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1.  Coupling of Sterically Hindered Trisubstituted Olefins and Benzocyclobutenones via C–C Activation: Total Synthesis and Structural Revision of Cycloinumakiol ** 
The first total synthesis of the proposed structure of cycloinumakiol (1) and its C5-epimer (18) are achieved in a concise and efficient fashion: 9 and 5 steps from known 3-hydroxybenzocyclobutenone with overall yields of 15% and 33%, respectively. A key for the success of this approach is use of a catalytic C–C activation strategy for constructing the tetracyclic core of 1 through carboacylation of a sterically hindered trisubstituted olefin with benzocyclobutenone. In addition, the structure of the natural cycloinumakiol was reassigned to 19-hydroxyltotarol (7) through X-ray diffraction analysis. This work demonstrates the potential of C–C activation for streamlining complex natural-product synthesis.
PMCID: PMC4214140  PMID: 25138969
total synthesis; C–C activation; cycloinumakiol; structural revision; Rh catalysis
2.  Multiple Intracranial Aneurysms: Endovascular Treatment and Complications 
Interventional Neuroradiology  null;20(4):442-447.
This study evaluated the results of endovascular embolization of multiple intracranial aneurysms. A retrospective hospital chart and radiograph review were made of all patients with multiple intracranial aneurysms seen between March 2010 and January 2011.
Ten patients presented with subarachnoid hemorrhage, four with mass effect, two with brain ischemia and twenty were incidental. These 36 patients harbored 84 aneurysms, 63 of which were treated with endovascular techniques, two by surgical clipping, and 19 were left untreated. Of the coil-treated lesions, a complete endovascular occlusion was achieved in 54 aneurysms (85.7%), and eight (12.7%) presented neck remnants with one (1.6%) stented only. Twenty-six patients (72.2%) underwent coil embolization of more than one aneurysm in the first session. Follow-up angiographic studies in 31 patients demonstrated an unchanged or improved result in 93.0% of the aneurysms (53 lesions) and coil compaction in 7.0% (four lesions). The overall clinical outcome was excellent in 33 patients (91.7%), good in one (2.8%) and fair in two (5.5%).
Endovascular techniques may be a particularly suitable method for treating multiple intracranial aneurysms.
PMCID: PMC4187440  PMID: 25207907
multiple; aneurysm; embolization; intracranial; coils
3.  Discovery and structural optimization of 1-phenyl-3-(1-phenylethyl)urea derivatives as novel inhibitors of CRAC channel 
Acta Pharmacologica Sinica  2015;36(9):1137-1144.
Ca2+-release-activated Ca2+ (CRAC) channel, a subfamily of store-operated channels, is formed by calcium release-activated calcium modulator 1 (ORAI1), and gated by stromal interaction molecule 1 (STIM1). CRAC channel may be a novel target for the treatment of immune disorders and allergy. The aim of this study was to identify novel small molecule CRAC channel inhibitors.
HEK293 cells stably co-expressing both ORAI1 and STIM1 were used for high-throughput screening. A hit, 1-phenyl-3-(1-phenylethyl)urea, was identified that inhibited CRAC channels by targeting ORAI1. Five series of its derivatives were designed and synthesized, and their primary structure-activity relationships (SARs) were analyzed. All derivatives were assessed for their effects on Ca2+ influx through CRAC channels on HEK293 cells, cytotoxicity in Jurkat cells, and IL-2 production in Jurkat cells expressing ORAI1-SS-eGFP.
A total of 19 hits were discovered in libraries containing 32 000 compounds using the high-throughput screening. 1-Phenyl-3-(1-phenylethyl)urea inhibited Ca2+ influx with IC50 of 3.25±0.17 μmol/L. SAR study on its derivatives showed that the alkyl substituent on the α-position of the left-side benzylic amine (R1) was essential for Ca2+ influx inhibition and that the S-configuration was better than the R-configuration. The derivatives in which the right-side R3 was substituted by an electron-donating group showed more potent inhibitory activity than those that were substituted by electron-withdrawing groups. Furthermore, the free N–H of urea was not necessary to maintain the high potency of Ca2+ influx inhibition. The N,N′-disubstituted or N′-substituted derivatives showed relatively low cytotoxicity but maintained the ability to inhibit IL-2 production. Among them, compound 5b showed an improved inhibition of IL-2 production and low cytotoxicity.
1-Phenyl-3-(1-phenylethyl)urea is a novel CRAC channel inhibitor that specifically targets ORAI1. This study provides a new chemical scaffold for design and development of CRAC channel inhibitors with improved Ca2+ influx inhibition, immune inhibition and low cytotoxicity.
PMCID: PMC4561970  PMID: 26256403
CRAC channel; ORAI1; 1-phenyl-3-(1-phenylethyl)urea; YM58483; high-throughput screening; IL-2 production; structure modification; SAR
4.  Pretreatment Diffusion-Weighted MRI Can Predict the Response to Neoadjuvant Chemotherapy in Patients with Nasopharyngeal Carcinoma 
BioMed Research International  2015;2015:307943.
Purpose. To explore the potential of diffusion-weighted (DW) magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) using apparent diffusion coefficient (ADC) for predicting the response to neoadjuvant chemotherapy in nasopharyngeal carcinoma (NPC). Methods and Materials. Ninety-two consecutive patients with NPC who underwent three cycles of neoadjuvant chemotherapy were retrospectively analyzed. DW and anatomical MRI were performed before and after neoadjuvant chemotherapy prior to radiotherapy. Pretreatment ADCs and percentage increases in ADC after chemotherapy were calculated for the primary lesions and metastatic adenopathies. Receiver operating characteristic curve analysis was used to select optimal pretreatment ADCs. Results. Pretreatment mean ADCs were significantly lower for responders than for nonresponders (primary lesions, P = 0.012; metastatic adenopathies, P = 0.013). Mean percentage increases in ADC were higher for responders than for nonresponders (primary lesions, P = 0.008; metastatic adenopathies, P < 0.001). The optimal pretreatment primary lesion and metastatic adenopathy ADCs for differentiating responders from nonresponders were 0.897 × 10−3 mm2/sec and 1.031 × 10−3 mm2/sec, respectively. Conclusions. NPC patients with low pretreatment ADCs tend to respond better to neoadjuvant chemotherapy. Pretreatment ADCs could be used as a new pretreatment imaging biomarker of response to neoadjuvant chemotherapy.
PMCID: PMC4564581  PMID: 26413513
5.  Quantitative analysis of pathogens in the lower respiratory tract of patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease 
Bacterial infection of the lower respiratory tract is believed to play a major role in the pathogenesis of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and acute exacerbations of COPD (AECOPD). This study investigates the potential relationship between AECOPD and the load of six common bacterial pathogens in the lower respiratory tract using real-time quantitative PCR (RT-qPCR) in COPD patients.
Protected specimen brush (PSB) and bronchoalveolar lavage fluid (BALF) samples from the lower respiratory tract of 66 COPD patients and 33 healthy subjects were collected by bronchoscopy. The load of Staphylococcus aureus, Klebsiella pneumoniae, Streptococcus pneumoniae, Pseudomonos aeruginosa, Haemophilus influenzeae, and Moraxella catarrhalis were detected by RT-qPCR.
High Klebsiella pneumoniae, Pseudomonos aeruginosa, Haemophilus influenzeae and Moraxella catarrhalis burden were detected by RT-qPCR in both PSB and BALF samples obtained from stable COPD and AECOPD patients compared with healthy subjects. The load of the above four pathogenic strains in PSB and BALF samples obtained from AECOPD patients were significantly higher compared with stable COPD patients. Finally, positive correlations between bacterial loads and inflammatory mediators such as neutrophil count and cytokine levels of IL-1β, IL-6 and IL-8, as well as negative correlations between bacterial loads and the forced expiratory volume in one second (FEV1) % predicted, forced vital capacity (FVC) % predicted, and FEV1/FVC ratio, were detected.
These findings suggest that increased bacterial loads mediated inflammatory response in the lower respiratory tract and were associated with AECOPD. In addition, these results provide guidance for antibiotic therapy of AECOPD patients.
PMCID: PMC4543462  PMID: 26286268
6.  Nrf2 Activation in Astrocytes Contributes to Spinal Cord Ischemic Tolerance Induced by Hyperbaric Oxygen Preconditioning 
Journal of Neurotrauma  2014;31(15):1343-1353.
In this study, we investigated whether nuclear factor erythroid 2-related factor 2 (Nrf2) activation in astrocytes contributes to the neuroprotection induced by a single hyperbaric oxygen preconditioning (HBO-PC) against spinal cord ischemia/reperfusion (SCIR) injury. In vivo: At 24 h after a single HBO-PC at 2.5 atmospheres absolute for 90 min, the male ICR mice underwent SCIR injury by aortic cross-clamping surgery and observed for 48 h. HBO-PC significantly improved hindlimb motor function, reduced secondary spinal cord edema, ameliorated the reactivity of spinal motor-evoked potentials, and slowed down the process of apoptosis to exert neuroprotective effects against SCIR injury. At 12 h or 24 h after HBO-PC without aortic cross-clamping surgery, Western blot, enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay, realtime-polymerase chain reaction and double-immunofluorescence staining were used to detect the Nrf2 activity of spinal cord tissue, such as mRNA level, protein content, DNA binding activity, and the expression of downstream gene, such as glutamate-cysteine ligase, γ-glutamyltransferase, multidrug resistance protein 1, which are key proteins for intracellular glutathione synthesis and transit. The Nrf2 activity and downstream genes expression were all enhanced in normal spinal cord with HBO-PC. Glutathione content of spinal cord tissue with HBO-PC significantly increased at all time points after SCIR injury. Moreover, Nrf2 overexpression mainly occurs in astrocytes. In vitro: At 24 h after HBO-PC, the primary spinal astrocyte-neuron co-cultures from ICR mouse pups were subjected to oxygen-glucose deprivation (OGD) for 90 min to simulate the ischemia-reperfusion injury. HBO-PC significantly increased the survival rate of neurons and the glutathione content in culture medium, which was mainly released from asctrocytes. Moreover, the Nrf2 activity and downstream genes expression induced by HBO-PC were mainly enhanced in astrocytes, but not in neurons. In conclusion, our findings demonstrated that spinal cord ischemic tolerance induced by HBO-PC may be mainly related to Nrf2 activation in astrocytes.
PMCID: PMC4120927  PMID: 24716787
astrocyte; hyperbaric oxygen preconditioning; neuroprotection; Nrf2; oxygen-glucose deprivation; spinal cord ischemia/reperfusion
7.  Mutation of kri1l causes definitive hematopoiesis failure via PERK-dependent excessive autophagy induction 
Cell Research  2015;25(8):946-962.
Dysregulation of ribosome biogenesis causes human diseases, such as Diamond-Blackfan anemia, del (5q-) syndrome and bone marrow failure. However, the mechanisms of blood disorders in these diseases remain elusive. Through genetic mapping, molecular cloning and mechanism characterization of the zebrafish mutant cas002, we reveal a novel connection between ribosomal dysfunction and excessive autophagy in the regulation of hematopoietic stem/progenitor cells (HSPCs). cas002 carries a recessive lethal mutation in kri1l gene that encodes an essential component of rRNA small subunit processome. We show that Kri1l is required for normal ribosome biogenesis, expansion of definitive HSPCs and subsequent lineage differentiation. Through live imaging and biochemical studies, we find that loss of Kri1l causes the accumulation of misfolded proteins and excessive PERK activation-dependent autophagy in HSPCs. Blocking autophagy but not inhibiting apoptosis by Bcl2 overexpression can fully rescue hematopoietic defects, but not the lethality of kri1lcas002 embryos. Treatment with autophagy inhibitors (3-MA and Baf A1) or PERK inhibitor (GSK2656157), or knockdown of beclin1 or perk can markedly restore HSPC proliferation and definitive hematopoietic cell differentiation. These results may provide leads for effective therapeutics that benefit patients with anemia or bone marrow failure caused by ribosome disorders.
PMCID: PMC4528055  PMID: 26138676
Hematopoietic stem cells; zebrafish; kri1l; ribosome biogenesis; autophagy; PERK; misfolded/unfolded protein
8.  Arginylation of myosin heavy chain regulates skeletal muscle strength 
Cell reports  2014;8(2):470-476.
Protein arginylation is a post-translational modification with an emerging global role in the regulation of actin cytoskeleton. To test the role of arginylation in the skeletal muscle, we generated a mouse model with Ate1 knockout driven by skeletal muscle-specific creatine kinase (Ckmm) promoter. Such Ckmm-Ate1 mice were viable and outwardly normal, however their skeletal muscle strength was significantly reduced compared to the control. Mass spectrometry of the isolated skeletal myofibrils showed a limited set of proteins arginylated on specific sites, including myosin heavy chain. Atomic force microscopy measurements of the contractile strength in individual myofibrils and isolated myosin filaments from these mice showed a significant reduction of contractile forces, which, in the case of the myosin filaments could be fully rescued by re-arginylation with purified Ate1. Our results demonstrate that arginylation regulates force production in the muscle and exerts a direct effect on muscle strength through arginylation of myosin.
PMCID: PMC4126752  PMID: 25017061
9.  Metabolomic Identification of a Novel Pathway of Blood Pressure Regulation Involving Hexadecanedioate 
Hypertension  2015;66(2):422-429.
Supplemental Digital Content is available in the text.
High blood pressure is a major contributor to the global burden of disease and discovering novel causal pathways of blood pressure regulation has been challenging. We tested blood pressure associations with 280 fasting blood metabolites in 3980 TwinsUK females. Survival analysis for all-cause mortality was performed on significant independent metabolites (P<8.9×10−5). Replication was conducted in 2 independent cohorts KORA (n=1494) and Hertfordshire (n=1515). Three independent animal experiments were performed to establish causality: (1) blood pressure change after increasing circulating metabolite levels in Wistar–Kyoto rats; (2) circulating metabolite change after salt-induced blood pressure elevation in spontaneously hypertensive stroke-prone rats; and (3) mesenteric artery response to noradrenaline and carbachol in metabolite treated and control rats. Of the15 metabolites that showed an independent significant association with blood pressure, only hexadecanedioate, a dicarboxylic acid, showed concordant association with blood pressure (systolic BP: β [95% confidence interval], 1.31 [0.83–1.78], P=6.81×10−8; diastolic BP: 0.81 [0.5–1.11], P=2.96×10−7) and mortality (hazard ratio [95% confidence interval], 1.49 [1.08–2.05]; P=0.02) in TwinsUK. The blood pressure association was replicated in KORA and Hertfordshire. In the animal experiments, we showed that oral hexadecanedioate increased both circulating hexadecanedioate and blood pressure in Wistar–Kyoto rats, whereas blood pressure elevation with oral sodium chloride in hypertensive rats did not affect hexadecanedioate levels. Vascular reactivity to noradrenaline was significantly increased in mesenteric resistance arteries from hexadecanedioate-treated rats compared with controls, indicated by the shift to the left of the concentration–response curve (P=0.013). Relaxation to carbachol did not show any difference. Our findings indicate that hexadecanedioate is causally associated with blood pressure regulation through a novel pathway that merits further investigation.
PMCID: PMC4490909  PMID: 26034203
blood pressure; fatty acid synthases; hypertension; metabolomics; mortality
10.  APOBEC3A Functions as a Restriction Factor of Human Papillomavirus 
Journal of Virology  2014;89(1):688-702.
Human papillomaviruses (HPVs) are small DNA viruses causally associated with benign warts and multiple cancers, including cervical and head-and-neck cancers. While the vast majority of people are exposed to HPV, most instances of infection are cleared naturally. However, the intrinsic host defense mechanisms that block the early establishment of HPV infections remain mysterious. Several antiviral cytidine deaminases of the human APOBEC3 (hA3) family have been identified as potent viral DNA mutators. While editing of HPV genomes in benign and premalignant cervical lesions has been demonstrated, it remains unclear whether hA3 proteins can directly inhibit HPV infection. Interestingly, recent studies revealed that HPV-positive cervical and head-and-neck cancers exhibited higher rates of hA3 mutation signatures than most HPV-negative cancers. Here, we report that hA3A and hA3B expression levels are highly upregulated in HPV-positive keratinocytes and cervical tissues in early stages of cancer progression, potentially through a mechanism involving the HPV E7 oncoprotein. HPV16 virions assembled in the presence of hA3A, but not in the presence of hA3B or hA3C, have significantly decreased infectivity compared to HPV virions assembled without hA3A or with a catalytically inactive mutant, hA3A/E72Q. Importantly, hA3A knockdown in human keratinocytes results in a significant increase in HPV infectivity. Collectively, our findings suggest that hA3A acts as a restriction factor against HPV infection, but the induction of this restriction mechanism by HPV may come at a cost to the host by promoting cancer mutagenesis.
IMPORTANCE Human papillomaviruses (HPVs) are highly prevalent and potent human pathogens that cause >5% of all human cancers, including cervical and head-and-neck cancers. While the majority of people become infected with HPV, only 10 to 20% of infections are established as persistent infections. This suggests the existence of intrinsic host defense mechanisms that inhibit viral persistence. Using a robust method to produce infectious HPV virions, we demonstrate that hA3A, but not hA3B or hA3C, can significantly inhibit HPV infectivity. Moreover, hA3A and hA3B were coordinately induced in HPV-positive clinical specimens during cancer progression, likely through an HPV E7 oncoprotein-dependent mechanism. Interestingly, HPV-positive cervical and head-and-neck cancer specimens were recently shown to harbor significant amounts of hA3 mutation signatures. Our findings raise the intriguing possibility that the induction of this host restriction mechanism by HPV may also trigger hA3A- and hA3B-induced cancer mutagenesis.
PMCID: PMC4301161  PMID: 25355878
11.  TopBP1 Governs Hematopoietic Stem/Progenitor Cells Survival in Zebrafish Definitive Hematopoiesis 
PLoS Genetics  2015;11(7):e1005346.
In vertebrate definitive hematopoiesis, nascent hematopoietic stem/progenitor cells (HSPCs) migrate to and reside in proliferative hematopoietic microenvironment for transitory expansion. In this process, well-established DNA damage response pathways are vital to resolve the replication stress, which is deleterious for genome stability and cell survival. However, the detailed mechanism on the response and repair of the replication stress-induced DNA damage during hematopoietic progenitor expansion remains elusive. Here we report that a novel zebrafish mutantcas003 with nonsense mutation in topbp1 gene encoding topoisomerase II β binding protein 1 (TopBP1) exhibits severe definitive hematopoiesis failure. Homozygous topbp1cas003 mutants manifest reduced number of HSPCs during definitive hematopoietic cell expansion, without affecting the formation and migration of HSPCs. Moreover, HSPCs in the caudal hematopoietic tissue (an equivalent of the fetal liver in mammals) in topbp1cas003 mutant embryos are more sensitive to hydroxyurea (HU) treatment. Mechanistically, subcellular mislocalization of TopBP1cas003 protein results in ATR/Chk1 activation failure and DNA damage accumulation in HSPCs, and eventually induces the p53-dependent apoptosis of HSPCs. Collectively, this study demonstrates a novel and vital role of TopBP1 in the maintenance of HSPCs genome integrity and survival during hematopoietic progenitor expansion.
Author Summary
The rapidly proliferating hematopoietic stem/progenitor cells (HSPCs) require well-established DNA damage response/repair pathways to resolve the DNA replication stress-induced DNA damage, which is deleterious for the genome stability and cell survival. Impairment of these pathways could lead to the progressive bone marrow failure (BMF) and hematopoietic malignancies. Here we reported a novel function of topoisomerase II β binding protein 1 (TopBP1) in definitive hematopoiesis through characterizing zebrafish mutantcas003 with a nonsense mutation in topbp1 gene encoding TopBP1. The homozygous topbp1 mutants manifested decreased HSPCs during their pool expansion in the caudal hematopoietic tissue (CHT, an equivalent of the fetal liver in mammals) due to the p53-dependent apoptosis. Further investigation revealed that the deficient TopBP1-ATR-Chk1 pathway upon DNA replication stress in topbp1 mutants led to accumulated DNA damage and further affected HSPCs survival. These studies therefore emphasized the importance of topbp1 function as well as DNA damage response pathways during the fetal HSPC rapid proliferation.
PMCID: PMC4488437  PMID: 26131719
12.  Triclosan Blocks Mmp 13 Expression in Hormone-Stimulated Osteoblasts 
Journal of periodontology  2013;84(11):1683-1689.
Matrix metalloproteinase-13 (Mmp-13) is an important enzyme for the modulation of bone turnover and gingival recession. Elevated levels of Mmp-13 are associated with alveolar bone resorption, periodontal ligament destruction, and gingival attachment loss, which are the clinical symptoms of periodontal disease. Continued evidence suggests periodontal disease contributes to oral tissue destruction and is linked to numerous systemic conditions. Triclosan is a long standing, proven antibacterial and anti-inflammatory agent found in the only FDA-approved dentifrice for the treatment of plaque and gingivitis.
This study examined the inhibitory effects of triclosan on lipopolysaccharide (LPS), parathyroid hormone (PTH) and prostaglandin E2 (PGE2) induced expression of Mmp-13 in UMR 106-01 cells, an osteoblastic osteosarcoma cell line. The cells were stimulated with PTH or PGE2 to induce Mmp-13 mRNA expression and Real Time RT-PCR was performed to determine gene expression levels. Western blot analysis assessed the presence or absence of protein degradation or inhibition of protein synthesis. Mmp-13 Promoter Reporter Assay was utilized to explore possible direct effects of triclosan on the Mmp-13 promoter.
Triclosan significantly reduced PTH or PGE2 elevated expression of Mmp-13 in osteoblastic cells without affecting basal levels of the mRNA. Surprisingly, triclosan enhanced the expression of c-fos and amphiregulin mRNA. A promoter assay indicated triclosan directly inhibits the activation of the PTH-responsive minimal promoter of Mmp-13.
Our data appear to have identified a nuclear mechanism of action of triclosan which accounts for triclosan’s ability to inhibit PTH or PGE2 induced Mmp-13 expression in osteoblastic cells.
PMCID: PMC4482346  PMID: 23368947
Osteoblasts; Periodontal Diseases; Triclosan; Matrix Metalloproteinase 13
13.  Unraveling a molecular determinant for clathrin-independent internalization of the M2 muscarinic acetylcholine receptor 
Scientific Reports  2015;5:11408.
Endocytosis and postendocytic sorting of G-protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs) is important for the regulation of both their cell surface density and signaling profile. Unlike the mechanisms of clathrin-dependent endocytosis (CDE), the mechanisms underlying the control of GPCR signaling by clathrin-independent endocytosis (CIE) remain largely unknown. Among the muscarinic acetylcholine receptors (mAChRs), the M4 mAChR undergoes CDE and recycling, whereas the M2 mAChR is internalized through CIE and targeted to lysosomes. Here we investigated the endocytosis and postendocytic trafficking of M2 mAChR based on a comparative analysis of the third cytoplasmic domain in M2 and M4 mAChRs. For the first time, we identified that the sequence 374KKKPPPS380 servers as a sorting signal for the clathrin-independent internalization of M2 mAChR. Switching 374KKKPPPS380 to the i3 loop of the M4 mAChR shifted the receptor into lysosomes through the CIE pathway; and therefore away from CDE and recycling. We also found another previously unidentified sequence that guides CDE of the M2 mAChR, 361VARKIVKMTKQPA373, which is normally masked in the presence of the downstream sequence 374KKKPPPS380. Taken together, our data indicate that endocytosis and postendocytic sorting of GPCRs that undergo CIE could be sequence-dependent.
PMCID: PMC4476042  PMID: 26094760
14.  Quantitative Proteomic Analysis Identifies Targets and Pathways of a 2-Aminobenzamide HDAC Inhibitor in Friedreich’s Ataxia Patient iPSC-Derived Neural Stem Cells 
Journal of Proteome Research  2014;13(11):4558-4566.
Members of the 2-aminobenzamide class of histone deacetylase (HDAC) inhibitors show promise as therapeutics for the neurodegenerative diseases Friedreich’s ataxia (FRDA) and Huntington’s disease (HD). While it is clear that HDAC3 is one of the important targets of the 2-aminobenzamide HDAC inhibitors, inhibition of other class I HDACs (HDACs 1 and 2) may also be involved in the beneficial effects of these compounds in FRDA and HD, and other HDAC interacting proteins may be impacted by the compound. To this end, we synthesized activity-based profiling probe (ABPP) versions of one of our HDAC inhibitors (compound 106), and in the present study we used a quantitative proteomic method coupled with multidimensional protein identification technology (MudPIT) to identify the proteins captured by the ABPP 106 probe. Nuclear proteins were extracted from FRDA patient iPSC-derived neural stem cells, and then were reacted with control and ABPP 106 probe. After reaction, the bound proteins were digested on the beads, and the peptides were modified using stable isotope-labeled formaldehyde to form dimethyl amine. The selectively bound proteins determined by mass spectrometry were subjected to functional and pathway analysis. Our findings suggest that the targets of compound 106 are involved not only in transcriptional regulation but also in posttranscriptional processing of mRNA.
PMCID: PMC4227551  PMID: 24933366
HDAC inhibitor; dimethyl labeling; MudPIT; FRDA
15.  High-performance ternary blend polymer solar cells involving both energy transfer and hole relay processes 
Nature Communications  2015;6:7327.
The integration of multiple materials with complementary absorptions into a single junction device is regarded as an efficient way to enhance the power conversion efficiency (PCE) of organic solar cells (OSCs). However, because of increased complexity with one more component, only limited high-performance ternary systems have been demonstrated previously. Here we report an efficient ternary blend OSC with a PCE of 9.2%. We show that the third component can reduce surface trap densities in the ternary blend. Detailed studies unravel that the improved performance results from synergistic effects of enlarged open circuit voltage, suppressed trap-assisted recombination, enhanced light absorption, increased hole extraction, efficient energy transfer and better morphology. The working mechanism and high device performance demonstrate new insights and design guidelines for high-performance ternary blend solar cells and suggest that ternary structure is a promising platform to boost the efficiency of OSCs.
Ternary blend solar cells offer the potential for high-power conversion efficiencies (PCEs); however their performances can be limited by design complexity. Here, the authors integrate multiple materials into a single junction device with 9.2% PCE and elucidate the mechanisms of enhancement at play.
PMCID: PMC4468850  PMID: 26041586
16.  VSIG4 is highly expressed and correlated with poor prognosis of high-grade glioma patients 
The high-grade glioma (HGG) remains as the greatest challenge for cancer management worldwide. Identification of novel therapeutics and diagnostic method is in urgent need. The V-set and immunoglobulin domain-containing protein 4 (VSIG4) is a complement receptor for C3b/iC3b and inhibits cytotoxic T lymphocytes activation, which may play important roles in glioma oncogenesis. In this study, we performed immunohistochemistry in tissue microarray to determine the expression of VSIG4 in malignant glioma and normal brain. We then applied univariate and multivariate analyses to evaluate the expression of VSIG4 and correlated with prognosis of glioma patients. We have shown that VSIG4 was significantly elevated in high-grade glioma compared with those of normal brain tissues (P<0.001). We have also found that high VSIG4 expression was an independent prognostic factor for a shorter progression-free survival (PFS) and overall survival (OS) in high-grade glioma patients [hazard ratio (HR) =1.786, P=0.011 and HR=2.199, P=0.001, respectively]. Patients with low VSIG4 expression had a significantly longer median OS and PFS than those with high VSIG4 expression. Subgroup analysis stratifying HGG patients by both VSIG4 expression and tumor grade further confirmed the independent prognostic role of VSIG4 in HGG patients, while no adjuvant radiotherapy, small extent of resection and higher tumor grade were other three independent risk factors for HGG poor prognosis. Similar findings were also obtained using data from Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA). Together, our results support that VISG4 can be used as a prognostic factor and potentially an immunotherapeutic target for glioma.
PMCID: PMC4532749  PMID: 26279760
VSIG4; proliferation; human glioma; prognosis
17.  Relative potency ratio between hyperbaric and isobaric solutions of ropivacaine in subarachnoid block for knee arthroscopy 
Objective: To observe the potency ratio of hyperbaric to isobaric solutions of ropivacaine in subarachnoid block for knee arthroscopy. Methods: Fifty patients receiving knee arthroscopy under combined spinal-epidural anesthesia were randomly divided into isobaric ropivacaine group and hyperbaric ropivacaine group (0.5% ropivacaine, prepared with equal volume of 10% glucose and 1% isobaric ropivacaine). Successful criteria of spinal anesthesia were (1) a bilateral loss of pinprick sensation at or above the level of T12; (2) adequate motor block during knee arthroscopy (modified Bromage’s score ≥2); and (3) no requirement of additional epidural administration at least within 60 min after intrathecal injection. Drug consumption was determined with up-and-down method, and then ED50 was calculated. Results: The ED50 of isobaric ropivacaine was 9.71 mg (95% CI 8.11-11.32), and the ED50 of hyperbaric ropivacaine was 6.55 mg (95% CI 6.07-7.04), and the relative potency ratio was 0.67 (95% CI 0.56-0.80) for hyperbaric/isobaric ropivacaine. Conclusions: The ED50 of hyperbaric ropivacaine is less than that of isobaric ropivacaine in subarachnoid block anesthesia for knee arthroscopy.
PMCID: PMC4537999  PMID: 26309633
Subarachnoid block anesthesia; ropivacaine; hyperbaric solution
18.  Using DGGE and 16S rRNA Gene Sequence Analysis to Evaluate Changes in Oral Bacterial Composition 
To investigate whether a standard dental prophylaxis followed by tooth brushing with an antibacterial dentifrice will affect the oral bacterial community, as determined by denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis (DGGE) combined with 16S rRNA gene sequence analysis.
Twenty-four healthy adults were instructed to brush their teeth using commercial dentifrice for 1 week during a washout period. An initial set of pooled supragingival plaque samples was collected from each participant at baseline (0 h) before prophylaxis treatment. The subjects were given a clinical examination and dental prophylaxis and asked to brush for 1 min with a dentifrice containing 0.3% triclosan/2.0% PVM/MA copolymer/0.243% sodium fluoride (Colgate Total). On the following day, a second set of pooled supragingival plaque samples (24 h) was collected. Total bacterial genomic DNA was isolated from the samples. Differences in the microbial composition before and after the prophylactic procedure and tooth brushing were assessed by comparing the DGGE profiles of PCR-amplified and 16S rRNA gene segments sequence analysis.
Two distinct clusters of DGGE profiles were found, suggesting that a shift in the microbial composition had occurred 24 h after the prophylaxis and brushing. A detailed sequencing analysis of 16S rRNA gene segments further identified six phyla and 29 genera, including known and unknown bacterial species. Importantly, an increase in bacterial diversity was observed after 24 h, including members of the Streptococcaceae family, Prevotella, Corynebacterium, TM7 and other commensal bacteria.
The results suggest that the use of a standard prophylaxis followed by the use of the dentifrice containing 0.3% triclosan/2.0% PVM/MA copolymer/0.243% sodium fluoride may promote a healthier composition within the oral bacterial community.
PMCID: PMC4417478  PMID: 22319750
dental plaque; microbial diversity; PCR-DGGE; 16S rDNA clone library
19.  NeuroPep: a comprehensive resource of neuropeptides 
Neuropeptides play a variety of roles in many physiological processes and serve as potential therapeutic targets for the treatment of some nervous-system disorders. In recent years, there has been a tremendous increase in the number of identified neuropeptides. Therefore, we have developed NeuroPep, a comprehensive resource of neuropeptides, which holds 5949 non-redundant neuropeptide entries originating from 493 organisms belonging to 65 neuropeptide families. In NeuroPep, the number of neuropeptides in invertebrates and vertebrates is 3455 and 2406, respectively. It is currently the most complete neuropeptide database. We extracted entries deposited in UniProt, the database ( and NeuroPedia, and used text mining methods to retrieve entries from the MEDLINE abstracts and full text articles. All the entries in NeuroPep have been manually checked. 2069 of the 5949 (35%) neuropeptide sequences were collected from the scientific literature. Moreover, NeuroPep contains detailed annotations for each entry, including source organisms, tissue specificity, families, names, post-translational modifications, 3D structures (if available) and literature references. Information derived from these peptide sequences such as amino acid compositions, isoelectric points, molecular weight and other physicochemical properties of peptides are also provided. A quick search feature allows users to search the database with keywords such as sequence, name, family, etc., and an advanced search page helps users to combine queries with logical operators like AND/OR. In addition, user-friendly web tools like browsing, sequence alignment and mapping are also integrated into the NeuroPep database.
Database URL:
PMCID: PMC4414954  PMID: 25931458
21.  Intestinal symptoms and psychological factors jointly affect quality of life of patients with irritable bowel syndrome with diarrhea 
Patients with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) have significantly reduced quality of life (QOL). Although intestinal and extraintestinal symptoms, as well as comorbid psychological disorders, may reduce the QOL of IBS patients, the primary determinant of QOL in these patients remains unclear. This study aimed to identify the main factors affecting QOL in patients with IBS with diarrhea (IBS-D).
Consecutive patients meeting the Rome III Diagnostic Criteria for IBS-D were enrolled in this study. Patients with organic diseases were excluded. The intestinal symptoms, psychological states and QOL of these patients were evaluated using IBS-specific symptom questionnaires, the Hamilton Depression Scale (HAMD), the Hamilton Anxiety Scale (HAMA), and the Chinese version of the IBS-QOL instrument. Overall scores for intestinal symptoms were calculated by frequency and degree.
This study enrolled 227 IBS-D patients, of mean age 44.68 ± 10.81 years. Their mean overall IBS-QOL score was 71.68 ± 18.54, with the lowest score being for food avoidance (53.71 ± 26.92). Overall IBS-QOL score correlated negatively with overall scores of intestinal symptoms and HAMD and HAMA scores (p < 0.001 each). Overall intestinal symptoms scores correlated negatively with HAMD and HAMA scores (p < 0.001 each). Scores of HAMD, HAMA and structural factors (i.e., anxiety/somatization, cognitive disorder, psychomotor retardation, psychic anxiety, and somatic anxiety) were significantly higher in female than in male patients (p < 0.01). Food avoidance and social reaction scores of female patients were significantly lower than those of male patients (p < 0.05 each). The degree of defecation urgency, frequency of passing mucus and psychomotor retardation were independent factors predicting reduced QOL in IBS-D patients.
Intestinal symptoms and psychological factors jointly reduce the QOL of IBS-D patients, with gender differences in the impact of both factors on QOL.
PMCID: PMC4414422  PMID: 25925746
Irritable bowel syndrome with diarrhea; Quality of life; Psychological factors; Intestinal symptoms; Gender
22.  Expression and activity levels of chymase in mast cells of burn wound tissues increase during the healing process in a hamster model 
The present study aimed to investigate the changes in the expression levels and activity of mast cell chymase in the process of burn wound healing in a hamster model of deep second-degree burn. The hamster model was established by exposing a ~3 cm diameter area of bare skin to hot water (75°C) for 0, 6, 8, 10 or 12 sec. Tissue specimens were collected 24 h after burning and histological analysis revealed that hot water contact for 12 sec was required to produce a deep second-degree burn. Quantitative polymerase chain reaction and a radioimmunoassay were used to the determine changes in chymase mRNA expression levels and activity. The mRNA expression levels and activity of chymase were increased in the burn wound tissues when compared with the normal skin. However, no statistically significant differences were observed in mast cell chymase activity amongst the various post-burn stages. Chymase mRNA expression levels peaked at day 1 post-burn, subsequently decreasing at days 3 and 7 post-burn and finally increasing again at day 14 post-burn. In summary, a hamster model of deep second-degree burn can be created by bringing the skin into contact with water at 75°C for 12 sec. Furthermore, the mRNA expression levels and activity of chymase in the burn wound tissues increased when compared with those in normal skin tissues.
PMCID: PMC4473667  PMID: 26136958
hamster; chymase; burn wound
23.  Targeted disruption of Rab10 causes early embryonic lethality 
Protein & Cell  2015;6(6):463-467.
PMCID: PMC4444807  PMID: 25860786
24.  Targeted disruption of Rab10 causes early embryonic lethality 
Protein & Cell  2015;6(6):463-467.
PMCID: PMC4444807  PMID: 25860786
25.  CNTNAP3 Associated ATG16L1 Expression and Crohn's Disease 
Mediators of Inflammation  2015;2015:404185.
Autophagy is a common physiological process in cell homeostasis and regulation. Autophagy-related gene mutations and autophagy disorders are important in Crohn's disease (CD). The nucleotide oligomerization domain 2–autophagy genes autophagy 16-like 1 (NOD2–ATG16L1) signaling axis disorder contributes to the dysfunction of autophagy. This paper is focused on the relationship between contactin associated protein-like 3 (CNTNAP3) and ATG16L1 expression in Crohn's disease. The results indicated that the expression of ATG16L1 is higher in some CD patients compared to normal controls. ATG16L1 was well correlated with the C-reactive protein (CRP) in some CD patients. In vitro study revealed that CNTNAP3 could upregulate the expression of ATG16L1 and increase autophagy vacuoles.
PMCID: PMC4391322  PMID: 25883416

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