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1.  Comparative Genomics of the Bacterial Genus Streptococcus Illuminates Evolutionary Implications of Species Groups 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(6):e101229.
Members of the genus Streptococcus within the phylum Firmicutes are among the most diverse and significant zoonotic pathogens. This genus has gone through considerable taxonomic revision due to increasing improvements of chemotaxonomic approaches, DNA hybridization and 16S rRNA gene sequencing. It is proposed to place the majority of streptococci into “species groups”. However, the evolutionary implications of species groups are not clear presently. We use comparative genomic approaches to yield a better understanding of the evolution of Streptococcus through genome dynamics, population structure, phylogenies and virulence factor distribution of species groups. Genome dynamics analyses indicate that the pan-genome size increases with the addition of newly sequenced strains, while the core genome size decreases with sequential addition at the genus level and species group level. Population structure analysis reveals two distinct lineages, one including Pyogenic, Bovis, Mutans and Salivarius groups, and the other including Mitis, Anginosus and Unknown groups. Phylogenetic dendrograms show that species within the same species group cluster together, and infer two main clades in accordance with population structure analysis. Distribution of streptococcal virulence factors has no obvious patterns among the species groups; however, the evolution of some common virulence factors is congruous with the evolution of species groups, according to phylogenetic inference. We suggest that the proposed streptococcal species groups are reasonable from the viewpoints of comparative genomics; evolution of the genus is congruent with the individual evolutionary trajectories of different species groups.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0101229
PMCID: PMC4076318  PMID: 24977706
2.  Dynamic assessment of lung injury by ultrasound in a case with H7N9 influenza 
Critical Care  2013;17(3):438.
H7N9 influenza is a new emerging infection and has high mortality. Both chest radiography and computed tomography (CT) had some limitations in assessing such patients. We performed daily lung ultrasound in a patient with H7N9 influenza. Lung ultrasound and lung ultrasound score showed high consistency with CT and the progression of pneumonia. Ultrasound can be adjutant to chest radiography and CT in caring for patients with H7N9 influenza.
doi:10.1186/cc12751
PMCID: PMC3706904  PMID: 23805783
3.  Zinc-Dependent Interaction between JAB1 and Pre-S2 Mutant Large Surface Antigen of Hepatitis B Virus and Its Implications for Viral Hepatocarcinogenesis 
Journal of Virology  2013;87(23):12675-12684.
Chronic hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection is a major cause of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) worldwide. The pre-S2 mutant large HBV surface protein (Δ2 LHBS), which contains an in-frame deletion of approximately 17 amino acids in LHBS, is highly associated with risks and prognoses of HBV-induced HCC. It was previously reported that Δ2 LHBS interacts with the Jun activation domain-binding protein 1 (JAB1), a zinc metalloprotease. This promotes the degradation of the cell cycle regulator p27Kip1 and is believed to be the major mechanism for Δ2 LHBS-induced HCC. In this study, it was found that the interaction between JAB1 and Δ2 LHBS is facilitated by divalent metal Zn2+ ions. The binding of JAB1 to Δ2 LHBS requires the JAB1/CSN5 MPN metalloenzyme (JAMM) motif and residue H138 that binds to Zn2+ ions in JAB1. Isothermal titration calorimetry showed that Δ2 LHBS binds directly to Zn2+ ions in a two-site binding mode. Residues H71 and H116 in Δ2 LHBS, which also contact Zn2+ ions, are also indispensable for Δ2 LHBS-mediated p27Kip1 degradation in human HuH7 cells. These results suggest that developing drugs that interrupt interactions between Δ2 LHBS and JAB1 can be used to mitigate Δ2 LHBS-associated risks for HCC.
doi:10.1128/JVI.01497-13
PMCID: PMC3838136  PMID: 24049181
4.  Remodeling of rat pulmonary artery induced by chronic smoking exposure 
Journal of Thoracic Disease  2014;6(6):818-828.
Objective
To evaluate the dominant role in rat pulmonary artery (PA) remodeling induced by chronic smoking exposure (CSE).
Methods
Thirty-five male Sprague-Dawley (SD) rats were exposed to 36 cigarettes per day, 6 days per week, for 1, 3, or 5 months. Another 35 SD rats were sham-exposed during the same period. Hemodynamic measurement, evaluation of the right ventricular hypertrophy index (RVHI) plus right ventricle-to-weight ratio, and hematoxylin eosin staining was performed. Wall thickness, artery radius, luminal area, and total area were measured morphometrically. Western blotting assessed expression of PPAR-γ BMP4, BMPR2, and TRPC1/4/6 in the artery and lung. Store-operated calcium entry (SOCE) and [Ca2+]i were measured using Fura-2 as dye.
Results
Mean right ventricular pressure increased after 3 months of smoking exposure and continued to increase through 5 months. Right ventricular systolic pressure (RVSP) increased after 3 months of exposure and then stabilized. RVHI increased after 5 months; right ventricle-to-weight ratio was elevated after 3 months and further increased after 5 months. Wall thickness-to-radius ratio does-dependently increased after 3 months through 5 months, in parallel with the decreased luminal area/total area ratio after 5 months. Other changes included the development of inflammatory responses, enlargement of the alveolar spaces, and reductions in the endothelial lining of PAs, proliferative smooth muscle cells, fibroblasts, and adventitia. Moreover, BMP4 and TRPC1/4/6 expression increased to varying degrees in the arteries and lungs of smoking-exposed animals, whereas BMPR expression and SOCE increased only in the arteries, and PPAR-γ was downregulated in both the arteries and lungs.
Conclusions
In SD rats, smoking exposure induces pulmonary vascular remodeling. The consequences of increased SOCE include increase in TRPC1/4/6, probably via augmented BMP4 expression, which also contribute to inflammatory responses in the lung. Moreover, interactions between BMP4 and PPAR-γ may play a role in preventing inflammation under normal physiological conditions.
doi:10.3978/j.issn.2072-1439.2014.03.31
PMCID: PMC4073362  PMID: 24977008
Pulmonary artery hypertension (PAH); smoking; remodeling
5.  Prognostic value of FGFR1 gene copy number in patients with non-small cell lung cancer: a meta-analysis 
Journal of Thoracic Disease  2014;6(6):803-809.
Background
A number of studies have investigated the relationship between fibroblast growth factor receptor1 (FGFR1) gene copy number and survival in non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) patients. However, conclusions reported by different parties seem to be inconsistent, especially regarding the differences among different histopathologic subtypes. To derive a more precise estimate of the prognostic significance of FGFR1 gene copy number, we have reviewed published studies and carried out a meta-analysis.
Methods
The meta-analysis was conducted in accordance with PRISMA guidelines. The required data for estimation of individual hazard ratios (HRs) for survival were extracted from the publications and an overall HR was calculated.
Results
We identified 6 eligible studies, all dealing with NSCLC. The global quality score ranged 32.5-80%, with a median of 53.33%. For FGFR1 amplification in three studies including differed according to histological type, the overall RR was 0.86 which 95% confidence interval (CI) was 0.75 to 0.99 and P value was 0.048. Combined HR for the six evaluable studies was 1.17 (95% CI: 0.95 to 1.43). In the subgroup of squamous cell lung cancer (SQCC), the combined HR was 1.24 (95% CI: 0.89 to 1.73). For the Asian populations’ studies, the combined HR was 1.67 (95% CI: 1.1 to 2.52).
Conclusions
FGFR1 amplification significantly was more frequent in SQCC. FGFR1 was not associated with poorer survival in patients with NSCLC. Furthermore studies will be needed in terms of survival implications.
doi:10.3978/j.issn.2072-1439.2014.05.02
PMCID: PMC4073380  PMID: 24977006
Lung cancer; meta-analysis; fibroblast growth factor receptor1 (FGFR1); prognosis; survival; systemic review
6.  LncRNAs expression signatures of hepatocellular carcinoma revealed by microarray 
AIM: To analyze the expression profiles of long non-coding RNAs (lncRNAs) in hepatocellular carcinoma.
METHODS: Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) tissues and matched adjacent non-tumor (NT) liver tissues were collected from 29 patients with HCC, immediately after liver resection, between March 2011 and July 2013. The diagnosis of HCC was made based on histological examination. Differentially expressed lncRNAs between HCC and NT tissues were revealed through microarray-based lncRNAs expression profiling. Further, quantification of selected lncRNAs was performed using quantitative real-time reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (qRT-PCR).
RESULTS: Six hundred and fifty-nine lncRNAs were differentially expressed between HCC and NT tissues, of which five [TCONS_00018278, AK093543, D16366, ENST00000501583, NR_002819 (MALAT1)] were selected for validation. Four of them were significantly downregulated in HCC tissues compared with NT tissues (P = 0.012, 0.045, 0.000 and 0.000, respectively), and the expression level of MALAT1 showed no significant difference (P = 0.114).
CONCLUSION: This study identified a set of lncRNAs differentially expressed in HCC tissues and provided useful information for exploring potential therapeutic targets and diagnostic biomarkers of this cancer.
doi:10.3748/wjg.v20.i20.6314
PMCID: PMC4033470  PMID: 24876753
Long non-coding RNA; Hepatocellular carcinoma; MALAT1; Expression signature; Microarray
8.  Cholesterol Ester Droplets and Steroidogenesis 
Intracellular lipid droplets (LDs) are dynamic organelles that contain a number of associated proteins including perilipin (Plin) and vimentin. Cholesteryl ester (CE)-rich LDs normally accumulate in steroidogenic cells and their mobilization is the preferred initial source of cholesterol for steroidogenesis. Plin1a, 1b and 5 were found to preferentially associate with triacylglycerol-rich LDs and Plin1c and 4 to associate with CE-rich LDs, but the biological significance of this remains unanswered. Vimentin null mice were found to have decreased ACTH-stimulated corticosterone levels, and decreased progesterone levels in females, but normal hCG-stimulated testosterone levels in males. Smaller LDs were seen in null cells. Lipoprotein cholesterol delivery to adrenals and ovary was normal, as was the expression of steroidogenic genes; however, the movement of cholesterol to mitochondria was reduced in vimentin null mice. These results suggest that vimentin is important in the maintenance of CE-rich LDs and in the movement of cholesterol for steroidogenesis.
doi:10.1016/j.mce.2012.10.012
PMCID: PMC3584206  PMID: 23089211
lipid droplet; cholesterol; steroidogenesis; perilipin; mice; vimentin
9.  Auricular Acupressure Reduces Anxiety Levels and Improves Outcomes of in Vitro Fertilization: A Prospective, Randomized and Controlled Study 
Scientific Reports  2014;4:5028.
The study was to explore whether auricular acupressure (AA) can relieve anxiety during the period from trans-vaginal oocyte retrieval to the embryo transfer in IVF treatment and whether AA can improve the outcomes of IVF. 305 infertile patients with tubal blockage who were referred for IVF were included. The women were randomized into a control group with 102 cases, a Sham-AA group with 102 cases and an AA group with 101 cases. The anxiety levels were rated with Spielberger's State Trait Anxiety Inventory and the Amsterdam Preoperative Anxiety and Information Scale. Data of clinical pregnancy rate (CPR), implantation rate (IR) and live birth rate (LBR) were obtained. The levels of neuropeptide Y (NPY) and transforming growth factor alpha (TGF-alpha) in the follicular fluids were detected with ELISA. After treatment, in AA group, the levels of state anxiety, preoperative anxiety and need-for-information were significantly lower, whereas CPR, IR, LBR and NPY levels in the follicular fluids were markedly higher than Sham-AA group and control group. We concluded that AA could help to reduce anxiety levels associated with IVF and improves the outcomes of IVF partly through increasing the levels of NPY in the follicular fluids.
doi:10.1038/srep05028
PMCID: PMC4030259  PMID: 24848522
12.  Post-Boreotropical dispersals explain the pantropical disjunction in Paederia (Rubiaceae) 
Annals of Botany  2013;111(5):873-886.
Background and Aims
Pantropical intercontinental disjunction is a common biogeographical pattern in flowering plants exhibiting a discontinuous distribution primarily in tropical Asia, Africa and the Americas. Only a few plant groups with this pattern have been investigated at the generic level with molecular phylogenetic and biogeographical methods. Paederia (Rubiaceae) is a pantropical genus of 31 species of woody lianas, with the greatest species diversity in continental Asia and Madagascar and only two species from tropical America. The aim of this study was to reconstruct the biogeographical history of Paederia based on phylogenetic analyses to explore how the genus attained its pantropical distribution.
Methods
Maximum parsimony and Bayesian inference were used for phylogenetic analyses using sequences of five plastid markers (the rbcL gene, rps16 intron, trnT-F region, atpB-rbcL spacer and psbA-trnH spacer). Biogeographical inferences were based on a Bayesian uncorrelated lognormal relaxed molecular clock together with both Bayesian and likelihood ancestral area reconstructions.
Key Results
The data suggest an early diverged Asian lineage sister to the clade of the remaining species consisting of a predominantly Asian sub-clade and a primarily Malagasy sub-clade. Paederia is inferred to have originated in the Oligocene in tropical continental Asia. It then reached Africa in the early to middle Miocene, most probably via long-distance dispersal across the Indian Ocean. The two Neotropical species are inferred to have derived independently in the late Miocene from ancestors of Asia and East Africa, respectively.
Conclusions
The results demonstrate the importance of post-Boreotropical long-distance dispersals (across three major oceans) in shaping the global pantropical disjunction in some plants, such as Paederia, with small, winged diaspores adapted to long-distance dispersal by various agents including wind, ocean currents or birds. Overland migration is less likely to explain its palaeotropical disjunction between Asia and Africa.
doi:10.1093/aob/mct053
PMCID: PMC3631337  PMID: 23478944
Intercontinental disjunction; long-distance dispersal; Paederia; pantropical; post-Boreotropical; Rubiaceae
13.  Modeling and In Vitro Experimental Validation for Kinetics of the Colonoscope in Colonoscopy 
Annals of biomedical engineering  2013;41(5):1084-1093.
Colonoscopy is the most sensitive and specific means for detection of colon cancers and polyps. To make colonoscopy more effective several problems must be overcome including: pain associated with the procedure, the risk of perforation, and incomplete intubation colonoscopy. Technically, these problems are the result of loop formation during colonoscopy. Although, several solutions such as modifying the stiffness of the colonoscope, using an overtube and developing image-guided instruments have been introduced to resolve the looping problem, the results of these systems are not completely satisfactory. A new paradigm to overcome loop formation is proposed that is doctor-assistive colonoscopy. In this approach, the endoscopists performance is enhanced by providing using a kinetic model that provides information such as the shape of the scope, direction of the colon and forces exerted within certain sections. It is expected that with the help of this model, the endoscopist would be able to adjust the manipulation to avoid loop formation. In the present studies, the kinetic model is developed and validated using an ex vivo colonoscopy test-bed with a comprehensive kinematic and kinetic data collection. The model utilizes an established colon model based on animal tissue with position tracking sensors, contact force sensors for the intraluminal portion of the scope and a Colonoscopy Force Monitor for the external insertion tube.
doi:10.1007/s10439-013-0746-1
PMCID: PMC3625492  PMID: 23358801
Colonoscope; Contact force; Frictional force; Kinetics; Porcine colon
14.  Diagnostic and prognostic significance of lysophosphatidic acid in malignant pleural effusions 
Journal of Thoracic Disease  2014;6(5):483-490.
Background
Lysophosphatidic acid (LPA) is an important extracellular signal transmitter and intracellular second messenger in body fluids. It can be detected in the ascitic fluid of patients with ovarian cancer. Increasing evidence shows that LPA can stimulate cancer cell proliferation and promote tumor invasion and metastasis. Our study aimed to evaluate the diagnostic value of LPA in differentiating between malignant pleural effusions (MPEs) and benign pleural effusions (BPEs) and to evaluate the association between the level of LPA in MPE and the prognosis of lung cancer patients.
Patients and methods
The level of LPA in the pleural effusions (PEs) of 123 patients (94 MPE, 29 BPE) with lung cancer was evaluated using an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. The performance of LPA was analyzed by standard Receiver operator characteristic curve (ROC) analysis methods, using the area under the curve (AUC) as a measure of accuracy. Overall survival (OS) curves and progression-free survival (PFS) curves were based on the Kaplan-Meier method, and the survival differences between subgroups were analyzed using the log-rank or Breslow test (SPSS software). A multivariate Cox proportional hazards model was used to assess whether LPA independently predicted lung cancer survival.
Results
The levels of LPA differed significantly between MPE (22.08±8.72 µg/L) and BPE (14.61±5.12 µg/L) (P<0.05). Using a cutoff point of 18.93 µg/L, LPA had a sensitivity of 60% and a specificity of 83% to distinguish MPEs from BPEs with an AUC of 0.769±0.045 (SE) (P=0.000) (95% CI, 0.68-0.857). In the three pathological types of lung cancer patients with MPE, there were no significant associations between LPA levels and the length of PFS and OS (P=0.58 and 0.186, respectively). Interestingly, in the patients with MPE caused by lung adenocarcinoma there were significant associations between the LPA levels and the PFS and OS (P=0.018 and 0.026, respectively). Multivariate analysis showed that the LPA level was an independent prognostic factor for PFS in lung adenocarcinoma.
Conclusions
Our results indicate that LPA can be used as a new biomarker for the diagnosis of MPE caused by lung cancer and that higher levels of LPA are related to shorter PFS in adenocarcinoma of the lung.
doi:10.3978/j.issn.2072-1439.2014.02.14
PMCID: PMC4014993  PMID: 24822107
Lysopohsphatidic acid (LPA); malignant pleural effusions (MPEs); lung cancer; diagnosis; prognosis
15.  Inflammation-related factors predicting prognosis of gastric cancer 
Gastric cancer (GC), which is mainly induced by Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) infection, is one of the leading causes of cancer-related death in the developing world. Active inflammation initiated by H. pylori infection and maintained by inherent immune disorders promotes carcinogenesis and postoperative recurrence. However, the presence with H. pylori in tumors has been linked to a better prognosis, possibly due to the induction of antitumor immunity. Tumor infiltrations of tumor-associated macrophages, myeloid-derived suppressor cells, neutrophils, Foxp3+ regulatory T cells are correlated with poor prognosis. Tumor infiltrating CD8+ cytotoxic T lymphocytes, dendritic cells, and CD45RO T cells are generally associated with good prognosis of GC, although some subsets of these immune cells have inverse prognosis prediction values. High ratios of Foxp3+/CD4+ and Foxp3+/CD8+ in tumors are associated with a poor prognosis; whereas high Th1/Th2 ratio in tumors predicts a good prognosis. High levels of interleukin (IL)-6, IL-10, IL-32, and chemokine C-C motif ligands (CCL)7 and CCL21 in circulation, high expression of CXC chemokine receptor 4, chemokine C-C motif receptor (CCR)3, CCR4, CCR5, CCR7, hypoxia-inducible factor-1α, signal transducer activator of transcription-3, cyclooxygenase-2, and orphan nuclear receptor 4A2 in tumors are associated with an unfavorable prognosis. Increased serum levels of matrix metalloproteinases (MMP)-3, MMP-7, and MMP-11 and increased levels of MMP-9, MMP-12, and MMP-21 in tumors are consistently associated with poor survival of GC. Further emphasis should be put on the integration of these biomarkers and validation in large cohorts for personalized prediction of GC postoperative prognosis.
doi:10.3748/wjg.v20.i16.4586
PMCID: PMC4000495  PMID: 24782611
Gastric cancer; Inflammation; Biomarker; Prognosis
16.  Experimental Study of Local Inner Ear Gene Therapy for Controlling Autoimmune Sensorineural Hearing Loss 
BioMed Research International  2014;2014:134658.
This study aimed to investigate the efficacy of gene therapy for treating autoimmune sensorineural hearing loss (ASHL) via local administration of a recombinant adenovirus vector containing the Fas ligand or interleukin IL-10 gene. Guinea pigs were divided into four groups, with different microinjections in the scala tympani. Group A were injected with FasL-EGFP, B with IL-10-EGFP, C with EGFP, and D with artificial perilymph. Seven days later, auditory brain-stem response (ABR) was tested, and the temporal bone was stained and observed by light microscopy. The spiral ligament and basement membrane were observed using transmission electron microscopy. FasL and IL-10 expression were examined using immunofluorescence histochemistry. Immunohistochemical analysis showed that the recombinant adenovirus vector in Groups A, B, and C can transfect the stria vascularis, the spiral ligament, the organ of Corti, the spiral ganglion, the region surrounding the small blood vessel in the modiolus, and the cochlear bone wall. Compared with those in Groups C and D, the ABR wave III mean thresholds were significantly lower and the inner ear immunoinflammatory responses in Groups A and B were significantly alleviated. Inhibition of immunoinflammatory response alleviated immunoinflammatory injury and auditory dysfunction. This technique shows potential as a novel therapy for ASHL.
doi:10.1155/2014/134658
PMCID: PMC3997895  PMID: 24804196
17.  Vascularised greater trochanter bone graft, combined free iliac flap and impaction bone grafting for osteonecrosis of the femoral head 
International Orthopaedics  2013;37(3):391-398.
Purpose
To investigate the curative efficacy of osteonecrosis of the femoral head (ONFH) in a hip-preserving operative approach, by grafting a vascularized greater trochanter flap combined with a free iliac flap, in an attempt to seek an innovative approach for patients who suffered middle to late stage ONFH without total hip arthroplasty (THA) surgery.
Method
Our research included a total of 60 patients (66 hips) who accepted hip-preserving surgery by grafting a vascularized greater trochanter flap combined with a free iliac flap which was tightly filled by hammering because of ONFH (most were Association Research Circulation Osseous (ARCO) stage III patients) from January, 2006 to December, 2010. A Harris Hip Score was obtained during follow-ups, evaluating the clinical efficacy, X-rays were taken regularly for image assessing, and the SF-36 scale was used for estimating quality of life. Terminal observation time was considered when patients had symptom-dependant indications for performing another hip-preserving surgery or THA surgery.
Results
Fifty-eight patients (64 hips) were eventually contacted by telephone for an out-patient clinic return visit, with a mean follow-up time of 35.8 months (varied from 12 months to 60 months), but two patients lost contact for various reasons. The demographic data were as follows: there were 16 ARCO IIIA cases, 22 ARCO IIIB cases, and 26 ARCO IIIC cases, respectively. Postoperative X-rays revealed a well-repaired necrotic area of the femoral head and improvement of femoral-acetabulum coverage. The last follow-up mean Harris Hip Score was 86.56 ± 7.38 (excellent results reached 87.50 %), which were greatly improved compared to 50.95 ± 6.86 pre-operatively. Also the postoperative mean scores of all dimensions of the SF-36 scale were improved to some extent. Additionally the physical component summary (PSC) scores were enhanced from 42 ± 13 pre-operatively to 78 ± 11, while the postoperative mental component summary (MCS) scores (76 ± 11) largely increased in contrast to pre-operative scores (51 ± 10), with both target indices having statistical significance (p = 0.005, p = 0.01), signifying hugely improvement of the quality of life of the patients. A correlation was found between Harris Hip Score and all dimensions of SF-36 scale (r = 0.32–0.72), especially closely correlated with physical functioning (PF), role-physical (RP) and bodily pain (BP) in PCS aspect (r = 0.72, p < 0.01; r = 0.58, p < 0.01; r = 0.65, p < 0.01, respectively).
Conclusion
There is definite curative efficacy for the treatment of ONFH with an hip-preserving operative approach by grafting a vascularized greater trochanter flap combined with a free iliac flap which was tightly filled by hammering. This kind of operative approach reconstructs the biological stability of femoral head, which promotes repair of necrotic areas and indirectly preserves the femoral head of patients and a majority of hip function. It possesses vast clinical as well as practical significance, because the long-term efficacy can satisfy fundamental life requirements, especially for those young and middle-aged patients who suffer ONFH to avoid or put off the time of total hip arthroplasty(THA) surgery.
doi:10.1007/s00264-012-1773-5
PMCID: PMC3580089  PMID: 23340673
18.  Treatment with a Clinically-Relevant Dose of Methylphenidate Alters NMDA Receptor Composition and Synaptic Plasticity in the Juvenile Rat Prefrontal Cortex 
Methylphenidate (Ritalin, MPH) is the most commonly prescribed psychoactive drug for children. Used to treat attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and for cognitive enhancement in healthy individuals, its cellular mechanisms of action and potential long-term effects are poorly understood. We recently reported that a clinically relevant (1 mg/kg i.p., single injection) dose of MPH significantly decreased neuronal excitability in the juvenile rat prefrontal cortical neurons. Here we further explore the actions of acute treatment with MPH on the level of NMDA receptor subunits and NMDA receptor-mediated short- and long-term synaptic plasticity in the juvenile rat prefrontal cortical neurons. We found that a single dose of MPH treatment (1 mg/kg, intraperitoneal) significantly decreased the surface and total protein levels of NMDA receptor subunits NR1 and NR2B, but not NR2A, in the juvenile prefrontal cortex. In addition, the amplitude, decay time and charge transfer of NMDA receptor-mediated EPSCs were significantly decreased whereas the amplitude and short-term depression of AMPA receptor-mediated EPSCs were significantly increased in the prefrontal neurons. Furthermore, MPH treatment also significantly increased the probability and magnitude of LTP induction, but had only a small effect on LTD induction in juvenile rat prefrontal cortical neurons. Our data thus present a novel mechanism of action of MPH, i.e., changes in glutamatergic receptor-mediated synaptic plasticity following early-life treatment. Furthermore, since a single dosage resulted in significant changes in NMDA receptors, off-label usage by healthy individuals, especially children and adolescents, may result in altered potential for plastic learning.
doi:10.1016/j.nlm.2013.01.004
PMCID: PMC3602399  PMID: 23333502
ADHD; methylphenidate; psychostimulant; excitatory synaptic transmission; synaptic plasticity; juvenile; prefrontal cortex
19.  Effect of NK4 Transduction in Bone Marrow-Derived Mesenchymal Stem Cells on Biological Characteristics of Pancreatic Cancer Cells 
Pancreatic cancer usually has a poor prognosis, and no gene therapy has yet been developed that is effective to treat it. Since a unique characteristic of bone marrow-derived mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) is that they migrate to tumor tissues, we wanted to determine whether MSCs could serve as a vehicle of gene therapy for targeting pancreatic cancer. First, we successfully extracted MSCs from SD rats. Next, MSCs were efficiently transduced with NK4, an antagonist of hepatocyte growth factor (HGF) which comprising the N-terminal and the subsequent four kringle domains of HGF, by an adenoviral vector. Then, we confirmed that rat MSCs preferentially migrate to pancreatic cancer cells. Last, MSCs expressing NK4 (NK4-MSCs) strongly inhibited proliferation and migration of the pancreatic cancer cell line SW1990 after co-culture. These results indicate that MSCs can serve as a vehicle of gene therapy for targeting pancreatic cancer.
doi:10.3390/ijms15033729
PMCID: PMC3975364  PMID: 24595237
NK4; pancreatic cancer; bone marrow-derived mesenchymal stem cells; transduction
20.  Comparative Proteomic Analysis of Differential Responses of Pinus massoniana and Taxus wallichiana var. mairei to Simulated Acid Rain 
Acid rain (AR), a serious environmental issue, severely affects plant growth and development. As the gymnosperms of conifer woody plants, Pinus massoniana (AR-sensitive) and Taxus wallichiana var. mairei (AR-resistant) are widely distributed in southern China. Under AR stress, significant necrosis and collapsed lesions were found in P. massoniana needles with remarkable yellowing and wilting tips, whereas T. wallichiana var. mairei did not exhibit chlorosis and visible damage. Due to the activation of a large number of stress-related genes and the synthesis of various functional proteins to counteract AR stress, it is important to study the differences in AR-tolerance mechanisms by comparative proteomic analysis of tolerant and sensitive species. This study revealed a total of 65 and 26 differentially expressed proteins that were identified in P. massoniana and T. wallichiana var. mairei, respectively. Among them, proteins involved in metabolism, photosynthesis, signal transduction and transcription were drastically down-regulated in P. massoniana, whereas most of the proteins participating in metabolism, cell structure, photosynthesis and transcription were increased in T. wallichiana var. mairei. These results suggest the distinct patterns of protein expression in the two woody species in response to AR, allowing a deeper understanding of diversity on AR tolerance in forest tree species.
doi:10.3390/ijms15034333
PMCID: PMC3975401  PMID: 24625662
acid rain tolerance; proteomic; Pinus massoniana; stress response; Taxus wallichiana var. mairei; woody plant
21.  5-Aza-2′'-deoxycytidine inhibits retinoblastoma cell by reactivating epigenetically silenced RASSF1A gene 
AIM
To investigate the effect of 5-Aza-2′-deoxycytidine (5-Aza-CdR), a DNA methyltransferase (DNMT) inhibitor, on the growth and survival of the Chinese retinoblastoma (RB) cell line HXO-RB44.
METHODS
The DNA methylation status of the Ras association domain family (RASSF1A) promoter in the presence of 5-Aza-CdR at different concentrations was analyzed by methylation-specific polymerase chain reaction (MSP). RASSF1A mRNA and protein levels were measured by semiquantitative RT-PCR and immunohistochemistry staining, respectively, when cells were treated with 5.0µmol/L of 5-Aza-CdR. The effect of 5.0µmol/L 5-Aza-CdR on the proliferation and viability of HXO-RB44 cells was examined using 3-(4,5-dimethylthiazol-2-yl)-2,5-diphenyltetrazolium bromide (MTT) assay and flow cytometry.
RESULTS
5-Aza-CdR efficiently induced cell cycle arrest at G0/G1 and apoptotic death in HXO-RB44 cells. MSP analysis showed that unmethylated RASSF1A DNA increased and methylated RASSF1A decreased in a dose-dependent manner in a range of 0.5-5.0µmol/L 5-Aza-CdR. Accordingly, RASSF1A expression was reactivated at both mRNA and protein levels. Incubation time of 5-Aza-CdR treatment also functioned as a factor for the demethylation status of RASSF1A promoter DNA, with a plateau on day four. 5-Aza-CdR at 5.0µmol/L completely demethylated the RASSF1A promoter in HXO-RB44 cells on day four, and as a result, RASSF1A expression increased significantly from day 4 to day 7.
CONCLUSION
5-Aza-CdR inhibits the growth of the HXO-RB44 RB cell line and induces apoptosis by demethylating the RASSF1A gene.
doi:10.3980/j.issn.2222-3959.2014.01.09
PMCID: PMC3949458  PMID: 24634863
5-Aza-2′-deoxycytidine; retinoblastoma; methylation; apoptosis; Ras association domain family
22.  Advances in serous tubal intraepithelial carcinoma: correlation with high grade serous carcinoma and ovarian carcinogenesis 
Early serous carcinoma in fallopian tube or serous tubal intraepithelial carcinoma (STIC), an early lesion limited to the epithelium of the fallopian tube and firstly identified from specimen obtained by prophylactic salpingo-oophorectomy, has provided insight into pelvic high grade serous carcinoma (HGSC). Increasing evidence indicates that STIC is a likely precursor for HGSC and several studies have focused on this lesion and its clinical significance. This review addresses recent advances in recognizing STIC and its correlation with HGSC and ovarian carcinogenesis. It also describes evidence regarding the fallopian tube as a source of some HGSCs, the protocol for optimizing histological evaluation of the tubes, the spectrum of tubal lesions from benign to noninvasive carcinoma, changes in diagnostic criteria from purely morphologic characteristics to a combination of morphologic features and molecular biomarkers, and new studies about potential biomarkers. However, the direct evidence regarding STIC as the precursor of HGSC is still tantalizing due to other possibilities that may also explain the origin of pelvic HGSC. Further molecular genetic studies are required to address this important question.
PMCID: PMC3971287  PMID: 24696706
Serous tubal intraepithelial carcinoma; fallopian tube; high grade serous carcinoma; ovarian cancer; carcinogenesis
23.  Evolutionary diversifications of plants on the Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau 
The Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau (QTP) is the highest and one of the most extensive plateaus in the world. Phylogenetic, phylogeographic, and ecological studies support plant diversifications on the QTP through multiple mechanisms such as allopatric speciation via geographic isolation, climatic oscillations and divergences, pollinator-mediated isolation, diploid hybridization and introgression, and allopolyploidy. These mechanisms have driven spectacular radiations and/or species diversifications in various groups of plants such as Pedicularis L., Saussurea DC., Rhododendron L., Primula L., Meconopsis Vig., Rhodiola L., and many lineages of gymnosperms. Nevertheless, much work is needed toward understanding the evolutionary mechanisms of plant diversifications on the QTP. Well-sampled biogeographic analyses of the QTP plants in the broad framework of the Northern Hemisphere as well as the Southern Hemisphere are still relatively few and should be encouraged in the next decade. This paper reviews recent evidence from phylogenetic and biogeographic studies in plants, in the context of rapid radiations, mechanisms of species diversifications on the QTP, and the biogeographic significance of the QTP in the broader context of both the Northern and Southern Hemisphere biogeography. Integrative multidimensional analyses of phylogeny, morphological innovations, geography, ecology, development, species interactions and diversifications, and geology are needed and should shed insights into the patterns of evolutionary assembly and radiations in this fascinating region.
doi:10.3389/fgene.2014.00004
PMCID: PMC3921583  PMID: 24575120
evolutionary radiations; Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau; QTP; biogeography; allopatric speciation; vicariance
24.  Some New Traveling Wave Exact Solutions of the (2+1)-Dimensional Boiti-Leon-Pempinelli Equations 
The Scientific World Journal  2014;2014:743254.
We employ the complex method to obtain all meromorphic exact solutions of complex (2+1)-dimensional Boiti-Leon-Pempinelli equations (BLP system of equations). The idea introduced in this paper can be applied to other nonlinear evolution equations. Our results show that all rational and simply periodic traveling wave exact solutions of the equations (BLP) are solitary wave solutions, the complex method is simpler than other methods, and there exist some rational solutions ur,2(z) and simply periodic solutions us,2–6(z) which are not only new but also not degenerated successively by the elliptic function solutions. We believe that this method should play an important role for finding exact solutions in the mathematical physics. For these new traveling wave solutions, we give some computer simulations to illustrate our main results.
doi:10.1155/2014/743254
PMCID: PMC3942405  PMID: 24678276
25.  A Contig-Based Strategy for the Genome-Wide Discovery of MicroRNAs without Complete Genome Resources 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(2):e88179.
MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are important regulators of many cellular processes and exist in a wide range of eukaryotes. High-throughput sequencing is a mainstream method of miRNA identification through which it is possible to obtain the complete small RNA profile of an organism. Currently, most approaches to miRNA identification rely on a reference genome for the prediction of hairpin structures. However, many species of economic and phylogenetic importance are non-model organisms without complete genome sequences, and this limits miRNA discovery. Here, to overcome this limitation, we have developed a contig-based miRNA identification strategy. We applied this method to a triploid species of edible banana (GCTCV-119, Musa spp. AAA group) and identified 180 pre-miRNAs and 314 mature miRNAs, which is three times more than those were predicted by the available dataset-based methods (represented by EST+GSS). Based on the recently published miRNA data set of Musa acuminate, the recall rate and precision of our strategy are estimated to be 70.6% and 92.2%, respectively, significantly better than those of EST+GSS-based strategy (10.2% and 50.0%, respectively). Our novel, efficient and cost-effective strategy facilitates the study of the functional and evolutionary role of miRNAs, as well as miRNA-based molecular breeding, in non-model species of economic or evolutionary interest.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0088179
PMCID: PMC3917882  PMID: 24516608

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