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1.  HBx mutants differentially affect the activation of hypoxia-inducible factor-1α in hepatocellular carcinoma 
British Journal of Cancer  2013;110(4):1066-1073.
Background:
Mutations in HBx gene are frequently found in HBV-associated hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). Activation of hypoxia-inducible factor-1α (HIF-1α) contributes to HCC development and progression. Wild-type HBx has been demonstrated to activate HIF-1α, but the effect of HBx mutations on HIF-1α has not been elucidated.
Methods:
HBx mutations were identified by gene sequencing in 101 HCC tissues. Representative HBx mutants were cloned and transfected into HCC cells. Expression and activation of HIF-1α were analysed by western blot and luciferase assays, respectively. The relationship between HBx mutants and HIF-1α expression in HCC tissues was also evaluated.
Results:
The dual mutations K130M/V131I enhanced the functionality of HBx as they upregulated the expression and transcriptional activity of HIF-1α. The C-terminal truncations and deletion mutations, however, weakened the ability of HBx to upregulate HIF-1α. Meanwhile, the C-terminus was further found to be essential for the stability and transactivation of HBx. In the HCC tissues, there was a positive association between the HBx mutants and HIF-1α expression.
Conclusion:
Different mutations of HBx exert differentiated effects on the functionality of HIF-1α, however, the overall activity of HBx mutants appears to increase the expression and transcriptional activity of HIF-1α.
doi:10.1038/bjc.2013.787
PMCID: PMC3929872  PMID: 24346287
HBx; HIF-1α; mutation; hepatocellular carcinoma
2.  Simulation of fruit-set and trophic competition and optimization of yield advantages in six Capsicum cultivars using functional–structural plant modelling 
Annals of Botany  2010;107(5):793-803.
Background and aims
Many indeterminate plants can have wide fluctuations in the pattern of fruit-set and harvest. Fruit-set in these types of plants depends largely on the balance between source (assimilate supply) and sink strength (assimilate demand) within the plant. This study aims to evaluate the ability of functional–structural plant models to simulate different fruit-set patterns among Capsicum cultivars through source–sink relationships.
Methods
A greenhouse experiment of six Capsicum cultivars characterized with different fruit weight and fruit-set was conducted. Fruit-set patterns and potential fruit sink strength were determined through measurement. Source and sink strength of other organs were determined via the GREENLAB model, with a description of plant organ weight and dimensions according to plant topological structure established from the measured data as inputs. Parameter optimization was determined using a generalized least squares method for the entire growth cycle.
Key Results and Conclusions
Fruit sink strength differed among cultivars. Vegetative sink strength was generally lower for large-fruited cultivars than for small-fruited ones. The larger the size of the fruit, the larger variation there was in fruit-set and fruit yield. Large-fruited cultivars need a higher source–sink ratio for fruit-set, which means higher demand for assimilates. Temporal heterogeneity of fruit-set affected both number and yield of fruit. The simulation study showed that reducing heterogeneity of fruit-set was obtained by different approaches: for example, increasing source strength; decreasing vegetative sink strength, source–sink ratio for fruit-set and flower appearance rate; and harvesting individual fruits earlier before full ripeness. Simulation results showed that, when we increased source strength or decreased vegetative sink strength, fruit-set and fruit weight increased. However, no significant differences were found between large-fruited and small-fruited groups of cultivars regarding the effects of source and vegetative sink strength on fruit-set and fruit weight. When the source–sink ratio at fruit-set decreased, the number of fruit retained on the plant increased competition for assimilates with vegetative organs. Therefore, total plant and vegetative dry weights decreased, especially for large-fruited cultivars. Optimization study showed that temporal heterogeneity of fruit-set and ripening was predicted to be reduced when fruits were harvested earlier. Furthermore, there was a 20 % increase in the number of extra fruit set.
doi:10.1093/aob/mcq223
PMCID: PMC3077981  PMID: 21097946
Source–sink relationship; fruit-set pattern; functional–structural models; Capsicum annuum

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