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2.  CAG repeat lengths ≥335 attenuate the phenotype in the R6/2 Huntington’s disease transgenic mouse 
Neurobiology of disease  2008;33(3):315-330.
With spontaneous elongation of the CAG repeat in the R6/2 transgene to ≥335, resulting in a transgene protein too large for passive entry into nuclei via the nuclear pore, we observed an abrupt increase in lifespan to >20 weeks, compared to the 12 weeks common in R6/2 mice with 150 repeats. In the ≥335 CAG mice, large ubiquitinated aggregates of mutant protein were common in neuronal dendrites and perikaryal cytoplasm, but intranuclear aggregates were small and infrequent. Message and protein for the ≥335 CAG transgene were reduced to one-third that in 150 CAG R6/2 mice. Neurological and neurochemical abnormalities were delayed in onset and less severe than in 150 CAG R6/2 mice. These findings suggest that polyQ length and pathogenicity in Huntington’s disease may not be linearly related, and pathogenicity may be less severe with extreme repeats. Both diminished mutant protein and reduced nuclear entry may contribute to phenotype attenuation.
PMCID: PMC4461140  PMID: 19027857
CAG repeats; Huntington’s disease; Aggregation; Nuclear entry; Pathogenesis; Striatum; R6/2 mouse
3.  The tumor susceptibility gene TMEM127  is mutated in renal cell carcinomas and modulates endolysosomal function 
Human Molecular Genetics  2013;23(9):2428-2439.
TMEM127 is an endosome-associated tumor suppressor gene in pheochromocytomas, neuroendocrine tumors that can co-occur with renal cell carcinomas (RCCs). TMEM127 loss leads to increased mTOR signaling. However, the spectrum of tumors with TMEM127 mutation and how TMEM127 and mTOR interact in tumorigenesis remains unknown. Here, we report that germline TMEM127 mutations occur in RCCs and that some mutant proteins, unlike wild-type (WT) TMEM127, fail to cooperate with activated early endosomal GTPase, Rab5, to inhibit mTOR signaling. Tmem127-null mouse embryonic fibroblasts (MEFs) are deficient in generating early-to-late hybrid endosomes upon constitutive Rab5 activation, a defect rescued by WT, but not mutant, TMEM127. This endosomal dysfunction results in diminished mTOR colocalization with Rab5-positive vesicles. Conversely, active, lysosomal-bound mTOR is increased in Tmem127-null MEFs, which also display enhanced lysosomal biogenesis. Our data map the tumor-suppressive properties of TMEM127 to modulation of mTOR function in the endolysosome, a feature that may contribute to both pheochromocytoma and RCC pathogenesis.
PMCID: PMC3976335  PMID: 24334765
4.  MiR-216b is involved in pathogenesis and progression of hepatocellular carcinoma through HBx-miR-216b-IGF2BP2 signaling pathway 
Cell Death & Disease  2015;6(3):e1670-.
This study aims to investigate the expression status of miRNA-216b in familial hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) and the correlation between miRNA-216b expression and pathogenesis, as well as the progression of HCC. The expression profile of miRNAs in plasma of peripheral blood between HCC patients with HCC family history and healthy volunteers without HCC family history was determined by microarray. Using real-time quantitative PCR to detect the expression in paired tissues from 150 patients with HCC, miR-216b was selected as its expression value in HCC patients was significantly lower compared with healthy volunteers. Next, miR-216b expression and the clinicopathological features of HCC were evaluated. The effect of miR-216b expression on tumor cells was investigated by regulating miR-216b expression in SMMC-7721 and HepG2 in vitro and in vivo. Finally, we explored mRNA targets of miR-216b. In 150 HCC, 37 (75%) tumors showed reduced miR-216b expression comparing with their adjacent liver tissues. The decreased expression of miR-216b was significantly correlated with tumor volume (P=0.044), HBV infection (P=0.026), HBV DNA quantitative (P=0.001) and vascular invasion (P=0.032). The 5-year disease-free survival and overall rates after liver resection in low expression and high expression groups of miR-216b are 62% and 54%, 25% and 20%, respectively. MiR-216b overexpression inhibited cell proliferation, migration and invasion, and miR-216b inhibition did the opposite. The expression of hepatitis B virus x protein (HBx) has tight correlation with downregulation of miR-216b. Furthermore, miR-216b downregulated the expression of insulin-like growth factor 2 mRNA-binding protein 2 (IGF2BP2) and exerted its tumor-suppressor function through inhibition of protein kinase B and extracellular signal-regulated kinase signaling downstream of IGF2. MiR-216b inhibits cell proliferation, migration and invasion of HCC by regulating IGF2BP2 and it is regulated by HBx.
PMCID: PMC4385924  PMID: 25741595
5.  ALDH1 is an independent prognostic factor for patients with stages II–III rectal cancer after receiving radiochemotherapy 
Deng, Y | Zhou, J | Fang, L | Cai, Y | Ke, J | Xie, X | Huang, Y | Huang, M | Wang, J
British Journal of Cancer  2013;110(2):430-434.
About one in five patients with locally advanced rectal cancer (RC) suffers recurrence or distant metastasis after neoadjuvant therapy. We investigated how cancer stem cell markers change after neoadjuvant therapy and how these markers relate to recurrence.
Pretreatment biopsies and postoperative specimens were taken from 64 patients with locally advanced rectal adenocarcinoma who received preoperative radiochemotherapy (RCT) between sampling. Samples were tested immunohistochemically for CD44, LGR5, ALDH1 and CD166; scores were dichotomised as high or low. The median follow-up period was 36 months.
High expression of CD44, LGR5, ALDH and CD166 was found in 38%, 5%, 48% and 10%, respectively, before RCT and 86%, 33%, 71% and 52%, respectively, after RCT. CD44 (P=0.001), LGR5 (P=0.049) and CD166 (P=0.003) were significantly upregulated after RCT. Whereas no recurrence was seen during the follow-up in the low ALDH group, 40% of the high ALDH group suffered recurrence. In multivariate COX analysis, postoperative ALDH1 independently predicted poor prognosis in patients with RC who received RCT (P=0.0095).
Preoperative RCT upregulates expression of stem cell markers in patients with RC. High post-treatment ALDH1 expression predicts poor prognosis for these patients after neoadjuvant therapy.
PMCID: PMC3899780  PMID: 24327017
rectal cancer; cancer stem cell; neoadjuvant; ALDH1
6.  Loss of Corticostriatal and Thalamostriatal Synaptic Terminals Precedes Striatal Projection Neuron Pathology in Heterozygous Q140 Huntington’s Disease Mice 
Neurobiology of disease  2013;60:10.1016/j.nbd.2013.08.009.
Motor slowing, forebrain white matter loss, and striatal shrinkage have been reported in premanifest Huntington’s disease (HD) prior to overt striatal neuron loss. We carried out detailed LM and EM studies in a genetically precise HD mimic, heterozygous Q140 HD knock-in mice, to examine the possibility that loss of corticostriatal and thalamostriatal terminals prior to striatal neuron loss underlies these premanifest HD abnormalities. In our studies, we used VGLUT1 and VGLUT2 immunolabeling to detect corticostriatal and thalamostriatal (respectively) terminals in dorsolateral (motor) striatum over the first year of life, prior to striatal projection neuron pathology. VGLUT1+ axospinous corticostriatal terminals represented about 55% of all excitatory terminals in striatum, and VGLUT2+ axospinous thalamostriatal terminals represented about 35%, with VGLUT1+ and VGLUT2+ axodendritic terminals accounting for the remainder. In Q140 mice, a significant 40% shortfall in VGLUT2+ axodendritic thalamostriatal terminals and a 20% shortfall in axospinous thalamostriatal terminals was already observed at 1 month of age, but VGLUT1+ terminals were normal in abundance. The 20% deficiency in VGLUT2+ thalamostriatal axospinous terminals persisted at 4 and 12 months in Q140 mice, and an additional 30% loss of VGLUT1+ corticostriatal terminals was observed at 12 months. The early and persistent deficiency in thalamostriatal axospinous terminals in Q140 mice may reflect a development defect, and the impoverishment of this excitatory drive to striatum may help explain early motor defects in Q140 mice and in premanifest HD. The loss of corticostriatal terminals at 1 year in Q140 mice is consistent with prior evidence from other mouse models of corticostriatal disconnection early during progression, and can explain both the measurable bradykinesia and striatal white matter loss in late premanifest HD.
PMCID: PMC3808190  PMID: 23969239
Huntington’s Disease; Corticostriatal; Thalamostriatal; Premanifest; Pathology
7.  Proteome-wide Analysis and CXCL4 as a Biomarker in Systemic Sclerosis 
The New England journal of medicine  2013;370(5):433-443.
Plasmacytoid dendritic cells have been implicated in the pathogenesis of systemic sclerosis through mechanisms beyond the previously suggested production of type I interferon.
We isolated plasmacytoid dendritic cells from healthy persons and from patients with systemic sclerosis who had distinct clinical phenotypes. We then performed proteome-wide analysis and validated these observations in five large cohorts of patients with systemic sclerosis. Next, we compared the results with those in patients with systemic lupus erythematosus, ankylosing spondylitis, and hepatic fibrosis. We correlated plasma levels of CXCL4 protein with features of systemic sclerosis and studied the direct effects of CXCL4 in vitro and in vivo.
Proteome-wide analysis and validation showed that CXCL4 is the predominant protein secreted by plasmacytoid dendritic cells in systemic sclerosis, both in circulation and in skin. The mean (±SD) level of CXCL4 in patients with systemic sclerosis was 25,624±2652 pg per milliliter, which was significantly higher than the level in controls (92.5±77.9 pg per milliliter) and than the level in patients with systemic lupus erythematosus (1346±1011 pg per milliliter), ankylosing spondylitis (1368±1162 pg per milliliter), or liver fibrosis (1668±1263 pg per milliliter). CXCL4 levels correlated with skin and lung fibrosis and with pulmonary arterial hypertension. Among chemokines, only CXCL4 predicted the risk and progression of systemic sclerosis. In vitro, CXCL4 downregulated expression of transcription factor FLI1, induced markers of endothelial-cell activation, and potentiated responses of toll-like receptors. In vivo, CXCL4 induced the influx of inflammatory cells and skin transcriptome changes, as in systemic sclerosis.
Levels of CXCL4 were elevated in patients with systemic sclerosis and correlated with the presence and progression of complications, such as lung fibrosis and pulmonary arterial hypertension. (Funded by the Dutch Arthritis Association and others.)
PMCID: PMC4040466  PMID: 24350901
8.  Blocking p55PIK signaling inhibits proliferation and induces differentiation of leukemia cells 
Wang, G | Deng, Y | Cao, X | Lai, S | Tong, Y | Luo, X | Feng, Y | Xia, X | Gong, J | Hu, J
Cell Death and Differentiation  2012;19(11):1870-1879.
p55PIK, a regulatory subunit of phosphatidylinositol 3-kinases, promotes cell cycle progression by interacting with cell cycle modulators such as retinoblastoma protein (Rb) via its unique amino-terminal 24 amino-acid residue (N24). Overexpression of N24 specifically inhibits these interactions and leads to cell cycle arrest. Herein, we describe the generation of a fusion protein (Tat transactivator protein (TAT)–N24) that contains the protein transduction domain and N24, and examined its effects on the proliferation and differentiation of leukemia cells. TAT–N24 not only blocks cell proliferation but remarkably induces differentiation of leukemia cells in vitro and in vivo. Systemically administered TAT–N24 also significantly decreases growth of leukemia cell tumors in animal models. Furthermore, overexpression of p55PIK in leukemia cells leads to increased proliferation; however, TAT–N24 blocks this effect and concomitantly induces differentiation. There is significant upregulation of p55PIK mRNA and protein expression in leukemia cells from patients. TAT–N24 inhibits cell cycle progression and induces differentiation of bone marrow cells derived from patients with several different types of leukemia. These results show that cell-permeable N24 peptide induces leukemia cell differentiation and suggest that p55PIK may be a novel drug target for the treatment of hematopoetic malignancies.
PMCID: PMC3469064  PMID: 22722333
PI3K; p55PIK; leukemia
9.  Transcriptome analysis of glioma cells for the dynamic response to γ-irradiation and dual regulation of apoptosis genes: a new insight into radiotherapy for glioblastomas 
Cell Death & Disease  2013;4(10):e895-.
Ionizing radiation (IR) is of clinical importance for glioblastoma therapy; however, the recurrence of glioma characterized by radiation resistance remains a therapeutic challenge. Research on irradiation-induced transcription in glioblastomas can contribute to the understanding of radioresistance mechanisms. In this study, by using the total mRNA sequencing (RNA-seq) analysis, we assayed the global gene expression in a human glioma cell line U251 MG at various time points after exposure to a growth arrest dose of γ-rays. We identified 1656 genes with obvious changes at the transcriptional level in response to irradiation, and these genes were dynamically enriched in various biological processes or pathways, including cell cycle arrest, DNA replication, DNA repair and apoptosis. Interestingly, the results showed that cell death was not induced even many proapoptotic molecules, including death receptor 5 (DR5) and caspases were activated after radiation. The RNA-seq data analysis further revealed that both proapoptosis and antiapoptosis genes were affected by irradiation. Namely, most proapoptosis genes were early continually responsive, whereas antiapoptosis genes were responsive at later stages. Moreover, HMGB1, HMGB2 and TOP2A involved in the positive regulation of DNA fragmentation during apoptosis showed early continual downregulation due to irradiation. Furthermore, targeting of the TRAIL/DR5 pathway after irradiation led to significant apoptotic cell death, accompanied by the recovered gene expression of HMGB1, HMGB2 and TOP2A. Taken together, these results revealed that inactivation of proapoptotic signaling molecules in the nucleus and late activation of antiapoptotic genes may contribute to the radioresistance of gliomas. Overall, this study provided novel insights into not only the underlying mechanisms of radioresistance in glioblastomas but also the screening of multiple targets for radiotherapy.
PMCID: PMC3920930  PMID: 24176853
Transcriptome; γ-irradiation; apoptosis; dynamic response; glioblastoma; radioresistance
10.  BDNF May Play a Differential Role in the Protective Effect of the mGluR2/3 Agonist LY379268 on Striatal Projection Neurons in R6/2 Huntington's Disease Mice 
Brain research  2012;1473:161-172.
We have found that daily subcutaneous injection with a maximum tolerated dose (MTD) of the mGluR2/3 agonist LY379268 (20mg/kg) beginning at 4 weeks dramatically improves the phenotype in R6/2 mice. For example, we observed normalization of motor function in distance traveled, speed, the infrequency of pauses, and the ability to locomote in a straight line, and a rescue of a 15–20% striatal neuron loss at 10 weeks. As acute LY379268 treatment is known to increase cortical BDNF production, and BDNF is known to be beneficial for striatal neurons, we investigated if the benefit of daily LY379268 in R6/2 mice for striatal projection neurons was associated with increases in corticostriatal BDNF, with assessments done at 10 weeks of age after daily MTD treatment since the fourth week of life. We found that LY379268 increased BDNF expression in layer 5 neurons in motor cortex, which project to striatum, partly rescued a preferential loss of enkephalinergic striatal neurons, and enhanced substance P (SP) expression by SP striatal projection neurons. The enhanced survival of enkephalinergic striatal neurons was correlated with the cortical BDNF increase, but the enhanced SP expression by SP striatal neurons was not. Thus, LY379268 may protect the two main striatal projection neuron types by different mechanisms, enkephalinergic neurons by the trophic benefit of BDNF, and SP neurons by a mechanism not involving BDNF. The SP neuron benefit may perhaps instead involve the anti-excitotoxic action of mGluR2/3 receptor agonists.
PMCID: PMC3428435  PMID: 22820300
Huntington's Disease; Therapy; mGluR2/3; Striatum; BDNF
11.  The Group 2 Metabotropic Glutamate Receptor Agonist LY379268 Rescues Neuronal, Neurochemical and Motor Abnormalities in R6/2 Huntington’s Disease Mice 
Neurobiology of Disease  2012;47(1):75-91.
Excitotoxic injury to striatum by dysfunctional cortical input or aberrant glutamate uptake may contribute to Huntington’s Disease (HD) pathogenesis. Since corticostriatal terminals possess mGluR2/3 autoreceptors, whose activation dampens glutamate release, we tested the ability of the mGluR2/3 agonist LY379268 to improve the phenotype in R6/2 HD mice with 120–125 CAG repeats. Daily subcutaneous injection of a maximum tolerated dose (MTD) of LY379268 (20mg/kg) had no evident adverse effects in WT mice, and diverse benefits in R6/2 mice, both in a cohort of mice tested behaviorally until the end of R6/2 lifespan and in a cohort sacrificed at 10 weeks of age for blinded histological analysis. MTD LY379268 yielded a significant 11% increase in R6/2 survival, an improvement on rotarod, normalization and/or improvement in locomotor parameters measured in open field (activity, speed, acceleration, endurance, and gait), a rescue of a 15–20% cortical and striatal neuron loss, normalization of SP striatal neuron neurochemistry, and to a lesser extent enkephalinergic striatal neuron neurochemistry. Deficits were greater in male than female R6/2 mice, and drug benefit tended to be greater in males. The improvements in SP striatal neurons, which facilitate movement, are consistent with the improved movement in LY379268-treated R6/2 mice. Our data indicate that mGluR2/3 agonists may be particularly useful for ameliorating the morphological, neurochemical and motor defects observed in HD.
PMCID: PMC3376646  PMID: 22472187
Huntington’s Disease; Therapy; mGluR2/3; Striatum; Akinesia
12.  Characterization and Safety of Uniform Particle Size NovaSil Clay as a Potential Aflatoxin Enterosorbent 
Applied clay science  2011;54(3-4):248-257.
NovaSil (NS) clay, a common anti-caking agent in animal feeds, has been shown to adsorb aflatoxins and diminish their bioavailability in multiple animal models. The safety of long-term dietary exposure to NS has also been demonstrated in a 6-month sub-chronic study in rats and in a 3-month intervention in humans highly exposed to aflatoxins. Uniform particle size NovaSil (UPSN) is a refined material derived from parent NS; it contains lower levels of dioxins/furans, and has been selected for a more consistent uniform particle size. Nevertheless, the efficacy and potential safety/toxicity of UPSN for long term-use has not yet been determined. In this research, 4-week-old male and female Sprague Dawley rats were fed rations free of clay (control) and containing UPSN at low dose (0.25%) and high dose (2%) for 13 weeks. AFB1 sorption characteristics remained the same for both clays. When compared to the control, total body weight gain was unaffected in either sex at the doses tested. No UPSN-dependent differences in relative organ weights or gross appearance were observed. Isolated differences between UPSN groups and the control were observed for some biochemical parameters and selected vitamins and minerals. None of these differences were dose-dependent, and all parameters fell between ranges reported as normal for rats less than 6 month old. The Na/K ratio, Na and vitamin E concentrations were the only parameters that were increased in both males and females in the low dose and high dose UPSN groups. Serum Zn levels in males from the 2% UPSN treatment were lower compared to the control. Serum K levels were lower in the males of UPSN groups than in the control. However, neither Na/K ratio, K, nor Zn values were dose dependent and fell outside ranges reported as normal. These results suggest that dietary inclusion of UPSN at levels as high as 2% (w/w) does not result in overt toxicity. Nevertheless, further research on the effects of clays on Na, Zn, K and vitamin E is warranted.
PMCID: PMC3253772  PMID: 22249378
Aflatoxin; calcium bentonite; montmorillonite; in vivo; safety; clay
13.  The anxiolytic effect of Bifidobacterium longum NCC3001 involves vagal pathways for gut–brain communication 
The probiotic Bifidobacterium longum NCC3001 normalizes anxiety-like behavior and hippocampal brain derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) in mice with infectious colitis. Using a model of chemical colitis we test whether the anxiolytic effect of B. longum involves vagal integrity, and changes in neural cell function.
Mice received dextran sodium sulfate (DSS, 3%) in drinking water during three 1-week cycles. Bifidobacterium longum or placebo were gavaged daily during the last cycle. Some mice underwent subdiaphragmatic vagotomy. Behavior was assessed by step-down test, inflammation by myeloperoxidase (MPO) activity and histology. BDNF mRNA was measured in neuroblastoma SH-SY5Y cells after incubation with sera from B. longum- or placebo-treated mice. The effect of B. longum on myenteric neuron excitability was measured using intracellular microelectrodes.
Key Results
Chronic colitis was associated with anxiety-like behavior, which was absent in previously vagotomized mice. B. longum normalized behavior but had no effect on MPOactivity or histological scores. Its anxiolytic effect was absent in mice with established anxiety that were vagotomized before the third DSS cycle. B. longum metabolites did not affect BDNF mRNA expression in SH-SY5Y cells but decreased excitability of enteric neurons.
Conclusions & Inferences
In this colitis model, anxiety-like behavior is vagally mediated. The anxiolytic effect of B. longum requires vagal integrity but does not involve gut immuno-modulation or production of BDNF by neuronal cells. As B. longum decreases excitability of enteric neurons, it may signal to the central nervous system by activating vagal pathways at the level of the enteric nervous system.
PMCID: PMC3413724  PMID: 21988661 CAMSID: cams2280
behavior; brain-derived neurotrophic factor; gut–brain axis; probiotics; vagus
14.  Pharmacological reduction of NEFA restores the efficacy of incretin-based therapies through GLP-1 receptor signalling in the beta cell in mouse models of diabetes 
Diabetologia  2012;56(2):423-433.
Type 2 diabetes mellitus is associated with reduced incretin effects. Although previous studies have shown that hyperglycaemia contributes to impaired incretin responses in beta cells, it is largely unknown how hyperlipidaemia, another feature of type 2 diabetes, contributes to impaired glucagon-like peptide 1 (GLP-1) response. Here, we investigated the effects of NEFA on incretin receptor signalling and examined the glucose-lowering efficacy of incretin-based drugs in combination with the lipid-lowering agent bezafibrate.
We used db/db mice to examine the in vivo efficacy of the treatment. Beta cell lines and mouse islets were used to examine GLP-1 and glucose-dependent insulinotropic peptide receptor signalling.
Palmitate treatment decreased Glp1r expression in rodent insulinoma cell lines and isolated islets. This was associated with impairment of the following: GLP-1-stimulated cAMP production, phosphorylation of cAMP-responsive elements binding protein (CREB) and insulin secretion. In insulinoma cell lines, the expression of exogenous Glp1r restored cAMP production and the phosphorylation of CREB. Treatment with bezafibrate in combination with des-fluoro-sitagliptin or exendin-4 led to more robust glycaemic control, associated with improved islet morphology and beta cell mass in db/db mice.
Elevated NEFA contributes to impaired responsiveness to GLP-1, partially through downregulation of GLP-1 receptor signalling. Improvements in lipid control in mouse models of obesity and diabetes increase the efficacy of incretin-based therapy.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1007/s00125-012-2776-x) contains peer-reviewed but unedited supplementary material, which is available to authorised users.
PMCID: PMC3536946  PMID: 23188390
Dipeptidyl peptidase-4; Exendin-4; Glucagon-like peptide 1; Glucose-dependent insulinotropic polypeptide; Islet; NEFA; Non-esterified fatty acid; Receptor
16.  Characteristics of a Widespread Community Cluster of H275Y Oseltamivir-Resistant A(H1N1)pdm09 Influenza in Australia 
The Journal of Infectious Diseases  2012;206(2):148-157.
Background. Oseltamivir resistance in A(H1N1)pdm09 influenza is rare, particularly in untreated community cases. Sustained community transmission has not previously been reported.
Methods. Influenza specimens from the Asia–Pacific region were collected through sentinel surveillance, hospital, and general practitioner networks. Clinical and epidemiological information was collected on patients infected with oseltamivir-resistant viruses.
Results. Twenty-nine (15%) of 191 A(H1N1)pdm09 viruses collected between May and September 2011 from Hunter New England (HNE), Australia, contained the H275Y neuraminidase substitution responsible for oseltamivir resistance. Only 1 patient had received oseltamivir before specimen collection. The resistant strains were genetically very closely related, suggesting the spread of a single variant. Ninety percent of cases lived within 50 kilometers. Three genetically similar oseltamivir-resistant variants were detected outside of HNE, including 1 strain from Perth, approximately 4000 kilometers away. Computational analysis predicted that neuraminidase substitutions V241I, N369K, and N386S in these viruses may offset the destabilizing effect of the H275Y substitution.
Conclusions This cluster represents the first widespread community transmission of H275Y oseltamivir-resistant A(H1N1)pdm09 influenza. These cases and data on potential permissive mutations suggest that currently circulating A(H1N1)pdm09 viruses retain viral fitness in the presence of the H275Y mutation and that widespread emergence of oseltamivir-resistant strains may now be more likely.
PMCID: PMC3379839  PMID: 22561367
17.  Downregulation of microRNA-383 is associated with male infertility and promotes testicular embryonal carcinoma cell proliferation by targeting IRF1 
Cell Death & Disease  2010;1(11):e94-.
Our previous studies have shown that microRNA-383 (miR-383) expression is downregulated in the testes of infertile men with maturation arrest (MA). However, the underlying mechanisms of miR-383 involved in the pathogenesis of MA remain unknown. In this study, we showed that downregulation of miR-383 was associated with hyperactive proliferation of germ cells in patients with mixed patterns of MA. Overexpression of miR-383 in NT2 (testicular embryonal carcinoma) cells resulted in suppression of proliferation, G1-phase arrest and induction of apoptosis, whereas silencing of miR-383 reversed these effects. The effects of miR-383 were mediated through targeting a tumor suppressor, interferon regulatory factor-1 (IRF1), and miR-383 was negatively correlated with IRF1 protein expression in vivo. miR-383 inhibited IRF1 by affecting its mRNA stability, which subsequently reduced the levels of the targets of IRF1, namely cyclin D1, CDK2 and p21. Downregulation of IRF1 or cyclin D1, but not that of CDK2, enhanced miR-383-mediated effects, whereas silencing of p21 partially inhibited the effects of miR-383. Moreover, miR-383 downregulated CDK4 by increasing proteasome-dependent degradation of CDK4, which in turn resulted in an inhibition of phosphorylated retinoblastoma protein (pRb) phosphorylation. These results suggest that miR-383 functions as a negative regulator of proliferation by targeting IRF1, in part, through inactivation of the pRb pathway. Abnormal testicular miR-383 expression may potentiate the connections between male infertility and testicular germ cell tumor.
PMCID: PMC3032325  PMID: 21368870
male infertility; miR-383; IRF1; cell cycle; apoptosis
18.  Transcriptome analysis of Frog Virus 3, the type species of the genus Ranavirus, family Iridoviridae 
Virology  2009;391(2):293-303.
Frog virus 3 is the best characterized species within the genus Ranavirus, family Iridoviridae. FV3's large (∼105 kbp) dsDNA genome encodes 98 putative open reading frames (ORFs) that are expressed in a coordinated fashion leading to the sequential appearance of immediate early (IE), delayed early (DE) and late (L) viral transcripts. As a step toward elucidating molecular events in FV3 replication, we sought to identify the temporal class of viral messages. To accomplish this objective an oligonucleotide microarray containing 70-mer probes corresponding to each of the 98 FV3 ORFs was designed and used to examine viral gene expression. Viral transcription was initially monitored during the course of a productive replication cycle at 2, 4 and 9 hours after infection. To confirm results of the time course assay, viral gene expression was also monitored in the presence of cycloheximide (CHX), which limits expression to only IE genes, and following infection with a temperature sensitive (ts) mutant which at non-permissive temperatures is defective in viral DNA synthesis and blocked in late gene expression. Subsequently, microarray analyses were validated by RT-PCR and qRT-PCR. Using these approaches we identified 33 IE genes, 22 DE genes and 36 L viral genes. The temporal class of the 7 remaining genes could not be determined. Comparison of putative protein function with temporal class indicated that, in general, genes encoding putative regulatory factors, or proteins that played a part in nucleic acid metabolism and immune evasion, were classified as IE and DE genes, whereas those involved in DNA packaging and virion assembly were considered L genes. Information on temporal class will provide the basis for determining whether members of the same temporal class contain common upstream regulatory regions and perhaps allow us to identify virion-associated and virus-induced proteins that control viral gene expression.
PMCID: PMC2732106  PMID: 19608212
Frog virus 3; iridovirus; ranavirus; temporal class; microarray analysis
19.  Consistency of predictive signature genes and classifiers generated using different microarray platforms 
The Pharmacogenomics Journal  2010;10(4):247-257.
Microarray-based classifiers and associated signature genes generated from various platforms are abundantly reported in the literature; however, the utility of the classifiers and signature genes in cross-platform prediction applications remains largely uncertain. As part of the MicroArray Quality Control Phase II (MAQC-II) project, we show in this study 80–90% cross-platform prediction consistency using a large toxicogenomics data set by illustrating that: (1) the signature genes of a classifier generated from one platform can be directly applied to another platform to develop a predictive classifier; (2) a classifier developed using data generated from one platform can accurately predict samples that were profiled using a different platform. The results suggest the potential utility of using published signature genes in cross-platform applications and the possible adoption of the published classifiers for a variety of applications. The study reveals an opportunity for possible translation of biomarkers identified using microarrays to clinically validated non-array gene expression assays.
PMCID: PMC2920073  PMID: 20676064
microarray; cross-platform; gene signature; classifier; MAQC; hepatotoxicity
21.  Discovery and biological characterization of a novel series of androgen receptor modulators 
Zhou, C | Wu, G | Feng, Y | Li, Q | Su, H | Mais, D E | Zhu, Y | Li, N | Deng, Y | Yang, D | Wang, M-W
British Journal of Pharmacology  2008;154(2):440-450.
Background and purpose:
Selective androgen receptor modulators are of great value in the treatment of prostate cancer. The purpose of this study was to provide a preliminary characterization of a new class of non-steroidal androgen receptor modulators discovered in a high-throughput screening campaign.
Experimental approach:
Competitive receptor binding, luciferase-based reporter methods, cell proliferation and in vivo assays were employed to evaluate an initial set of compounds from chemistry efforts.
Key results:
Forty-nine analogues from the chemistry efforts showed high affinity binding to androgen receptors, agonist and/or antagonist activities in both CV-1 and MDA-MB-453 transfection assays. A proliferation assay in LNCaP cells also exhibited this profile. A representative of these non-steroidal compounds (compound 21) was devoid of activity at other nuclear receptors (oestrogen, progesterone, glucocorticoid and mineralocorticoid receptors) in the CV-1 co-transfection assay. At the same time, in an immature castrated rat model, it behaved as an androgen receptor antagonist against the growth of prostate, seminal vesicles and levator ani induced by exogenous androgen. Separation of compound 21 into its enantiomers showed that nearly all the androgen receptor modulating activity and binding resided in the dextrorotatory compound (23) while the laevorotatory isomer (22) possessed weak or little effect depending on the cell type studied.
Conclusions and implications:
These non-steroidal compounds may represent a new class of androgen receptor modulators for the treatment of not only prostate cancer but other clinical conditions where androgens and androgen receptors are involved in the pathological processes.
PMCID: PMC2442451  PMID: 18414397
nuclear receptor; androgen; prostate cancer
22.  Differential Localization of the GluR1 and GluR2 Subunits of the AMPA-type Glutamate Receptor Among Striatal Neuron Types in Rats 
Journal of chemical neuroanatomy  2007;33(4):167-192.
Differences among the various striatal projection neuron and interneuron types in cortical input, function, and vulnerability to degenerative insults may be related to differences among them in AMPA-type glutamate receptor abundance and subunit configuration. We therefore used immunolabeling to assess the frequency and abundance of GluR1 and GluR2, the most common AMPA subunits in striatum, in the main striatal neuron types. All neurons projecting to the external pallidum (GPe), internal pallidum (GPi) or substantia nigra, as identified by retrograde labeling, possessed perikaryal GluR2, while GluR1 was more common in striato-GPe than striato-GPi perikarya. The frequency and intensity of immunostaining indicated the rank order of their perikaryal GluR1:GluR2 ratio to be striato-GPe > striatonigral > striato-GPi. Ultrastructural studies suggested a differential localization of GluR1 and GluR2 to striatal projection neuron dendritic spines as well, with GluR1 seemingly more common in striato-GPe spines and GluR2 more common in striato-GPi and/or striatonigral spines. Comparisons among projection neurons and interneurons revealed GluR1 to be most common and abundant in parvalbuminergic interneurons, and GluR2 most common and abundant in projection neurons, with the rank order for the GluR1:GluR2 ratio being parvalbuminergic interneurons > calretinergic interneurons > cholinergic interneurons > projection neurons > somatostatinergic interneurons. Striosomal projection neurons had a higher GluR1:GluR2 ratio than did matrix projection neurons. The abundance of both GluR1 and GluR2 in striatal parvalbuminergic interneurons and projection neurons is consistent with their prominent cortical input and susceptibility to excitotoxic insult, while differences in GluR1: GluR2 ratio among projection neurons are likely to yield differences in Ca2+ permeability, desensitization, and single channel current, which may contribute to differences among them in plasticity, synaptic integration, and excitotoxic vulnerability. The apparent association of the GluR1 subunit with synaptic plasticity, in particular, suggests striato-GPe neuron spines as a particular site of corticostriatal synaptic plasticity, presumably associated with motor learning.
PMCID: PMC1993922  PMID: 17446041
striatum; AMPA receptors; AMPA subunits; glutamate; excitotoxicity; immunohistochemistry
23.  Molecular Determinants of Antiviral Potency of Paramyxovirus Entry Inhibitors▿  
Journal of Virology  2007;81(19):10567-10574.
Hendra virus (HeV) and Nipah virus (NiV) constitute the Henipavirus genus of paramyxoviruses, both fatal in humans and with the potential for subversion as agents of bioterrorism. Binding of the HeV/NiV attachment protein (G) to its receptor triggers a series of conformational changes in the fusion protein (F), ultimately leading to formation of a postfusion six-helix bundle (6HB) structure and fusion of the viral and cellular membranes. The ectodomain of paramyxovirus F proteins contains two conserved heptad repeat regions, the first (the N-terminal heptad repeat [HRN]) adjacent to the fusion peptide and the second (the C-terminal heptad repeat [HRC]) immediately preceding the transmembrane domain. Peptides derived from the HRN and HRC regions of F are proposed to inhibit fusion by preventing activated F molecules from forming the 6HB structure that is required for fusion. We previously reported that a human parainfluenza virus 3 (HPIV3) F peptide effectively inhibits infection mediated by the HeV glycoproteins in pseudotyped-HeV entry assays more effectively than the comparable HeV-derived peptide, and we now show that this peptide inhibits live-HeV and -NiV infection. HPIV3 F peptides were also effective in inhibiting HeV pseudotype virus entry in a new assay that mimics multicycle replication. This anti-HeV/NiV efficacy can be correlated with the greater potential of the HPIV3 C peptide to interact with the HeV F N peptide coiled-coil trimer, as evaluated by thermal unfolding experiments. Furthermore, replacement of a buried glutamic acid (glutamic acid 459) in the C peptide with valine enhances antiviral potency and stabilizes the 6HB conformation. Our results strongly suggest that conserved interhelical packing interactions in the F protein fusion core are important determinants of C peptide inhibitory activity and offer a strategy for the development of more-potent analogs of F peptide inhibitors.
PMCID: PMC2045485  PMID: 17652384
24.  Genotype 1 and Genotype 2 Bovine Noroviruses Are Antigenically Distinct but Share a Cross-Reactive Epitope with Human Noroviruses 
Journal of Clinical Microbiology  2006;44(3):992-998.
The bovine enteric caliciviruses Bo/Jena/1980/DE and Bo/Newbury2/1976/UK represent two distinct genotypes within a new genogroup, genogroup III, in the genus Norovirus of the family Caliciviridae. In the present study, the antigenic relatedness of these two genotypes was determined for the first time to enable the development of tests to detect and differentiate between both genotypes. Two approaches were used. First, cross-reactivity was examined by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) using recombinant virus-like particles (VLPs) and convalescent-phase sera from calves infected with either Jena (genotype 1) or Newbury2 (genotype 2). Second, cross-reactivity was examined between the two genotypes with a monoclonal antibody, CM39, derived using Jena VLPs. The two genotypes, Jena and Newbury2, were antigenically distinct with little or no cross-reactivity by ELISA to the heterologous VLPs using convalescent calf sera that had homologous immunoglobulin G titers of log10 3.1 to 3.3. CM39 reacted with both Jena and heterologous Newbury2 VLPs. The CM39 epitope was mapped to nine amino acids (31PTAGAQIAA39) in the Jena capsid protein, which was not fully conserved for Newbury2 (31PTAGAPVAA39). Molecular modeling showed that the CM39 epitope was located within the NH2-terminal arm inside the virus capsid. Surprisingly, CM39 also reacted with VLPs from two genogroup II/3 human noroviruses by ELISA and Western blotting. Thus, although the bovine noroviruses Jena and Newbury2 corresponded to two distinct antigenic types or serotypes, they shared at least one cross-reactive epitope. These findings have relevance for epidemiological studies to determine the prevalence of bovine norovirus serotypes and to develop vaccines to bovine noroviruses.
PMCID: PMC1393167  PMID: 16517888
25.  Increased rectal mucosal expression of interleukin 1β in recently acquired post-infectious irritable bowel syndrome 
Gut  2003;52(4):523-526.
Background and aims: Chronic bowel disturbances resembling irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) develop in approximately 25% of patients after an episode of infectious diarrhoea. Although we have previously shown that psychosocial factors operating at the time of, or prior to, the acute illness appear to predict the development of post-infectious IBS (PI-IBS), our finding of an increased inflammatory cell number in the rectum persisting for at least three months after the acute infection suggested that there is also an organic component involved in the development of PI-IBS. To evaluate this further, we measured expressions of interleukin 1β (IL-1β) and its receptor antagonist (IL-1ra) in these patients to provide additional evidence that the pathogenesis of PI-IBS is underpinned by an inflammatory process.
Methods: Sequential rectal biopsy samples were prospectively obtained during and three months after acute gastroenteritis, from eight patients who developed post-infectious IBS (INF-IBS) and seven patients who returned to normal bowel habits after acute gastroenteritis (infection controls, INF-CON). Eighteen healthy volunteers who had not suffered from gastroenteritis in the preceding two years served as normal controls (NOR-CON). IL-1β and IL-1ra gene expressions were assayed by reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction, and their levels of expression were quantitated by optical densitometry after electrophoresis on agarose gel.
Results: INF-IBS patients exhibited significantly greater expression of IL-1β mRNA in rectal biopsies than INF-CON patients both during and three months after acute gastroenteritis. Moreover, IL-1β mRNA expression had increased in biopsies taken from INF-IBS patients at three months after the acute infection but no consistent change was observed in INF-CON patients. IL-1β mRNA expression of INF-IBS patients at three months post gastroenteritis was significantly greater than NOR-CON whereas that of INF-CON patients was not significantly different from NOR-CON. Despite these differential changes in IL-1β mRNA expression, no significant changes were observed in IL-1ra mRNA expression among the three groups.
Conclusions: These findings indicate that those patients who develop IBS post infection exhibit greater IL-1β mRNA expression, both during and after the infection, compared with individuals who do not develop PI-IBS. We conclude that such patients may be susceptible to inflammatory stimuli, and that inflammation may play a role in the pathogenesis of PI-IBS.
PMCID: PMC1773606  PMID: 12631663
interleukin 1β; irritable bowel syndrome; post-infectious irritable bowel syndrome

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