Cystatin SN is a secreted protein and a cysteine proteinase inhibitor. It has been considered to be a tumor marker for gastrointestinal tract cancer in several functional researches. However, the clinicopathological and prognostic significance of Cystatin SN expression in esophageal squamous cell carcinoma (ESCC) has not been elucidated.
In our study, the expression of Cystatin SN was detected in 209 surgically resected ESCC tissues and 170 peritumoral normal esophageal mucosae by immunohistochemistry. The prognostic significance of Cystatin SN expression was analysed with Kaplan-Meier plots and the Cox proportional hazards regression models.
The results showed that the immunostaining of Cystatin SN in ESCC tissues was less intense than that in the normal control tissue (P < 0.001). Compared with patients with low tumoral Cystatin SN expression, ESCC patients with tumors high-expression Cystatin SN exhibited increased disease-free survival (DFS) and overall survival (OS) (P < 0.001 and P < 0.001, respectively). Furthermore, the expression level of Cystatin SN could further stratify the ESCC patients by survival (DFS and OS) in the stage II subgroup (P < 0.001 and P < 0.001, respectively). Multivariate analyses showed that Cystatin SN expression, N status and differentiation were independent and significant predictors of survival.
We concluded that ESCC patients whose tumors express high levels of Cystatin SN have favourable survival compared with those patients with low Cystatin SN expression. Tumoral Cystatin SN expression may be an independent predictor of survival for patients with resectable ESCCs.
Esophageal squamous cell carcinoma; Cystatin SN; Immunohistochemistry; Prognosis
The TALE (Three Amino acid Loop Extension) family consisting of Meis, Pbx and Pknox proteins is a group of transcriptional co-factors with atypical homeodomains that play pivotal roles in limb development. Compared to the in-depth investigations of Meis and Pbx protein functions, the role of Pknox2 in limb development remains unclear. Here, we showed that Pknox2 was mainly expressed in the zeugopod domain of the murine limb at E10.5 and E11.5. Misexpression of Pknox2 in the limb bud mesenchyme of transgenic mice led to deformities in the zeugopod and forelimb stylopod deltoid crest, but left the autopod and other stylopod skeletons largely intact. These malformations in zeugopod skeletons were recapitulated in mice overexpressing Pknox2 in osteochondroprogenitor cells. Molecular and cellular analyses indicated that the misexpression of Pknox2 in limb bud mesenchyme perturbed the Hox10-11 gene expression profiles, decreased Col2 expression and Bmp/Smad signaling activity in the limb. These results indicated that Pknox2 misexpression affected mesenchymal condensation and early chondrogenic differentiation in the zeugopod skeletons of transgenic embryos, suggesting Pknox2 as a potential regulator of zeugopod and deltoid crest formation.
Tumor-derived cytokines and their receptors usually take important roles in the disease progression and prognosis of cancer patients. In this survey, we aimed to detect the expression levels of MIF and CXCR4 in different cell populations of tumor microenvironments and their association with survivals of patients with esophageal squamous cell carcinoma (ESCC).
MIF and CXCR4 levels were measured by immunochemistry in tumor specimens from 136 resected ESCC. Correlation analyses and independent prognostic outcomes were determined using Pearson’s chi-square test and Cox regression analysis.
The expression of CXCR4 in tumor cells was positively associated with tumor status (P = 0.045) and clinical stage (P = 0.044); whereas the expression of CXCR4 in tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes (TILs) and the expression of MIF in tumor cells and in TILs were not associated with clinical parameters of ESCC patients. High MIF expression in tumor cells or in TILs or high CXCR4 expression in tumor cells was significantly related to poor survival of ESCC patients (P < 0.05). Multivariate analysis showed that the expression of MIF or CXCR4 in tumor cells and the expression of MIF in TILs were adverse independent factors for disease-free survival (DFS) and overall survival (OS) in the whole cohort of patients (P < 0.05). Furthermore, the expression of MIF and CXCR4 in tumor cells were independent factors for reduced DFS and OS in metastatic/recurrent ESCC patients (P < 0.05). Interestingly, the expressions of MIF and CXCR4 in tumor cells and in TILs were significantly positively correlated (P < 0.05), and the combined MIF and CXCR4 expression in tumor cells was an independent adverse predictive factor for DFS and OS (P < 0.05).
The expressions of MIF and CXCR4 proteins in tumor cells and TILs have different clinically predictive values in ESCC.
Esophageal squamous cell carcinoma; Tumor microenvironment; MIF; CXCR4; Prognosis
Numerous clinical trials have demonstrated that elderly patients with colorectal cancer (CRC) can benefit from chemotherapy, yet compliance in real-world practice is low. The purpose of this study is to investigate the efficacy, compliance and reasons for refusal of postoperative chemotherapy for elderly patients with CRC and to provide corresponding strategies.
Patients and methods
The clinico-pathological and biochemical data of the chemotherapy group and chemo-refusing group were compared among 386 elderly patients (>70 years old) with CRC who underwent surgery. 226 patients received chemotherapy and 160 patients refused. Follow-up of the subjective reasons for refusal was investigated using the elderly caner patients' chemo-refusal reason questionnaire (ECPCRRQ) prepared by the authors and a group of psychologists. The questionnaire is administrated by telephone. A predictive model for 5-year disease-free survival (DFS) and 5-year overall survival (OS) was constructed by using Kaplan-Meier analysis, logistic and Cox regression.
Among stage III patients, receiving chemotherapy was associated with a significantly higher OS (68%) compared to those who refused (OS50%) (HR: 2.05, 95%CI: 1.12–3.77, P = 0.02). The Chemo-refusal group had more female and elderly patients, significantly higher rate of severe complications, and lower body mass index (BMI). Follow-up phone questionnaire analysis showed the doctors’ uncertainty of chemotherapy benefit, economic difficulties, uncomfortable feeling, superstition of Traditional Chinese Medicine, concealing information and lack of social support were the main factors for elderly CRC patients to decline chemotherapy.
The receipt of post-operative chemotherapy in elderly patients with resected stage III CRC was associated with a more favorable survival. The low compliance rate (160/386) of postoperative chemotherapy was influenced by various subjective and objective factors.
Viral diversity is a hallmark of hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection; however, only limited data are available regarding HCV variability in extrahepatic sites, and none have systematically compared diversity in non-structural and structural genomic regions. Therefore, HCV diversity in the NS5B and envelope 1 (E1) hypervariable region 1 (HVR1) genes was evaluated in matched sera and peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) obtained from 13 HCV-infected women. Multiple clonal sequences were compared to evaluate quasispecies diversity and viral compartmentalization in PBMCs.
Genetic distances were higher for E1/HVR1 compared to NS5B in both the sera and PBMCs (p = 0.0511 and p = 0.0284). Genetic distances were higher in serum NS5B compared to PBMC NS5B (p = 0.0003); however, they were not different when comparing E1/HVR1 in sera to PBMCs. By phylogenetic analysis of NS5B, evidence of possible PBMC compartmentalization was observed for 1 woman, while statistical methods were consistent with PBMC compartmentalization for 6 women. Evidence of compartmentalization within a non-structural genomic region may suggest that viral adaptation to a unique extracellular microenvironment(s) may be required for efficient replication and could contribute to HCV persistence.
NS5B; HVR1; diversity; quasispecies; extrahepatic replication
There is growing evidence to suggest that HIV may interact with several hepatic cell types; however, evaluation of HIV variability in liver tissue has not been addressed to date. Among 16 HIV-positive individuals examined, nine (56%) had detectable HIV RNA in the liver. The mean CD4 cell count for these nine individuals was 337 cells/mm3 (range: 0–601), while their mean plasma HIV RNA level was 106,974 copies/ml (range: 1200–320,740). Among individuals in this study with detectable HIV in both the plasma and the liver, the consensus gag nucleotide sequences for each tissue type were different for seven of seven (100%) individuals, while amino acid sequences were distinct for five of seven (71%). Consensus envelope (env) nucleotide and amino acid sequences were also distinct in the plasma and liver tissue for six of six (100%) individuals. Statistical evidence of compartmentalization between HIV in the plasma and in the liver was demonstrated, and multiple liver-specific amino acids were identified that may distinguish HIV variants replicating within the liver. These preliminary data demonstrate that HIV is frequently detectable in the liver of HIV-positive persons at various levels of immunosuppression. Possible compartmentalization may reflect tissue-specific selection pressures that drive viral adaptation to the liver microenvironment and may facilitate interactions with other hepatotropic viruses.
Wnt proteins are secreted molecules that play multiple roles during hair follicle development and postnatal hair cycling. Wntless (Wls) is a cargo protein required for the secretion of various Wnt ligands. However, its role during hair follicle development and hair cycling remains unclear. Here, we examined the expression of Wls during hair follicle induction and postnatal hair cycling. We also conditionally deleted Wls with K14-cre to investigate its role in hair follicle induction. K14-cre;Wlsc/c mice exhibited abnormal hair follicle development, which is possibly caused by impaired canonical Wnt signaling. Meanwhile, Wnt5a is also expressed in embryonic epidermis, but Wnt5a null mice showed no significant defect in embryonic hair follicle morphogenesis. Therefore, Wls may regulate hair follicle induction by mediating the Wnt/β-catenin pathway.
Brachydactyly type A1 (BDA1), the first recorded Mendelian autosomal dominant disorder in humans, is characterized by a shortening or absence of the middle phalanges. Heterozygous missense mutations in the Indian Hedgehog (IHH) gene have been identified as a cause of BDA1; however, the biochemical consequences of these mutations are unclear. In this paper, we analyzed three BDA1 mutations (E95K, D100E, and E131K) in the N-terminal fragment of Indian Hedgehog (IhhN). Structural analysis showed that the E95K mutation changes a negatively charged area to a positively charged area in a calcium-binding groove, and that the D100E mutation changes the local tertiary structure. Furthermore, we showed that the E95K and D100E mutations led to a temperature-sensitive and calcium-dependent instability of IhhN, which might contribute to an enhanced intracellular degradation of the mutant proteins via the lysosome. Notably, all three mutations affected Hh binding to the receptor Patched1 (PTC1), reducing its capacity to induce cellular differentiation. We propose that these are common features of the mutations that cause BDA1, affecting the Hh tertiary structure, intracellular fate, binding to the receptor/partners, and binding to extracellular components. The combination of these features alters signaling capacity and range, but the impact is likely to be variable and mutation-dependent. The potential variation in the signaling range is characterized by an enhanced interaction with heparan sulfate for IHH with the E95K mutation, but not the E131K mutation. Taken together, our results suggest that these IHH mutations affect Hh signaling at multiple levels, causing abnormal bone development and abnormal digit formation.
Indian hedgehog; BDA1; diffusion; heparin; crystal structure; degradation
There are only limited data on whether HIV infection occurs within the liver; therefore, we explored early and late stages of the HIV life cycle in two hepatocyte cell lines – Huh7.5 and Huh7.5JFH1 – as well as in primary human hepatocytes.
Integrated HIV DNA was detected in Huh7.5 and Huh7.5JFH1 cells, as well as in primary hepatocytes, and was inhibited by the integrase inhibitor raltegravir in a dose-dependent manner. HIV p24 protein was also detected in cell culture supernatants at days 1, 3, 5, and 7 post-infection and was inhibited by AZT, although levels were modest compared to those in a lymphocyte cell line. Culture supernatants from HIV-infected hepatocytes were capable of infecting a non-hepatic HIV indicator cell line.
These results indicating low-level HIV replication in hepatoctyes in vitro complement evidence suggesting that HIV has deleterious effects on the liver in vivo.
HIV; Hepatocyte; Liver; Integration; Huh7.5
Reelin (RELN), which is a glycoprotein secreted by Cajal-Retzius cells of the developing cerebral cortex, plays an important role in neuronal migration, but its role in cell migration and cancer metastasis is largely unclear. Here, we showed that cell motility was significantly increased in KYSE-510 cells by TGF-β1 treatment. Moreover, TGF-β1 decreased RELN mRNA expression and overexpression of Reelin at least partly reversed TGF-β1-induced cell migration in KYSE-30 cells. Furthermore, this negative regulation of Reelin expression by TGF-β1 was through Snail, one transcription factor which was induced by TGF-β1 in KYSE-510 cells. RELN promoter activity was reduced in parallel with the induction of Snail after TGF-β1 treatment and Snail suppressed both RELN promoter activity and expression through binding to E-box sequences in the RELN promoter region in ESCC cells. Knockdown of RELN induced cell migration in KYSE-510 cells, together with the increase of mesenchymal markers expression. Taken together, Reelin is an essential negative regulator in the TGF-β1-induced cell migration process, and is suppressed by TGF-β pathway at the transcriptional level through Snail regulation. Therefore, the correlation of Reelin and TGF-β pathway was critical in cancer metastasis, and Reelin could be one potential anti-metastasis target in future clinical practice.
In the present study, to investigate the mechanisms regulating carotenoid accumulation in citrus, a culture system was set up in vitro with juice sacs of three citrus varieties, Satsuma mandarin (Citrus unshiu Marc.), Valencia orange (Citrus sinensis Osbeck), and Lisbon lemon (Citrus limon Burm.f.). The juice sacs of all the three varieties enlarged gradually with carotenoid accumulation. The changing patterns of carotenoid content and the expression of carotenoid metabolic genes in juice sacs in vitro were similar to those ripening on trees in the three varieties. Using this system, the changes in the carotenoid content and the expression of carotenoid metabolic genes in response to environmental stimuli were investigated. The results showed that carotenoid accumulation was induced by blue light treatment, but was not affected by red light treatment in the three varieties. Different regulation of CitPSY expression, which was up-regulated by blue light while unaffected by red light, led to different changes in carotenoid content in response to these two treatments in Satsuma mandarin and Valencia orange. In all three varieties, increases in carotenoid content were observed with sucrose and mannitol treatments. However, the accumulation of carotenoid in the two treatments was regulated by distinct mechanisms at the transcriptional level. With abscisic acid (ABA) treatment, the expression of the genes investigated in this study was up-regulated in Satsuma mandarin and Lisbon lemon, indicating that ABA induced its own biosynthesis at the transcriptional level. This feedback regulation of ABA led to decreases in carotenoid content. With gibberellin (GA) treatment, carotenoid content was significantly decreased in the three varieties. Changes in the expression of genes related to carotenoid metabolism varied among the three varieties in response to GA treatment. These results provided insights into improving carotenoid content and composition in citrus during fruit maturation.
Carotenoid; citrus; in vitro; juice sacs; regulatory mechanism
There are limited data on diversity within the hepatitis C virus polymerase (NS5B). In concordance with its key functional role during the life cycle, NS5B intrapatient variability was low. Moreover, differences between NS5B nonsynonymous (dN) and synonymous (dS) mutation rates (dN − dS) were positively correlated with CD4 cell count, while nonsynonymous mutations were strongly correlated with reduced replication in vivo.
Steroid receptor coactivator-3 (SRC-3), also known as AIB1, is a member of the p160 steroid receptor coactivator family. Since SRC-3 was found to be amplified in breast cancer in 1997, the role of SRC-3 in cancer has been broadly investigated. SRC-3 initially was identified as a transcriptional coactivator for nuclear receptors such as the estrogen receptor (ER), involved in the proliferation of hormone-dependent cancers. However, increasing clinical evidence shows that dysregulation of SRC-3 expression in several human hormone-independent cancers is correlated with pathological factors and clinical prognosis. Recently, both in vivo and in vitro studies demonstrate that SRC-3 may influence a number of cancer cellular processes in several ways independent of nuclear receptor signaling. In addition, an SRC-3 transgenic mice model shows that SRC-3 induces tumors in several mouse tissues. These results indicate that the role of SRC-3 in cancer is not just as a nuclear receptor coactivator. The focus of this review is to examine possible SRC-3 roles in cancer, other than as a nuclear receptor coactivator.
Steroid receptor coactivator-3; mice model; tumorigenesis; cell cycle; apoptosis; invasion and metastasis
To identify the gene mutation underlying Avellino corneal dystrophy in a four-generation Chinese pedigree.
Patients from the affected family underwent detailed clinical examination involving slit-lamp photography and confocal microscopy. Genomic DNA extracted from peripheral leukocytes was amplified using touch-down PCR for gene scanning. Two-point linkage analysis and haplotyping were performed to map the relevant chromosome region. The candidate gene in this region was sequenced to screen out the disease-causing mutation.
Patients in the pedigree were diagnosed with Avellino corneal dystrophy. Using linkage analysis, the responsible gene was mapped to chromosome 5q31.2 with a maximum LOD (log odds) score (Zmax) of 3.23 at D5S479 (θmax=0.0). Haplotypes constructed from 11 microstallite markers identified the disease-linked chromosome region as being below D5S808. Sequencing of TGFBI (transforming growth factor-beta induced gene), a known gene in this region, revealed a heterozygous transition (c.418 G>A) in exon 4 resulting in Arg124His (R124H) being co-segregated with the disease in affected family members but not in the unaffected members or the 50 unrelated controls.
Our study demonstrated that a G>A transition in Arg124His of TGFBI was responsible for Avellino corneal dystrophy in a Chinese pedigree. This result further supports the importance of TGFBIp in maintaining transparency of the cornea.
Hepatitis C virus (HCV) non-nucleoside inhibitors (NNIs) target the viral RNA-dependent RNA polymerase encoded by the NS5B gene. Several NNIs share a similar allosteric binding site, and their antiviral efficacy is attenuated by a cysteine-to-tyrosine mutation at amino acid 316 (C316Y). In the current study, we assessed NS5B resistance mutations in treatment-naive individuals from a prospective natural history study of viral infections in women.
Partial NS5B sequences from HCV-positive women were amplified by RT–PCR. Additionally, subcloning was performed to evaluate intrapatient variability in selected samples.
HCV NS5B genotypes were 45 genotype 1a (57.0%), 11 genotype 1b (13.9%), 5 genotype 2a (6.3%), 3 genotype 2b (3.8%), 9 genotype 3a (11.4%) and 6 genotype 4a (7.6%). One HCV genotype 1a-infected patient was found to have the C316Y mutation (1.3%). Clonal analysis further revealed that all NS5B sequences from this individual—representing three serum samples collected 4 years apart—contained the C316Y mutation. In contrast, the S282T resistance mutation was not found in any samples.
The C316Y polymerase resistance mutation was found in 1.3% of samples from HCV-infected women. The presence of this mutation over time suggests significant replicative fitness of this variant and has implications for development of new specifically targeted antiviral therapies against HCV (STAT-C) targeting this region.
HCV; NS5B; C316Y
In this study, we have investigated the viscoelastic behaviour of individual human adult bone marrow-derived mesenchymal stem cells (hMSCs) and the role of F-actin filaments in maintaining these properties, using micropipette aspiration technique together with a standard linear viscoelastic solid model.
Under a room temperature of 20°C, the instantaneous and equilibrium Young's modulus, E0 and E∞, were found to be 886 ± 289 Pa and 372 ± 125 Pa, respectively, while the apparent viscosity, μ, was 2710 ± 1630 Pa·s. hMSCs treated with cytochalasin D up to 20 μM at 20°C registered significant drop of up to 84% in stiffness and increase of up to 255% in viscosity. At the physiological temperature of 37°C, E0 and E∞ have decreased by 42–66% whereas μ has increased by 95%, compared to the control. Majority of the hMSCs behave as viscoelastic solid with a rapid initial increase in aspiration length and it gradually levels out with time. Three other types of non-typical viscoelastic behavior of hMSCs were also seen.
hMSCs behave as viscoelastic solid. Its viscoelstic behaviour are dependent on the structural integrity of the F-actin filaments and temperature.