
Methods: Human NP cells were cultured in compressive load at 3.0MPa for 48 hours with or without ADSCs co-culture (the ratio was 50:50). We used flow cytometry, live/dead staining and scanning electron microscopy (SEM) to evaluate cell death, and determined the expression of specific apoptotic pathways by characterizing the expression of activated caspases-3, -8 and -9. We further used real-time (RT-) PCR and immunostaining to determine the expression of the extracellular matrix (ECM), mediators of matrix degradation (e.g. MMPs, TIMPs and ADAMTSs), pro-inflammatory factors and NP cell phenotype markers.
Results: ADSCs inhibited human NP cell apoptosis via suppression of activated caspase-9 and caspase-3. Furthermore, ADSCs protected NP cells from the degradative effects of compressive load by significantly up-regulating the expression of ECM genes (SOX9, COL2A1 and ACAN), tissue inhibitors of metalloproteinases (TIMPs) genes (TIMP-1 and TIMP-2) and cytokeratin 8 (CK8) protein expression. Alternatively, ADSCs showed protective effect by inhibiting compressive load mediated increase of matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs; MMP-3 and MMP-13), disintegrin and metalloproteinase with thrombospondin motifs (ADAMTSs; ADAMTS-1 and 5), and pro-inflammatory factors (IL-1beta, IL-6, TGF-beta1 and TNF-alpha).
Conclusions: Our study is the first in vitro study assessing the impact of ADSCs on NP cells in an un-physiological mechanical stimulation culture environment. Our study noted that ADSCs protect compressive load induced NP cell death and degradation by inhibition of activated caspase-9 and -3 activity; regulating ECM and modulator genes, suppressing pro-inflammatory factors and preserving CK8. Consequently, the protective impact of ADSCs found in this study provides an essential understanding and expands our knowledge as to the utility of ADSCs therapy for intervertebral disc regeneration.
doi:10.7150/ijbs.10598
PMCID: PMC4279089  PMID: 25561896
intervertebral disc; adipose-derived stromal cells; nucleus pulposus; compressive load.
15.  Clinical Significance of a Point Mutation in DNA Polymerase Beta (POLB) Gene in Gastric Cancer 
Gastric cancer (GC) is a major cause of global cancer mortality. Genetic variations in DNA repair genes can modulate DNA repair capability and, consequently, have been associated with risk of developing cancer. We have previously identified a T to C point mutation at nucleotide 889 (T889C) in DNA polymerase beta (POLB) gene, a key enzyme involved in base excision repair in primary GCs. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the mutation and expression of POLB in a larger cohort and to identify possible prognostic roles of the POLB alterations in GC. Primary GC specimens and their matched normal adjacent tissues were collected at the time of surgery. DNA, RNA and protein samples were isolated from GC specimens and cell lines. Mutations were detected by PCR-RFLP/DHPLC and sequencing analysis. POLB gene expression was examined by RT-PCR, tissue microarray, Western blotting and immunofluorescence assays. The function of the mutation was evaluated by chemosensitivity, MTT, Transwell matrigel invasion and host cell reactivation assays. The T889C mutation was detected in 18 (10.17%) of 177 GC patients. And the T889C mutation was associated with POLB overexpression, lymph nodes metastases and poor tumor differentiation. In addition, patients with- the mutation had significantly shorter survival time than those without-, following postoperative chemotherapy. Furthermore, cell lines with T889C mutation in POLB gene were more resistant to the treatment of 5-fluorouracil, cisplatin and epirubicin than those with wild type POLB. Forced expression of POLB gene with T889C mutation resulted in enhanced cell proliferation, invasion and resistance to anticancer drugs, along with increased DNA repair capability. These results suggest that POLB gene with T889C mutation in surgically resected primary gastric tissues may be clinically useful for predicting responsiveness to chemotherapy in patients with GC. The POLB gene alteration may serve as a prognostic biomarker for GC.
doi:10.7150/ijbs.10692
PMCID: PMC4279090  PMID: 25561897
DNA polymerase beta (POLB); gastric cancer; DNA Repair; point mutation; chemotherapy.
16.  Effects of Nitric Oxide on Notexin-Induced Muscle Inflammatory Responses 
Excessive inflammatory response may delay the regeneration and damage the normal muscle fibers upon myoinjury. It would be important to be able to attenuate the inflammatory response and decrease inflammatory cells infiltration in order to improve muscle regeneration formation, resulting in better muscle functional recovery after myoinjury. This study was undertaken to explore the role of Nitric oxide (NO) during skeletal muscle inflammatory process, using a mouse model of Notexin induced myoinjury. Intramuscular injection (tibialis anterior, TA) of Notexin was performed for preparing mice myoinjury. NO synthase inhibitor (L-NAME) or NO donor (SNP) was intraperitoneally injected into model mice. On day 4 and 7 post-injury, expression of muscle-autoantigens and toll-like receptors (TLRs) was evaluated from muscle tissue by qRT-PCR and Western Blot; the intramuscular infiltration of monocytes/macrophage (CD11b+ or F4/80+ cells), CD8+ T cell (CD3ε+CD8α+), apoptotic cell (CD11b+caspase3+), and MHC-I molecule H-2Kb-expressing myofibers in damaged muscle were assessed by imunoflourecence analysis; the mRNAs expression of cytokines and chemokines associated with the preferential biological role during the muscle damage-induced inflammation response, were assessed by qRT-PCR. We detected the reduced monocytes/macrophages infiltration, and increased apoptotic cells in the damaged muscle treated with SNP comparing to untreatment. As well, SNP treatment down-regulated mRNA and protein levels of muscle autoantigens, TLR3, and mRNA levels of TNF-α, IL-6, MCP-1, MCP-3, and MIP-1α in damaged muscle. On the contrary, L-NAME induced more severe intramuscular infiltration of inflammatory cells, and mRNA level elevation of the above inflammatory mediators. Notably, we observed an increased number of MHC-I (H2-Kb) positive new myofibers, and of the infiltrated CD8+ T cells in damaged muscle at the day 7 after L-NAME treatment. The result herein shows that, NO can act as an endogenous anti-inflammatory molecule during the ongoing muscle inflammation. Our finding may provide new insight to optimize NO-based therapies for improving muscle regeneration after myoinjury.
doi:10.7150/ijbs.10283
PMCID: PMC4279091  PMID: 25561898
Nitric Oxide; inflammation; skeletal muscle
17.  Biology of IL-27 and its Role in the Host Immunity against Mycobacterium Tuberculosis 
IL-27, a heterodimeric cytokine of IL-12 family, regulates both innate and adaptive immunity largely via Jak-Stat signaling. IL-27 can induce IFN-γ and inflammatory mediators from T lymphocytes and innate immune cells. IL-27 has unique anti-inflammatory properties via both Tr1 cells dependent and independent mechanisms. Here the role and biology of IL-27 in innate and adaptive immunity are summarized, with special interest with immunity against Mycobacterium tuberculosis.
doi:10.7150/ijbs.10464
PMCID: PMC4279092  PMID: 25561899
IL-27; IL-27Rα; IL-12 family; Mycobacterium tuberculosis; Immunity
18.  FOXM1 Promotes Lung Adenocarcinoma Invasion and Metastasis by Upregulating SNAIL 
The forkhead box M1 (FOXM1) transcription factor is one of the key genes inducing tumor invasion and metastasis by an unknown mechanism. In this study, we set out to investigate the effects of FOXM1 overexpression on metastatic human lung adenocarcinoma and the underlying mechanism. FOXM1 expression was analyzed in 78 frozen lung adenocarcinoma tissue samples using an Affymetrix microarray and a 155-paraffin-embedded lung adenocarcinoma tissue microarray with immunohistochemical detection. FOXM1 was found to be overexpressed in lung adenocarcinoma, particularly in metastatic patients, compared to non-metastatic patients. Knockdown of FOXM1 by a specific siRNA significantly suppressed EMT progression, migration and invasion of lung adenocarcinoma cells in vitro, and tumor growth and metastasis in vivo, whereas restored expression of FOXM1 had the opposite effect. FOXM1 binds directly to the SNAIL promoter through two specific binding sites and constitutively transactivates it. Collectively, our findings indicate that FOXM1 may play an important role in advancing lung adenocarcinoma progression. Aberrant FOXM1 expression directly and constitutively activates SNAIL, thereby promoting lung adenocarcinoma metastasis. Inhibition of FOXM1-SNAIL signaling may present an ideal target for future treatment.
doi:10.7150/ijbs.10634
PMCID: PMC4279094  PMID: 25561901
Lung adenocarcinoma; Invasion; Metastasis; FOXM1; SNAIL
19.  A Soluble Activin Receptor Type IIB Does Not Improve Blood Glucose in Streptozotocin-Treated Mice 
Type 1 diabetes mellitus (T1DM), or insulin dependent DM, is accompanied by decreased muscle mass. The growth factor myostatin (MSTN) is a negative regulator of muscle growth, and a loss of MSTN signaling has been shown to increase muscle mass and prevent the development of obesity, insulin resistance and lipodystrophic diabetes in mice. The effects of MSTN inhibition in a T1DM model on muscle mass and blood glucose are unknown. We asked whether MSTN inhibition would increase muscle mass and decrease hyperglycemia in mice treated with streptozotocin (STZ) to destroy pancreatic beta cells. After diabetes developed, mice were treated with a soluble MSTN/activin receptor fused to Fc (ACVR2B:Fc). ACVR2B:Fc increased body weight and muscle mass compared to vehicle treated mice. Unexpectedly, ACVR2B:Fc reproducibly exacerbated hyperglycemia within approximately one week of administration. ACVR2B:Fc treatment also elevated serum levels of the glucocorticoid corticosterone. These results suggest that although MSTN/activin inhibitors increased muscle mass, they may be counterproductive in improving health in patients with T1DM.
doi:10.7150/ijbs.10430
PMCID: PMC4279095  PMID: 25561902
activin receptor; glucocorticoid; myostatin; muscle hypertrophy; type 1 diabetes
20.  Identification and Functional Analysis of a Novel Tryptophyllin Peptide from the Skin of the Red-eye Leaf Frog, Agalychnis callidryas 
Amphibian skin has proved repeatedly to be a largely untapped source of bioactive peptides and this is especially true of members of the Phyllomedusinae subfamily of frogs native to South and Central America. Tryptophyllins are a group of peptides mainly found in the skin of members of this genus. In this study, a novel tryptophyllin (TPH) type 3 peptide, named AcT-3, has been isolated and structurally-characterised from the skin secretion and lyophilised skin extract of the red-eye leaf frog, Agalychnis callidryas. The peptide was identified in and purified from the skin secretion by reverse-phase HPLC. MALDI-TOF mass spectrometry and MS/MS fragmentation sequencing established its primary structure as: pGlu-Gly-Lys-Pro-Tyr-Trp-Pro-Pro-Pro-Phe-Leu-Pro-Glu, with a non-protonated molecular mass of 1538.19Da. The mature peptide possessed the canonical N-terminal pGlu residue that arises from post-translational modification of a Gln residue. The deduced open-reading frame consisted of 63 amino acid residues encoding a highly-conserved signal peptide of approximately 22 amino acid residues, an intervening acidic spacer peptide domain, a single AcT-3 encoding domain and a C terminal processing site. A synthetic replicate of AcT-3 was found to antagonise the effect of BK on rat tail artery smooth muscle and to contract the intestinal smooth muscle preparations. It was also found that AcT-3 could dose-dependently inhibit the proliferation of human prostate cancer cell lines after 72h incubation.
doi:10.7150/ijbs.10143
PMCID: PMC4279096  PMID: 25561903
Agalychnis callidryas; proline-rich peptide; bradykinin antagonist; anticancer effect; myotropic activities
21.  Changes in Follicular Helper T Cells in Idiopathic Thrombocytopenic Purpura Patients 
Background: Idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura (ITP) is a primary autoimmune disease with a decreased platelet count caused by platelet destruction mediated mainly by platelet antibodies. T follicular helper (TFH) cells have demonstrated important roles in autoimmune diseases. The aim of this study is to explore the might role of TFH cells in the patients of ITP.
Methods: Twenty-three ITP patients and 12 healthy controls (HC) were enrolled in this study. The frequency of circulating TFH cells in both the patients and HC was analyzed by flow cytometry. Serum interleukin (IL)-21 and IL-6 levels were measured using ELISA, and platelet antibodies were tested using a solid phase technique. Additionally, IL-21, IL-6, Bcl-6 and c-Maf mRNA expressions in peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) were detected using real-time PCR.
Results: The percentages of circulating CXCR5+ CD4+TFH cells with ICOShigh or PD-1high expression were significantly higher in the ITP patients than in the HC. Moreover, the frequencies of circulating CXCR5+ CD4+TFH cells with inducible costimulator (ICOS)high or programmed death-1 (PD-1)high expression were notably higher in ITP with platelet-antibody-positive ( ITP (+) ) patients than in ITP with platelet-antibody-negative ( ITP (-) ) patients and HC, as were the serum IL-21 and IL-6 levels (significant). Moreover, a positive correlation was found between the CXCR5+CD4+TFH cells with ICOShigh or PD-1high expression and the serum IL-21 levels of ITP (+) patients. Additionally, the mRNA expression levels of IL-21, IL-6, Bcl-6 and c-Maf were significantly increased in ITP patients, especially in ITP (+) patients.
Conclusions: This study demonstrated TFH cells and effector molecules might play an important role in the pathogenesis of ITP, which are possible therapeutic targets in ITP patients.
doi:10.7150/ijbs.10178
PMCID: PMC4279097  PMID: 25561904
platelet antibody; T follicular helper cell; idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura; autoimmune disease
22.  Enhancement of Larval RNAi Efficiency by Over-expressing Argonaute2 in Bombyx mori 
RNA interference has been described as a powerful genetic tool for gene functional analysis and a promising approach for pest management. However, RNAi efficiency varies significantly among insect species due to distinct RNAi machineries. Lepidopteran insects include a large number of pests as well as model insects, such as the silkworm, Bombyx mori. However, only limited success of in vivo RNAi has been reported in lepidoptera, particularly during the larval stages when the worms feed the most and do the most harm to the host plant. Enhancing the efficiency of larval RNAi in lepidoptera is urgently needed to develop RNAi-based pest management strategies. In the present study, we investigate the function of the conserved RNAi core factor, Argonaute2 (Ago2), in mediating B. mori RNAi efficiency. We demonstrate that introducing BmAgo2 dsRNA inhibits the RNAi response in both BmN cells and embryos. Furthermore, we establish several transgenic silkworm lines to assess the roles of BmAgo2 in larval RNAi. Over-expressing BmAgo2 significantly facilitated both dsRNA-mediated larval RNAi when targeting DsRed using dsRNA injection and shRNA-mediated larval RNAi when targeting BmBlos2 using transgenic shRNA expression. Our results show that BmAgo2 is involved in RNAi in B. mori and provides a promising approach for improving larval RNAi efficiency in B. mori and in lepidopteran insects in general.
doi:10.7150/ijbs.10235
PMCID: PMC4279093  PMID: 25561900
RNAi; Bombyx mori; Argonaute2; dsRNA; shRNA
23.  Efficient Inhibition of Human Glioma Development by RNA Interference-Mediated Silencing of PAK5 
Glioma is the most common type of primary intracranial tumor and is highly lethal due to its pathogenetic location, high invasiveness, and poor prognosis. Even combined surgery and chemoradiotherapy do not effectively rescue glioma patients. Molecular target therapy is considered a safe and promising therapy for glioma. The identification of a novel, effective target protein in gliomas is of great interest. We found that PAK5 was highly expressed in the tumor tissues of glioma patients and human glioma cell lines. We then used a lentivirus-delivered short hairpin RNA to stably silence PAK5 expression in glioma cells and explore its influence. The results showed that the inhibition of PAK5 reduced cell viability and delayed the cell cycle at the G0/G1 phase in the glioma cells with PAK5 high expression. In addition, silencing PAK5 expression in U87 cells weakened their colony formation ability and in vivo tumorigenesis ability. Further studies demonstrated that PAK5 inhibition led to an increase in cleaved caspase 3 and a decrease in β-catenin. In conclusion, our results suggest that the inhibition of PAK5 by RNA interference might efficiently suppress tumor development of glioma cells with PAK5 high expression. This finding provides a novel, promising therapeutic target for glioma treatment.
doi:10.7150/ijbs.9193
PMCID: PMC4308408  PMID: 25632266
glioma; PAK5; tumor development; RNA interference; cell cycle arrest
24.  Exosomes in Mesenchymal Stem Cells, a New Therapeutic Strategy for Cardiovascular Diseases? 
Cardiovascular diseases (CVDs) are still a major cause of people deaths worldwide, and mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) transplantation holds great promise due to its capacity to differentiate into cardiovascular cells and secrete protective cytokines, which presents an important mechanism of MSCs therapy for CVDs. Although the capability of MSCs to differentiate into cardiomyocytes (CMCs), endothelial cells (ECs) and vascular smooth muscle cells (VSMCs) has been well recognized in massive previous experiments both in vitro and in vivo, low survival rate of transplanted MSCs in recipient hearts suggests that therapeutic effects of MSCs transplantation might be also correlated with other underlying mechanisms. Notably, recent studies uncovered that MSCs were able to secret cholesterol-rich, phospholipid exosomes which were enriched with microRNAs (miRNAs). The released exosomes from MSCs acted on hearts and vessels, and then exerted anti-apoptosis, cardiac regeneration, anti-cardiac remodeling, anti-inflammatory effects, neovascularization and anti-vascular remodeling, which are considered as novel molecular mechanisms of therapeutic potential of MSCs transplantation. Here we summarized recent advances about the role of exosomes in MSCs therapy for CVDs, and discussed exosomes as a novel approach in the treatment of CVDs in the future.
doi:10.7150/ijbs.10725
PMCID: PMC4308409  PMID: 25632267
microRNA; exosomes; mesenchymal stem cell; myocardial infarction; reperfusion injury; pulmonary hypertension
25.  MicroRNA-1 Participates in Nitric Oxide-Induced Apoptotic Insults to MC3T3-E1 Cells by Targeting Heat-Shock Protein-70 
Our previous studies showed that nitric oxide (NO) could induce osteoblast apoptosis. MicroRNA-1 (miR-1), a skeletal- and cardiac muscle-specific small non-coding RNA, contributes to the regulation of multiple cell activities. In this study, we evaluated the roles of miR-1 in NO-induced insults to osteoblasts and the possible mechanisms. Exposure of mouse MC3T3-E1 cells to sodium nitroprusside (SNP) increased amounts of cellular NO and intracellular reactive oxygen species. Sequentially, SNP decreased cell survival but induced caspase-3 activation, DNA fragmentation, and cell apoptosis. In parallel, treatment with SNP induced miR-1 expression in a time-dependent manner. Application of miR-1 antisense inhibitors to osteoblasts caused significant inhibition of SNP-induced miR-1 expression. Knocking down miR-1 concurrently attenuated SNP-induced alterations in cell morphology and survival. Consecutively, SNP time-dependently inhibited heat-shock protein (HSP)-70 messenger (m)RNA and protein expressions. A bioinformatic search predicted the existence of miR-1-specific binding elements in the 3'-untranslational region of HSP-70 mRNA. Downregulation of miR-1 expression simultaneously lessened SNP-induced inhibition of HSP-70 mRNA and protein expressions. Consequently, SNP-induced modifications in the mitochondrial membrane potential, caspase-3 activation, DNA fragmentation, and apoptotic insults were significantly alleviated by miR-1 antisense inhibitors. Therefore, this study showed that miR-1 participates in NO-induced apoptotic insults through targeting HSP-70 gene expression.
doi:10.7150/ijbs.11138
PMCID: PMC4323364
Nitric oxide; MicroRNA-1; Apoptosis; HSP-70; Mitochondria

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