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1.  Determination of Hyaluronan Molecular Mass Distribution in Human Breast Milk 
Analytical biochemistry  2015;474:78-88.
Hyaluronan (HA) in human milk mediates host responses to microbial infection, via TLR4- and CD44-dependent signaling. Signaling by HA is generally size-specific. Because pure HA with average molecular mass (M) of 35 kDa can elicit a protective response in intestinal epithelial cells, it has been proposed that human milk HA may have a bioactive low M component. Here we report the size distribution of HA in human milk samples from twenty unique donors. A new method for HA analysis, employingion exchange (IEX) chromatography to fractionate HA by size, and specific quantification of each size fraction by competitive Enzyme Linked Sorbent Assay (ELSA), was developed. When separated into four fractions, milk HA with M ≤ 20 kDa, M ≈20-60 kDa, and M ≈ 60-110 kDa comprised an average of 1.5%, 1.4% and 2% of the total HA, respectively. The remaining 95% was HA with M≥110 kDa. Electrophoretic analysis of the higher M HA from thirteen samples showed nearly identical M distributions, with an average M of ∼440 kDa. This higher M HA component in human milk is proposed to bind to CD44 and to enhance human beta defensin 2 (HBD2) induction by the low M HA components.
PMCID: PMC4357551  PMID: 25579786
milk; hyaluronan; molecular mass; ion exchange; quantification; electrophoresis
2.  Distinct EMT programs control normal mammary stem cells and tumour-initiating cells 
Nature  2015;525(7568):256-260.
Tumour-initiating cells (TICs) are responsible for metastatic dissemination and clinical relapse in a variety of cancers1,2. Analogies between TICs and normal tissue stem cells have led to the notion that activation of the normal stem-cell program within a tissue serves as the major mechanism for generating TICs3-7. Supporting this notion, we and others previously established that the Slug EMT-TF (EMT-inducing transcription factor), a member of the Snail family, is a master regulator of the gland-reconstituting activity of normal mammary stem cells (MaSCs), and that forced expression of Slug in collaboration with Sox9 in breast cancer cells can efficiently induce entrance into the TIC state8. However, these earlier studies focused on xenograft models with cultured cell lines and involved ectopic expression of EMT-TFs, often at non-physiological levels. Using genetically engineered knock-in reporter mouse lines, here we show that normal gland-reconstituting MaSCs9-11 residing in the basal layer of the mammary epithelium and breast TICs originating in the luminal layer exploit the paralogous EMT-TFs Slug and Snail respectively, which induce in turn distinct EMT programs. Broadly, our findings suggest that the seemingly similar stem-cell programs operating in TICs and normal stem cells of the corresponding normal tissue are likely to differ significantly in their details.
PMCID: PMC4764075  PMID: 26331542
3.  Analysis of Saprolegnia parasitica Transcriptome following Treatment with Copper Sulfate 
PLoS ONE  2016;11(2):e0147445.
Massive infection caused by oomycete fungus Saprolegnia parasitica is detrimental to freshwater fish. Recently, we showed that copper sulfate demonstrated good efficacy for controlling S. parasitica infection in grass carp. In this study, we investigated the mechanism of inhibition of S. parasitica growth by copper sulfate by analyzing the transcriptome of copper sulfate—treated S. parasitica. To examine the mechanism of copper sulfate inhibiting S. parasitica, we utilized RNA-seq technology to compare differential gene expression in S. parasitica treated with or without copper sulfate.
The total mapped rates of the reads with the reference genome were 90.50% in the control group and 73.50% in the experimental group. In the control group, annotated splice junctions, partial novel splice junctions and complete novel splice junctions were about 83%, 3% and 14%, respectively. In the treatment group, the corresponding values were about 75%, 6% and 19%. Following copper sulfate treatment, a total 310 genes were markedly upregulated and 556 genes were markedly downregulated in S. parasitica. Material metabolism related GO terms including cofactor binding (33 genes), 1,3-beta-D-glucan synthase complex (4 genes), carboxylic acid metabolic process (40 genes) were the most significantly enriched. KEGG pathway analysis also determined that the metabolism-related biological pathways were significantly enriched, including the metabolic pathways (98 genes), biosynthesis of secondary metabolites pathways (42 genes), fatty acid metabolism (13 genes), phenylalanine metabolism (7 genes), starch and sucrose metabolism pathway (12 genes). The qRT-PCR results were largely consistent with the RNA-Seq results.
Our results indicate that copper sulfate inhibits S. parasitica growth by affecting multiple biological functions, including protein synthesis, energy biogenesis, and metabolism.
PMCID: PMC4760756  PMID: 26895329
4.  Venom of Parasitoid Pteromalus puparum Impairs Host Humoral Antimicrobial Activity by Decreasing Host Cecropin and Lysozyme Gene Expression 
Toxins  2016;8(2):52.
Insect host/parasitoid interactions are co-evolved systems in which host defenses are balanced by parasitoid mechanisms to disable or hide from host immune effectors. Here, we report that Pteromalus puparum venom impairs the antimicrobial activity of its host Pieris rapae. Inhibition zone results showed that bead injection induced the antimicrobial activity of the host hemolymph but that venom inhibited it. The cDNAs encoding cecropin and lysozyme were screened. Relative quantitative PCR results indicated that all of the microorganisms and bead injections up-regulated the transcript levels of the two genes but that venom down-regulated them. At 8 h post bead challenge, there was a peak in the transcript level of the cecropin gene, whereas the peak of lysozyme gene occurred at 24 h. The transcripts levels of the two genes were higher in the granulocytes and fat body than in other tissues. RNA interference decreased the transcript levels of the two genes and the antimicrobial activity of the pupal hemolymph. Venom injections similarly silenced the expression of the two genes during the first 8 h post-treatment in time- and dose-dependent manners, after which the silence effects abated. Additionally, recombinant cecropin and lysozyme had no significant effect on the emergence rate of pupae that were parasitized by P. puparum females. These findings suggest one mechanism of impairing host antimicrobial activity by parasitoid venom.
PMCID: PMC4773805  PMID: 26907346
parasitoid wasps; venom; insect hosts; innate immunity; antimicrobial peptides
5.  In vivo vascularization of MSC-loaded porous hydroxyapatite constructs coated with VEGF-functionalized collagen/heparin multilayers 
Scientific Reports  2016;6:19871.
Rapid and adequate vascularization is vital to the long-term success of porous orbital enucleation implants. In this study, porous hydroxyapatite (HA) scaffolds coated with vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF)-functionalized collagen (COL)/heparin (HEP) multilayers (porosity 75%, pore size 316.8 ± 77.1 μm, VEGF dose 3.39 ng/mm3) were fabricated to enhance vascularization by inducing the differentiation of mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) to endothelial cells. The in vitro immunofluorescence staining, quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction (qRT-PCR), and western blotting results demonstrated that the expression of the endothelial differentiation markers CD31, Flk-1, and von Willebrand factor (vWF) was significantly increased in the HA/(COL/HEP)5/VEGF/MSCs group compared with the HA/VEGF/MSCs group. Moreover, the HA/(COL/HEP)5 scaffolds showed a better entrapment of the MSCs and accelerated cell proliferation. The in vivo assays showed that the number of newly formed vessels within the constructs after 28 d was significantly higher in the HA/(COL/HEP)5/VEGF/MSCs group (51.9 ± 6.3/mm2) than in the HA (26.7 ± 2.3/mm2) and HA/VEGF/MSCs (38.2 ± 2.4/mm2) groups. The qRT-PCR and western blotting results demonstrated that the HA/(COL/HEP)5/VEGF/MSCs group also had the highest expression of CD31, Flk-1, and vWF at both the mRNA and protein levels.
PMCID: PMC4726420  PMID: 26794266
6.  Computed tomography‐guided percutaneous microwave ablation of early stage non‐small cell lung cancer in a pneumonectomy patient 
Thoracic Cancer  2015;7(1):151-153.
A squamous cell lung cancer patient was treated with pneumonectomy. A recurrent lung cancer (adenocarcinoma) was found 45 months later and successfully biopsied and treated with microwave ablation. After 18 months of follow up, no evidence of tumor recurrence was observed.
PMCID: PMC4718118  PMID: 26816550
Lung cancer; microwave ablation; pneumonectomy
7.  MicroRNA Regulatory Mechanisms on Citrus sinensis leaves to Magnesium-Deficiency 
Magnesium (Mg)-deficiency, which affects crop productivity and quality, widespreadly exists in many agricultural crops, including citrus. However, very limited data are available on Mg-deficiency-responsive microRNAs (miRNAs) in higher plants. Using Illumina sequencing, we isolated 75 (73 known and 2 novel) up- and 71 (64 known and 7 novel) down-regulated miRNAs from Mg-deficient Citrus sinensis leaves. In addition to the remarkable metabolic flexibility as indicated by the great alteration of miRNA expression, the adaptive responses of leaf miRNAs to Mg-deficiency might also involve the following several aspects: (a) up-regulating stress-related genes by down-regulating miR164, miR7812, miR5742, miR3946, and miR5158; (b) enhancing cell transport due to decreased expression of miR3946 and miR5158 and increased expression of miR395, miR1077, miR1160, and miR8019; (c) activating lipid metabolism-related genes by repressing miR158, miR5256, and miR3946; (d) inducing cell wall-related gene expansin 8A by repressing miR779; and (e) down-regulating the expression of genes involved in the maintenance of S, K and Cu by up-regulating miR395 and miR6426. To conclude, we isolated some new known miRNAs (i.e., miR7812, miR8019, miR6218, miR1533, miR6426, miR5256, miR5742, miR5561, miR5158, and miR5818) responsive to nutrient deficiencies and found some candidate miRNAs that might contribute to Mg-deficiency tolerance. Therefore, our results not only provide novel information about the responses of plant to Mg-deficiency, but also are useful for obtaining the key miRNAs for plant Mg-deficiency tolerance.
PMCID: PMC4778066  PMID: 26973661
Mg-deficiency; Citrus sinensis; Illumina sequencing; leaves; microRNA
8.  Dentin dysplasia type I—novel findings in deciduous and permanent teeth 
BMC Oral Health  2015;15:163.
Dentin dysplasia type I (DD-I) is a rare autosomal dominant hereditary disorder which seriously affects the root development of teeth, causing spontaneous tooth loss (in teenagers). At present, the study of DD-I focuses on familial and phenotypic analyses and reports regarding the ultrastructural study of DD-I are few. The purpose of this study was to clarify and discuss the clinical, histopathological, and ultrastructural features of the dentin defects in DD-I. In addition, the study further explores the root development and provides clues for uncovering virulent genes associated with the disease.
We recruited 31 members of a four-generation Chinese family, including eleven with dentin defects. Four permanent teeth and four deciduous teeth were obtained from individuals affected by DD-I. At the same time, two caries-free like-numbered permanent teeth and deciduous teeth served as controls, respectively. Analyses of these teeth were carried out using stereomicroscopy, light microscopy, and scanning and transmission electron microscopy, respectively.
Similar to previous reports, extracted teeth showed typical histopathological and ultrastructural features of DD-I and teeth had short roots with obliterated pulp chambers. Furthermore, several novel discoveries were found in teeth affected by DD-I, including; (1) thinner dentin; (2) larger scalloped dentinoenamel junctions; (3) teardrop-shaped lacunae in the enamel; (4) rodless enamel and (5) irregular collagen fibers.
The results exhibited defined features of DD-I in the family and further confirmed that abnormal dentin structure affected both the deciduous and permanent dentitions. In addition, these findings may contribute to a better understanding of the pathogenesis of DD-I as well as aid in the subclassification of this disease.
PMCID: PMC4689058  PMID: 26693824
9.  Phosphorylation Controls the Nuclear-Cytoplasmic Shuttling of Influenza A Virus Nucleoprotein 
Journal of Virology  2015;89(11):5822-5834.
The nucleoprotein (NP) is a major component of the viral ribonucleoprotein (vRNP) complex. During the replication of influenza virus, the vRNP complex undergoes nuclear-cytoplasmic shuttling, during which NP serves as one of the determinants. To date, many phosphorylation sites on NP have been identified, but the biological functions of many of these phosphorylation sites remain unknown. In the present study, the functions of the phosphorylation sites S9, Y10, and Y296 were characterized. These residues are highly conserved, and their phosphorylation was essential for virus growth in cell culture and in a mouse model by regulating the activity of the viral polymerase and the nuclear-cytoplasmic shuttling of NP. The phosphorylation and dephosphorylation of S9 and Y10 controlled nuclear import of NP by affecting the binding affinity between NP and different isoforms of importin-α. In addition, the phosphorylation of Y296 caused nuclear retention of NP by reducing the interaction between NP and CRM1. Furthermore, tyrosine phosphorylation of NP during the early stage of virus infection was ablated when Y296 was mutated to F. However, at later stages of infection, it was weakened by the Y10F mutation. Taken together, the present data indicate that the phosphorylation and dephosphorylation of NP control the shuttling of NP between the nucleus and the cytoplasm during virus replication.
IMPORTANCE It is well known that phosphorylation regulates the functions of viral proteins and the life cycle of influenza A virus. As NP is the most abundant protein in the vRNP complex of influenza A virus, several phosphorylation sites on this protein have been identified. However, the functions of these phosphorylation sites were unknown. The present study demonstrates that the phosphorylation status of these sites on NP can mediate its nuclear-cytoplasmic shuttling, which drives the trafficking of vRNP complexes in infected cells. The present data suggest that the phosphorylated residues of NP are multistep controllers of the virus life cycle and new targets for the design of anti-influenza drugs.
PMCID: PMC4442427  PMID: 25787277
10.  A Venom Gland Extracellular Chitin-Binding-Like Protein from Pupal Endoparasitoid Wasps, Pteromalus Puparum, Selectively Binds Chitin 
Toxins  2015;7(12):5098-5113.
Chitin-binding proteins (CBPs) are present in many species and they act in a variety of biological processes. We analyzed a Pteromalus puparum venom apparatus proteome and transcriptome and identified a partial gene encoding a possible CBP. Here, we report cloning a full-length cDNA of a sequence encoding a chitin-binding-like protein (PpCBP) from P. puparum, a pupal endoparasitoid of Pieris rapae. The cDNA encoded a 96-amino-acid protein, including a secretory signal peptide and a chitin-binding peritrophin-A domain. Phylogenetic analysis of chitin binding domains (CBDs) of cuticle proteins and peritrophic matrix proteins in selected insects revealed that the CBD of PpCBP clustered with the CBD of Nasonia vitripennis. The PpCBP is specifically expressed in the venom apparatus of P. puparum, mostly in the venom gland. PpCBP expression was highest at day one after adult eclosion and much lower for the following five days. We produced a recombinant PpCBP and binding assays showed the recombinant protein selectively binds chitin but not cellulose in vitro. We infer that PpCBP serves a structural role in the venom reservoir, or may be injected into the host to help wound healing of the host exoskeleton.
PMCID: PMC4690117  PMID: 26633500
parasitoid; chitin binding protein; venom apparatus; venom proteins
11.  Value of TIRADS, BSRTC and FNA-BRAFV600E mutation analysis in differentiating high-risk thyroid nodules 
Scientific Reports  2015;5:16927.
The thyroid imaging reporting and data system (TIRADS) and Bethesda system for reporting thyroid cytopathology (BSRTC) have been used for interpretation of ultrasound and fine-needle aspiration cytology (FNAC) results of thyroid nodules. BRAFV600E mutation analysis is a molecular tool in diagnosing thyroid carcinoma. Our objective was to compare the diagnostic value of these methods in differentiating high-risk thyroid nodules. Total 220 patients with high-risk thyroid nodules were recruited in this prospective study. They all underwent ultrasound, FNAC and BRAFV600E mutation analysis. The sensitivity and specificity of TIRADS were 73.1% and 88.4%. BSRTC had higher specificity (97.7%) and similar sensitivity (77.6%) compared with TIRADS. The sensitivity and specificity of BRAFV600E mutation (85.1%, 100%) were the highest. The combination of BSRTC and BRAFV600E mutation analysis significantly increased the efficiency, with 97.8% sensitivity, 97.7% specificity. In patients with BSRTC I-III, the mutation rate of BRAFV600E was 64.5% in nodules with TIRADS 4B compared with 8.4% in nodules with TIRADS 3 or 4A (P < 0.001). Our study indicated that combination of BSRTC and BRAFV600E mutation analysis bears a great value in differentiating high-risk thyroid nodules. The TIRADS is useful in selecting high-risk patients for FNAB and patients with BSRTC I-III for BRAFV600E mutation analysis.
PMCID: PMC4657033  PMID: 26597052
12.  Significance of Serum Pepsinogens as a Biomarker for Gastric Cancer and Atrophic Gastritis Screening: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis 
PLoS ONE  2015;10(11):e0142080.
Human pepsinogens are considered promising serological biomarkers for the screening of atrophic gastritis (AG) and gastric cancer (GC). However, there has been controversy in the literature with respect to the validity of serum pepsinogen (SPG) for the detection of GC and AG. Consequently, we conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis to assess the diagnostic accuracy of SPG in GC and AG detection.
We searched PubMed, Embase, and the Chinese National Knowledge Infrastructure (CNKI) for correlative original studies published up to September 30, 2014. The summary sensitivity, specificity, positive diagnostic likelihood ratio (DLR+), negative diagnostic likelihood ratio (DLR-), area under the summary receiver operating characteristic curve (AUC) and diagnostic odds ratio (DOR) were used to evaluate SPG in GC and AG screening based on bivariate random effects models. The inter-study heterogeneity was evaluated by the I2 statistics and publication bias was assessed using Begg and Mazumdar’s test. Meta-regression and subgroup analyses were performed to explore study heterogeneity.
In total, 31 studies involving 1,520 GC patients and 2,265 AG patients were included in the meta-analysis. The summary sensitivity, specificity, DLR+, DLR-, AUC and DOR for GC screening using SPG were 0.69 (95% CI: 0.60–0.76), 0.73 (95% CI: 0.62–0.82), 2.57 (95% CI: 1.82–3.62), and 0.43 (95% CI: 0.34–0.54), 0.76 (95% CI: 0.72–0.80) and 6.01 (95% CI: 3.69–9.79), respectively. For AG screening, the summary sensitivity, specificity, DLR+, DLR-, AUC and DOR were 0.69 (95% CI: 0.55–0.80), 0.88 (95% CI: 0.77–0.94), 5.80 (95% CI: 3.06–10.99), and 0.35 (95% CI: 0.24–0.51), 0.85 (95% CI: 0.82–0.88) and 16.50 (95% CI: 8.18–33.28), respectively. In subgroup analysis, the use of combination of concentration of PGI and the ratio of PGI:PGII as measurement of SPG for GC screening yielded sensitivity of 0.70 (95% CI: 0.66–0.75), specificity of 0.79 (95% CI: 0.79–0.80), DOR of 6.92 (95% CI: 4.36–11.00), and AUC of 0.78 (95% CI: 0.72–0.81), while the use of concentration of PGI yielded sensitivity of 0.55 (95% CI: 0.51–0.60), specificity of 0.79 (95% CI: 0.76–0.82), DOR of 6.88 (95% CI: 2.30–20.60), and AUC of 0.77 (95% CI: 0.73–0.92). For AG screening, the use of ratio of PGI:PGII as measurement of SPG yielded sensitivity of 0.69 (95% CI: 0.52–0.83), specificity of 0.84 (95% CI: 0.68–0.93), DOR of 11.51 (95% CI: 6.14–21.56), and AUC of 0.83 (95% CI: 0.80–0.86), the use of combination of concentration of PGI and the ratio of PGI:PGII yield sensitivity of 0.79 (95% CI: 0.72–0.85), specificity of 0.89 (95% CI: 0.85–0.93), DOR of 24.64 (95% CI: 6.95–87.37), and AUC of 0.87 (95% CI: 0.81–0.92), concurrently, the use of concentration of PGI yield sensitivity of 0.46 (95% CI: 0.38–0.54), specificity of 0.93 (95% CI: 0.91–0.95), DOR of 19.86 (95% CI: 0.86–456.91), and AUC of 0.86 (95% CI: 0.52–1.00).
SPG has great potential as a noninvasive, population-based screening tool in GC and AG screening. In addition, given the potential publication bias and high heterogeneity of the included studies, further high quality studies are required in the future.
PMCID: PMC4640555  PMID: 26556485
13.  Mesoporous gold sponges: electric charge-assisted seed mediated synthesis and application as surface-enhanced Raman scattering substrates 
Scientific Reports  2015;5:16137.
Mesoporous gold sponges were prepared using 4-dimethylaminopyridine (DMAP)-stabilized Au seeds. This is a general process, which involves a simple template-free method, room temperature reduction of HAuCl4·4H2O with hydroxylamine. The formation process of mesoporous gold sponges could be accounted for the electrostatic interaction (the small Au nanoparticles (~3 nm) and the positively charged DMAP-stabilized Au seeds) and Ostwald ripening process. The mesoporous gold sponges had appeared to undergo electrostatic adsorption initially, sequentially linear aggregation, welding and Ostwald ripening, then, they randomly cross link into self-supporting, three-dimensional networks with time. The mesoporous gold sponges exhibit higher surface area than the literature. In addition, application of the spongelike networks as an active material for surface-enhanced Raman scattering has been investigated by employing 4-aminothiophenol (4-ATP) molecules as a probe.
PMCID: PMC4633612  PMID: 26538365
14.  Percutaneous CT-guided microwave ablation as maintenance after first-line treatment for patients with advanced NSCLC 
OncoTargets and therapy  2015;8:3227-3235.
Systemic therapy is recommended for advanced non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC). However, conventional first-line treatment has generated a plateau in response rate of 25% to 35%. Few studies have shown patients benefit from microwave ablation (MWA) in combination with radiotherapy and chemotherapy. This study aims to evaluate safety and efficacy of percutaneous computed tomography-guided MWA as maintenance after first-line treatment for patients with advanced NSCLC.
Patients with histologically verified NSCLC stage IIIB or IV between January 2010 and March 2014 were involved. After completion of first-line treatment with partial response or stable disease, 35 patients with 39 tumors underwent 39 MWA procedures. Complications, progression-free survival (PFS), overall survival (OS), and correlated predictors were analyzed.
During a median follow-up of 17.7 months and 10.8 months after initial MWA, local efficacy was 87.2%, median MWA-related local control time was 10.6 months, and tumor size was the only predictor (P=0.002). Median MWA-related PFS, MWA-related OS, PFS, and OS were 5.4, 10.6, 11.8 and 17.7 months, respectively. Local efficacy was significantly correlated with MWA-related PFS (P=0.003), MWA-related OS (P=0.000), and OS (P=0.001). There were no procedure-specific deaths. Total incidence of major complications was 12.8%, including pneumothorax resolved by closed pleural drainage and pneumonia controlled by antibiotics in a short time.
This study concluded two points, including: 1) patients benefited from MWA as maintenance both in local control and survival; 2) as maintenance MWA was superior to conventional maintenance therapy with improved survival and well-tolerated complications. Therefore, MWA was a safe and effective maintenance after first-line treatment in patients with advanced NSCLC.
PMCID: PMC4640441  PMID: 26604789
non-small-cell lung cancer; CT-guided microwave ablation; progression-free survival; overall survival
15.  Percutaneous microwave ablation of stage I medically inoperable non-small cell lung cancer: clinical evaluation of 47 cases 
Journal of surgical oncology  2014;110(6):758-763.
To retrospectively evaluate safety and effectiveness of CT-guided percutaneous microwave ablation (MWA) in 47 patients with medically inoperable stage I peripheral non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC).
From February 2008 to October 2012, 47 patients with stage I medically inoperable NSCLC were treated in 47 MWA sessions. The clinical outcomes were evaluated. Complications after MWA were also summarized.
At a median follow-up period of 30 months, the median time to the first recurrence was 45.5 months. The local control rates at 1, 3, 5 years after MWA were 96%, 64% and 48%, respectively. The median cancer-specific and median overall survivals were 47.4 months and 33.8 months. The overall survival rates at 1, 2, 3 and 5 years after MWA were 89%, 63%, 43%, and 16 %, respectively. Tumors ≤3.5 cm were associated with better survival than were tumors >3.5 cm. The complications after MWA included pneumothorax (63.8%), hemoptysis (31.9%), pleural effusion (34%), pulmonary infection (14.9%), and bronchopleural fistula (2.1%).
MWA is safe and effective for the treatment of medically inoperable stage I peripheral NSCLC.
PMCID: PMC4198430  PMID: 24965604
microwave ablation; non-small cell lung cancer; percutaneous; CT-guided
16.  Co-culture with periodontal ligament stem cells enhanced osteoblastic differentiation of MC3T3-E1 cells and osteoclastic differentiation of RAW264.7 cells 
Objectives: Periodontal ligament stem cells (PDLSCs) are characterized by having multipotential differentiation and immunoregulatory properties, which are the main mechanisms of PDLSCs-mediated periodontal regeneration. Periodontal or bone regeneration requires coordination of osteoblast and osteoclast, however, very little is known about the interactions between PDLSCs and osteoblast-like cells or osteoclast precursors. In this study, the indirect co-culture approach was introduced to preliminarily elucidate the effects of PDLSCs on differentiation of osteoblast-like cells and osteoclast precursors in vitro. Materials and methods: Human PDLSCs were obtained from premolars extracted and their stemness was identified in terms of their colony-forming ability, proliferative capacity, cell surface epitopes and multi-lineage differentiation potentials. A noncontact co-culture system of PDLSCs and preosteoblastic cell line MC3T3-E1 or osteoclast precursor cell line RAW264.7 was established, and osteoblastic differentiation of MC3T3-E1 and osteoclastic differentiation of RAW264.7 were evaluated. Results: PDLSCs exhibited features of mesenchymal stem cells. Further investigation through indirect co-culture system showed that PDLSCs enhanced ALP activity, expressions of ALP, Runx2, BSP, OPN mRNA and BSP, OPN proteins and mineralization matrix deposition in MC3T3-E1. Meanwhile, they improved maturation of osteoclasts and expressions of TRAP, CSTK, TRAF6 mRNA and TRAP, TRAF6 proteins in RAW264.7. Conclusions: PDLSCs stimulates osteoblastic differentiation of osteoblast precursors and osteoclastic differentiation of osteoclast precursors, at least partially, in a paracrine fasion.
PMCID: PMC4713569  PMID: 26823783
Periodontal ligament stem cells; co-culture; osteoblastic differentiation; osteoclastic differentiation
17.  Assessing Local and Surrounding Threats to the Protected Area Network in a Biodiversity Hotspot: The Hengduan Mountains of Southwest China 
PLoS ONE  2015;10(9):e0138533.
Protected areas (PAs) not only serve as refuges of biodiversity conservation but are also part of large ecosystems and are vulnerable to change caused by human activity from surrounding lands, especially in biodiversity hotspots. Assessing threats to PAs and surrounding areas is therefore a critical step in effective conservation planning. We apply a threat framework as a means of quantitatively assessing local and surrounding threats to different types of PAs with gradient buffers, and to main ecoregions in the Hengduan Mountain Hotspot of southwest China. Our findings show that national protected areas (NPAs) have lower and significantly lower threat values (p<0.05) than provincial protected areas (PPAs) and other protected areas (OPAs), respectively, which indicates that NPAs are lands with a lower threat level and higher levels of protection and management. PAs have clear edge effects, as the proportion of areas with low threat levels decline dramatically in the 5-kilometer buffers just outside the PAs. However, NPAs suffered greater declines (58.3%) than PPAs (34.8%) and OPAs (33.4%) in the 5-kilometer buffers. Moreover, a significant positive correlation was found between the size of PAs and the proportion of areas with low threat levels that they contained in both PAs and PA buffers (p<0.01). To control or mitigate current threats at the regional scale, PA managers often require quantitative information related to threat intensities and spatial distribution. The threat assessment in the Hengduan Mountain Hotspot will be useful to policy makers and managers in their efforts to establish effective plans and target-oriented management strategies.
PMCID: PMC4575193  PMID: 26382763
18.  Hepatitis B Virus Regulates Apoptosis and Tumorigenesis through the MicroRNA-15a-Smad7-Transforming Growth Factor Beta Pathway 
Journal of Virology  2014;89(5):2739-2749.
Hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection causes chronic hepatitis in hundreds of millions of people worldwide, which can eventually lead to hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). Previously, we found that HBV mRNAs can absorb microRNA-15a (miR-15a) to affect apoptosis through the Bcl-2 pathway. We asked whether HBV could inhibit apoptosis and promote tumorigenesis through different pathways. In this study, we found that the transforming growth factor β (TGF-β) pathway-inhibitory factor Smad7 is a novel target of miR-15a. We demonstrated that HBV can upregulate the level of Smad7 by downregulating miR-15a. Furthermore, we examined the level of Smad7 in liver samples from HBV-infected HCC patients and found that HBV mRNAs are positively correlated with the level of Smad7. By taking the approach of using immunoblotting and luciferase reporter assays, we revealed that HBV can abrogate TGF-β signaling via upregulating Smad7. By using annexin V staining and caspase 3/7 activity assays, we found that HBV can inhibit TGF-β-induced apoptosis of HepG2 cells. We also showed that HBV can promote tumor growth in BALB/c nude mice through upregulating the expression of Smad7. In conclusion, we demonstrated that HBV can upregulate Smad7 expression and inhibit TGF-β signaling, which makes the cells resistant to TGF-β-induced apoptosis and promotes tumorigenesis.
IMPORTANCE Hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection causes chronic hepatitis, which can eventually lead to hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). TGF-β signaling is closely linked to liver fibrosis, cirrhosis, and subsequent HCC progression and plays a unique role in the pathogenesis of HCC. At the early stage of tumor formation, TGF-β functions as a tumor suppressor that inhibits cell proliferation and induces apoptosis. Previously, we found that HBV mRNAs can sponge off miR-15a to affect apoptosis through the Bcl-2 pathway. In this study, we identified that the TGF-β-inhibitory factor Smad7 is a novel target of miR-15a. We reveal that HBV can abrogate TGF-β signaling via upregulating Smad7, inhibit TGF-β-induced apoptosis, as well as promote tumor development. Our study provides evidence to support the idea that viral RNAs can exert their functions as competing endogenous RNAs (ceRNAs) toward microRNA and participate in important cellular processes.
PMCID: PMC4325757  PMID: 25540364
19.  Vision-Related Quality of Life and Appearance Concerns Are Associated with Anxiety and Depression after Eye Enucleation: A Cross-Sectional Study 
PLoS ONE  2015;10(8):e0136460.
To investigate the association of demographic, clinical and psychosocial variables with levels of anxiety and depression in participants wearing an ocular prosthesis after eye enucleation.
This cross-sectional study included 195 participants with an enucleated eye who were attending an ophthalmic clinic for prosthetic rehabilitation between July and November 2014. Demographic and clinical data, and self-reported feelings of shame, sadness and anger were collected. Participants also completed the National Eye Institute Visual Function Questionnaire, the Facial Appearance subscale of the Negative Physical Self Scale, and the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale. Regression models were used to identify the factors associated with anxiety and depression.
The proportion of participants with clinical anxiety was 11.8% and clinical depression 13.8%. More anxiety and depression were associated with poorer vision-related quality of life and greater levels of appearance concerns. Younger age was related to greater levels of anxiety. Less educated participants and those feeling more angry about losing an eye are more prone to experience depression. Clinical variables were unrelated to anxiety or depression.
Anxiety and depression are more prevalent in eye-enucleated patients than the general population, which brings up the issues of psychiatric support in these patients. Psychosocial rather than clinical characteristics were associated with anxiety and depression. Longitudinal studies need to be conducted to further elucidate the direction of causality before interventions to improve mood states are developed.
PMCID: PMC4552790  PMID: 26317860
20.  MiR-30b suppresses tumor migration and invasion by targeting EIF5A2 in gastric cancer 
AIM: To elucidate the potential biological role of miR-30b in gastric cancer and investigate the underlying molecular mechanisms of miR-30b to inhibit metastasis of gastric cancer cells.
METHODS: The expression of miR-30b was detected in gastric cancer cell lines and samples by reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction. CCK-8 assays were conducted to explore the impact of miR-30b overexpression on the proliferation of gastric cancer cells. Flow cytometry was used to examine the effect of miR-30b on the apoptosis. Transwell test was used for the migration and invasion assays. Luciferase reporter assays and Western blot were employed to validate regulation of putative target of miR-30b.
RESULTS: The results showed that miR-30b was downregulated in gastric cancer tissues and cancer cell lines and functioned as a tumor suppressor. Overexpression of miR-30b promoted cell apoptosis, and suppressed proliferation, migration and invasion of the gastric cancer cell lines AGS and MGC803. Bioinformatic analysis identified the 3’-untranslated region of eukaryotic translation initiation factor 5A2 (EIF5A2) as a putative binding site of miR-30b. Luciferase reporter assays and Western blot analysis confirmed the EIF5A2 gene as a target of miR-30b. Moreover, expression levels of the EIF5A2 targets E-cadherin and Vimentin were altered following transfection of miR-30b mimics.
CONCLUSION: Our findings describe a link between miR-30b and EIF5A2, which plays an important role in mediating epithelial-mesenchymal transition.
PMCID: PMC4541385  PMID: 26309359
miR-30b; Gastric cancer; EIF5A2; Migration; Invasion
21.  Formation of broadband antireflective and superhydrophilic subwavelength structures on fused silica using one-step self-masking reactive ion etching 
Scientific Reports  2015;5:13023.
Fused silica subwavelength structures (SWSs) with an average period of ~100 nm were fabricated using an efficient approach based on one-step self-masking reactive ion etching. The subwavelength structures exhibited excellent broadband antireflection properties from the ultraviolet to near-infrared wavelength range. These properties are attributable to the graded refractive index for the transition from air to the fused silica substrate that is produced by the ideal nanocone subwavelength structures. The transmittance in the 400–700 nm range increased from approximately 93% for the polished fused silica to greater than 99% for the subwavelength structure layer on fused silica. Achieving broadband antireflection in the visible and near-infrared wavelength range by appropriate matching of the SWS heights on the front and back sides of the fused silica is a novel strategy. The measured antireflection properties are consistent with the results of theoretical analysis using a finite-difference time-domain (FDTD) method. This method is also applicable to diffraction grating fabrication. Moreover, the surface of the subwavelength structures exhibits significant superhydrophilic properties.
PMCID: PMC4542686  PMID: 26268896
22.  Inhibition of HDAC3 promotes ligand-independent PPARγ activation by protein acetylation 
PPARγ (peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor gamma) is a nuclear receptor whose activation is dependent on a ligand. PPARγ activation by exogenous ligands, such as thiazolidinediones (TZDs), is a strategy in the treatment of type 2 diabetes for the improvement of insulin sensitivity. In addition to a ligand, PPARγ function is also regulated by posttranslational modifications, such as phosphorylation, sumoylation, and ubiquitination. Here, we report that PPARγ protein is modified by acetylation, which induces the PPARγ function in the absence of an external ligand. We observed that histone deacetylase 3 (HDAC3) interacted with PPARγ to deacetylate the protein. In immunoprecipitation, the HDAC3 protein was associated with the PPARγ protein. Inhibition of HDAC3 using RNAi-mediated knockdown or HDAC3 inhibitor increased acetylation of the PPARγ protein. Furthermore, inhibition of HDAC3 enhanced expression of PPARγ target genes such as adiponectin and aP2. The expression was associated with an increase in glucose uptake and insulin signaling in adipocytes. HDAC3 inhibition enhanced lipid accumulation during differentiation of adipocytes. PPARγ acetylation was also induced by pioglitazone and acetylation is required for PPARγ activation. In the absence of TZDs, the acetylation from HDAC3 inhibition was sufficient to induce the transcriptional activity of PPARγ. Treating the Dio mice with HDAC3 inhibitor or pioglitazone for 2 weeks significantly improved high fat diet induced–insulin resistance. Our data suggest that acetylation of PPARγ is a ligand-independent mechanism of PPARγ activation. HDAC3 inhibitor is a potential PPARγ activator for improvement of insulin sensitivity.
PMCID: PMC4391273  PMID: 24982244
type 2 diabetes; insulin sensitivity; metabolic syndrome; adipocytes; adipogenesis; PPARγ; posttranslational modifications; histone deacetylase; HDAC inhibitors; acetylation
23.  Glycemic and Cholesterol Control Versus Single-Goal Control in US Veterans with Newly Diagnosed Type 2 Diabetes: A Retrospective Observational Study 
Diabetes Therapy  2015;6(3):339-355.
A majority of patients with diabetes do not have levels of glycated hemoglobin (HbA1c) and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) under control, either individually or in combination. The objective was to assess the clinical benefits and patient characteristics associated with dual-goal achievement [HbA1c <7% (53 mmol/mol) and LDL-C <100 mg/dL] versus only LDL-C goal achievement in adults with newly diagnosed type 2 diabetes.
Newly diagnosed patients with ≥2 measures of LDL-C and HbA1c were identified in the South Central Veterans Affairs Health Care Network (01/2004–06/2010). The index date was the first HbA1c assessment within 3 months of the first type 2 diabetes diagnosis. Multivariate Cox proportional hazards models were used to assess the association between time-varying goal achievement and post-index microvascular and cardiovascular complications. Patient characteristics associated with dual-goal achievement in the 7–12 months post-index were identified using a logistic regression.
The sample included 16,829 patients. Compared with LDL-C goal achievement, dual-goal achievement was associated with lower risk of microvascular complications [hazard ratio (95% confidence interval): 0.69 (0.63, 0.76)]. Other outcomes did not differ between those two groups. Characteristics associated with dual-goal achievement (44.2% of patients) include prior dual-goal achievement, older age, and use of lipid-lowering drugs.
Dual-goal achievement in newly diagnosed type 2 diabetes is associated with a lower risk of microvascular complications versus only LDL-C goal achievement. Although dual-goal achievement rates are suboptimal, early and regular intervention will increase its likelihood.
Daiichi Sankyo, Inc., Parsippany, NJ, USA.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1007/s13300-015-0122-2) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC4575310  PMID: 26202185
Electronic medical records; HbA1c; LDL-C; Type 2 diabetes mellitus; Veterans
24.  The Genus Letrouitia (Letrouitiaceae: Lichenized Ascomycota) New to Cambodia 
Mycobiology  2015;43(2):163-165.
The genus Letrouitia is newly recorded for Cambodia, including the four species as L. domingensis, L. leprolytoides, L. sayeri, and L. subvulpina. A brief description and illustrations are provided.
PMCID: PMC4505005  PMID: 26190924
Cambodia; Letrouitia
25.  Induction of Energy Expenditure by Sitagliptin Is Dependent on GLP-1 Receptor 
PLoS ONE  2015;10(5):e0126177.
Sitagliptin (SG) increases serum GLP-1 (Glucagon-like peptide-1) through inhibition of the hormone degradation. Resistant starch (RS) induces GLP-1 expression by stimulating L-cells in the intestine. Sitagliptin and resistant starch may have a synergistic interaction in the induction of GLP-1. This possibility was tested in current study in a mouse model of type 2 diabetes. Hyperglycemia was induced in the diet-induced obese mice by a signal injection of streptozotocin (STZ). Sitagliptin (0.4g/100g diet) was tested in the mice (n = 55) with dietary RS (HAM-RS2) at three dosages (0, 15, or 28g/100g diet). Energy and glucose metabolism were monitored in the evaluation of synergistic activity, and GLP-1 activity was determined in the GLP-1 receptor knockout (KO) mice. In the wild type mice, body weight and adiposity were reduced by sitagliptin, which was enhanced by RS (28g). Serum GLP-1 was induced and energy expenditure was enhanced by sitagliptin. Fasting glucose, insulin, and leptin levels were decreased by sitagliptin. The sitagliptin effects were lost in the KO mice (n = 25) although induction of serum GLP-1 by sitagliptin was even stronger in KO mice. The data suggests that sitagliptin is able to reduce adiposity and insulin resistance through induction of energy expenditure. The effect of sitagliptin is partially enhanced by RS. GLP-1 receptor may regulate serum GLP-1 by facilitating the hormone clearance.
PMCID: PMC4418617  PMID: 25938560

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