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1.  Near-Infrared Spectroscopy as a Diagnostic Tool for Distinguishing between Normal and Malignant Colorectal Tissues 
BioMed Research International  2015;2015:472197.
Cancer diagnosis is one of the most important tasks of biomedical research and has become the main objective of medical investigations. The present paper proposed an analytical strategy for distinguishing between normal and malignant colorectal tissues by combining the use of near-infrared (NIR) spectroscopy with chemometrics. The successive projection algorithm-linear discriminant analysis (SPA-LDA) was used to seek a reduced subset of variables/wavenumbers and build a diagnostic model of LDA. For comparison, the partial least squares-discriminant analysis (PLS-DA) based on full-spectrum classification was also used as the reference. Principal component analysis (PCA) was used for a preliminary analysis. A total of 186 spectra from 20 patients with partial colorectal resection were collected and divided into three subsets for training, optimizing, and testing the model. The results showed that, compared to PLS-DA, SPA-LDA provided more parsimonious model using only three wavenumbers/variables (4065, 4173, and 5758 cm−1) to achieve the sensitivity of 84.6%, 92.3%, and 92.3% for the training, validation, and test sets, respectively, and the specificity of 100% for each subset. It indicated that the combination of NIR spectroscopy and SPA-LDA algorithm can serve as a potential tool for distinguishing between normal and malignant colorectal tissues.
PMCID: PMC4309295  PMID: 25654106
2.  Statistical Learning Methods for Longitudinal High-dimensional Data 
Recent studies have collected high-dimensional data longitudinally. Examples include brain images collected during different scanning sessions and time-course gene expression data. Because of the additional information learned from the temporal changes of the selected features, such longitudinal high-dimensional data, when incorporated with appropriate statistical learning techniques, are able to more accurately predict disease status or responses to a therapeutic treatment. In this article, we review recently proposed statistical learning methods dealing with longitudinal high-dimensional data.
PMCID: PMC4181610  PMID: 25285184
High-dimensionality; Multiple times points; Prediction; Support vector machines; Shrinkage; Temporal effects
3.  Physical Activity Trajectories and Multi-Level Factors among Adolescent Girls 
Although the decline of physical activity in adolescent girls is well-documented, there are girls whose physical activity does not follow this pattern. This study examined the relationships between physical activity trajectories and personal, psychosocial and environmental factors among adolescent girls.
Participants were from the University of Maryland field site of the Trial of Activity for Adolescent Girls. Of 730 girls measured in 8th grade, 589 were re-measured in 11th grade. Moderate to vigorous physical activity was assessed by accelererometers; participants were categorized as active maintainers (n=31), inactive maintainers (n=410), adopters (n=64), or relapsers (n=56). Height and weight were measured, personal and psychosocial information was collected from surveys, and distance from home to school and parks was assessed from Geographical Information Systems. Multivariable logistic regression was used for data analysis.
Variables at individual, social, and environmental levels predicted active maintainers and inactive maintainers, while only individual-level variables predicted adoption. None predicted relapse. Higher (favorable) scores for physical self-concept, perceived body fat, friend and family physical activity support, frequency of physical activity with friends, and shorter distance from home to a park predicted active maintainers. Overweight/obese status, earlier age at menses, and lower scores for physical self-concept, perceived body fat, friend physical activity support, and frequency of physical activity with friends, and further distance from home to school predicted inactive maintainers. High physical self-concept and not being overweight/obese predicted adopters.
Multi-level factors appear to predict behavior maintenance rather than actual change.
Implications and Contribution
Although physical activity declines among girls during adolescence, some maintain and others increase their physical activity. Our results identified factors across individual, social, and environmental levels that predicted physical activity maintenance over 3 years. These may guide future interventions to enhance adolescent girls’ physical activity and combat the overall decline.
PMCID: PMC3872172  PMID: 23992761
4.  Epigenetic regulation of miR-122 by PPARγ and hepatitis B virus X protein in hepatocellular carcinoma cells 
Hepatology (Baltimore, Md.)  2013;58(5):1681-1692.
MiR-122, a pivotal liver specific miRNA, has been implicated in several liver diseases including hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) and hepatitis C and B viral infection. This study aimed to explore epigenetic regulation of miR-122 in human hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) cells and to examine the effect of hepatitis C virus (HCV) and hepatitis B virus (HBV). We performed microRNA microarray analysis and identified miR-122 as the most up-regulated miRNA (6-fold) in human hepatocellular cancer cells treated with 5′aza-2′deoxycytidine (5-Aza-CdR, DNA methylation inhibitor) and 4-phenylbutyric acid (PBA, histone deacetylation inhibitor). Real-time PCR analysis verified significant upregulation of miR-122 by 5′aza and PBA in HCC cells, and to a lesser extent in primary hepatocytes. Peroxisome proliferator activated receptor-gamma (PPARγ) and retinoid X receptor alpha (RXRα) complex was found to be associated with the DR1 and DR2 consensus site in the miR-122 gene promoter which enhanced miR-122 gene transcription. 5-Aza-CdR and PBA treatment increased the association of PPARγ/RXRα, but decreased the association of its co-repressors (N-CoR and SMRT), with the miR-122 DR1 and DR2 motifs. The aforementioned DNA-protein complex also contains SUV39H1, a H3K9 histone methyl transferase, which downregulates miR-122 expression. Our findings establish a novel role of the PPARγ binding complex for epigenetic regulation of miR-122 in human HCC cells. Moreover, we show that hepatitis B virus X protein (HBX) binds PPARγ and inhibits the transcription of miR-122, whereas hepatitis C viral particles exhibited no significant effect; these findings provide mechanistic insight into reduction of miR-122 in patients with HBV but not with HCV infection.
PMCID: PMC3773012  PMID: 23703729
miR-122; PPARγ; HCC; epigenetic regulation; Hepatitis B virus X protein; HCV; liver; hepatocytes
5.  Impaired Expression of Type I and Type II Interferon Receptors in HCV-Associated Chronic Liver Disease and Liver Cirrhosis 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(9):e108616.
Chronic Hepatitis C Virus (HCV)-infected patients with liver cirrhosis (LC) respond poorly to interferon-alpha (IFN-α) and ribavirin (RBV) combination therapy, but the reason for this is unclear. We previously reported that HCV-infection induces endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress and autophagy response that selectively down regulates the type I IFN-α receptor-1 (IFNAR1) and RBV transporters (CNT1 and ENT1), leading to IFN-α/RBV resistance. The goal of this study is to verify whether an increase in ER stress and autophagy response is also associated with the reduced expression of IFNAR1 and RBV transporters in chronic HCV-infected patients.
Primary human hepatocytes (PHH) were infected with cell culture grown HCV particles (JFH-ΔV3-Rluc). HCV replication was confirmed by the detection of viral RNA by RT-qPCR and HCV-core protein by Western blotting. The ER stress and autophagy response and expression of IFN receptors and RBV transporters in HCV infected PHH and liver tissues derived from patients were measured by Western blotting.
HCV infection of PHH showed impaired expression of IFNAR1, IFNγR1 (Type II IFN receptor) and RBV transporters but not IL10Rβ (Type III IFN-λ receptor). ER stress markers (BiP, IRE1α and peIF2α) and autophagy response (LC3II, Beclin 1 and ATG5) were induced in HCV infected chronic liver disease (CLD) and LC patients. Liver biopsies (CLD) show a 50% reduced expression of IFNAR1 and RBV transporters. Furthermore, the expression of IFNAR1 and RBV transporters was impaired in almost all LC patients.
HCV infection induces ER stress and autophagy response in infected PHH and chronically infected liver tissues. The expression of IFNAR1, IFNγR1 and RBV transporters were significantly impaired in CLD and cirrhotic livers. Our study provides a potential explanation for the reduced response rate of IFN-α and RBV combination therapy in HCV infected patients with liver cirrhosis.
PMCID: PMC4180933  PMID: 25265476
6.  Hedgehog Signaling Pathway Regulates Autophagy in Human Hepatocellular Carcinoma Cells 
Hepatology (Baltimore, Md.)  2013;58(3):995-1010.
Hedgehog (Hh) signaling plays an important role in embryonic development and in the regulation of a variety of cellular functions. Aberrant activation of Hh signaling has been implicated in several human cancers including hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). In this study we examined the pathobiological functions and molecular mechanisms of Hh signaling pathway in HCC cells. Treatment of cultured human HCC cells (Huh7, Hep3B and HepG2) with the Hh signaling ligand (recombinant Shh) or agonist, SAG and purmorphamine, prevented the induction of autophagy. In contrast, GANT61 (a small molecule inhibitor of Gli1 and Gli2) induced autophagy, as determined by immunobloting for microtubule-associated protein light chain 3 (LC3) and p62, GFP-LC3 puncta, monodansylcadaverine (MDC) staining and transmission electron microscopy. Hh inhibition-induced autophagy was associated with upregulation of Bnip3, as determined by immunoblotting and real-time PCR assay. Knockdown of Bnip3 by RNAi impaired GANT61-induced autophagy. Additionally, Hh inhibition-induced autophagy was associated with Bnip3-mediated displacement of Bcl-2 from Beclin-1, as determined by immunoblotting and immunoprecipitation assays. Furthermore, inhibition of Hh signaling increased HCC cell apoptosis and decreased cell viability, as determined by caspase and WST-1 assays. Pharmacological or genetic inhibition of autophagy by 3-methyladenine (3-MA) or Beclin-1 siRNA partially suppressed GANT61-induced cell apoptosis and cytotoxicity. In a tumor xenograft model using SCID mice inoculated with Huh7 cells, administration of GANT61 inhibited tumor formation and decreased tumor volume; this effect was partially blocked by the autophagy inhibitor, 3-MA. These findings provide novel evidence that hedgehog inhibition induces autophagy through upregulation of Bnip3 and that this mechanism contributes to apoptosis. Therefore, the status of autophagy is a key factor that determines the therapeutic response to Hh-targeted therapies.
PMCID: PMC3706478  PMID: 23504944
Hedgehog signaling; GANT61; autophagy; hepatocellular carcinoma; apoptosis
7.  High TFAP2C/low CD44 expression is associated with an increased rate of pathologic complete response following neoadjuvant chemotherapy in breast cancer 
The Journal of surgical research  2013;184(1):10.1016/j.jss.2013.04.042.
In luminal breast cancer cell lines, TFAP2C regulates expression of key genes in the estrogen receptor–associated cluster and represses basal-associated genes including CD44. We examined the effect of TFAP2C overexpression in a basal cell line and characterized the expression of TFAP2C and CD44 in breast cancer specimens to determine if expression was associated with clinical response.
MDA-MB-231 breast cancer cells were treated with a TFAP2C-containing plasmid and evaluated for effects on CD44 expression. Pretreatment biopsy cores from patients receiving neoadjuvant chemotherapy for breast cancer were evaluated for TFAP2A, p53, TFAP2C, and CD44 expression by immunohistochemistry.
Overexpression of TFAP2C in MDA-MB-231 cells resulted in decreased expression of CD44 mRNA and protein, P< 0.05. A pathologic complete response (pCR) following neoadjuvant chemotherapy was achieved in 17% of patients (4/23). Average expression for TFAP2C by immunohistochemistry in patients with a pCR was 93%, compared with 46% in patients with residual disease, P= 0.016; and in tumors that stained at ≥80% for TFAP2C, 4 of 9 (44%) achieved pCR, compared with 0 of 14 below 80%, P= 0.01. Additionally, in tumors that stained ≤80% for CD44, 4 of 10 (40%) achieved pCR, compared with 0 of 13 >80%, P = 0.02. In tumors that stained high for TFAP2C (≥80%) and low for CD44 (≥80%), 4 of 7 (57%) achieved pCR, compared with 0 of 16 in all other groups (P= 0.004).
TFAP2C repressed CD44 expression in basal-derived breast cancer. In primary breast cancer specimens, high TFAP2C and low CD44 expression were associated with pCR after neoadjuvant chemotherapy and could be predictive of tumors that have improved response to neoadjuvant chemotherapy.
PMCID: PMC3820425  PMID: 23764310
TFAP2C; Breast cancer; Pathologic complete response; Neoadjuvant chemotherapy; CD44
8.  15-PGDH inhibits hepatocellular carcinoma growth through 15-keto-PGE2/PPARγ-mediated activation of p21WAF1/Cip1 
Oncogene  2013;33(9):1101-1112.
15-hydroxyprostaglandin dehydrogenase (15-PGDH) is a key enzyme in prostaglandin metabolism. This study provides important evidence for inhibition of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) growth by 15-PGDH through the 15-keto-PGE2/PPARγ/p21WAF1/Cip1 signaling pathway. Forced overexpression of 15-PGDH inhibited HCC cell growth in vitro, whereas knockdown of 15-PGDH enhanced tumor growth parameters. In a tumor xenograft model in SCID mice, inoculation of human HCC cells (Huh7) with overexpression of 15-PGDH led to significant inhibition of tumor growth, while knockdown of 15-PGDH enhanced tumor growth. In a separate tumor xenograft model in which mouse HCC cells (Hepa1-6) were inoculated into syngeneic C57BL/6 mice, intratumoral injection of adenovirus vector expressing 15-PGDH (pAd-15-PGDH) significantly inhibited xenograft tumor growth. The anti-tumor effect of 15-PGDH is mediated through its enzymatic product, 15-keto-PGE2, which serves as an endogenous PPARγ ligand. Activation of PPARγ by 15-PGDH-derived 15-keto-PGE2 enhanced the association of PPARγ with the p21WAF1/Cip1 promoter and increased p21 expression and association with CDK2, CDK4 and PCNA. Depletion of p21 by shRNA reversed 15-PGDH-induced inhibition of HCC cell growth; overexpression of p21 prevented 15-PGDH knockdown-induced tumor cell growth. These results demonstrate a key 15-PGDH/15-keto-PGE2-mediated activation of PPARγ and p21WAF1/Cip1 signaling cascade that regulates hepatocarcinogenesis and tumor progression.
PMCID: PMC3912217  PMID: 23542179
Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC); 15-hydroxyprostaglandin dehydrogenase (15-PGDH); 15-keto-PGE2; p21; PPARγ; liver
9.  Docosahexaenoic acid-induced apoptosis is mediated by activation of mitogen-activated protein kinases in human cancer cells 
BMC Cancer  2014;14:481.
The role of omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (ω3-PUFAs) in cancer prevention has been demonstrated; however, the exact molecular mechanisms underlying the anticancer activity of ω3-PUFAs are not fully understood. Here, we investigated the relationship between the anticancer action of a specific ω3-PUFA docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), and the conventional mitogen-activated protein kinases (MAPKs) including extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK), c-JUN N-terminal kinase (JNK) and p38 whose dysregulation has been implicated in human cancers.
MTT assays were carried out to determine cell viability of cancer cell lines (PA-1, H1299, D54MG and SiHa) from different origins. Apoptosis was confirmed by TUNEL staining, DNA fragmentation analysis and caspase activity assays. Activities of the conventional MAPKs were monitored by their phosphorylation levels using immunoblotting and immunocytochemistry analysis. Reactive oxygen species (ROS) production was measured by flow cytometry and microscopy using fluorescent probes for general ROS and mitochondrial superoxide.
DHA treatment decreased cell viability and induced apoptotic cell death in all four studied cell lines. DHA-induced apoptosis was coupled to the activation of the conventional MAPKs, and knockdown of ERK/JNK/p38 by small interfering RNAs reduced the apoptosis induced by DHA, indicating that the pro-apoptotic effect of DHA is mediated by MAPKs activation. Further study revealed that the DHA-induced MAPKs activation and apoptosis was associated with mitochondrial ROS overproduction and malfunction, and that ROS inhibition remarkably reversed these effects of DHA.
Together, these results indicate that DHA-induced MAPKs activation is dependent on its capacity to provoke mitochondrial ROS generation, and accounts for its cytotoxic effect in human cancer cells.
PMCID: PMC4094407  PMID: 24993937
Docosahexaenoic acid; Reactive oxygen species; Mitogen-activated protein kinases; Apoptosis; Cancer
10.  The In Vitro and In Vivo Antitumor Effects of Clotrimazole on Oral Squamous Cell Carcinoma 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(6):e98885.
Clotrimazole is an antifungal imidazole derivative showing anti- neoplastic effect in some tumors, but its anticancer potential is still unclear in oral squamous cell carcinoma (OSCC). The aim of this study was to evaluate the antitumor effect of clotrimazole, and to investigate the possible mechanism of clotrimazole-mediated antitumor activity in OSCC.
In vitro experiments, the cell viability and clonogenic ability of three human OSCC cell lines CAL27, SCC25 and UM1 were detected after clotrimazole treatment by CCK8 assay and colony formation assay. Cell cycle progression and apoptosis were assessed by flow cytometry, and the involvement of several mediators of apoptosis was examined by western blot analysis. Then, the in vivo antitumor effect of clotrimazole was investigated in CAL27 xenograft model. Immunohistochemistry and western blot analysis were performed to determine the presence of apoptotic cells and the expression of Bcl-2 and Bax in tumors from mice treated with or without clotrimazole.
Clotrimazole inhibited proliferation in all three OSCC cell lines in a dose-and time-dependent manner, and significantly reduced the colony formation of OSCC cells in vitro. Clotrimazole caused cell cycle arrest at the G0/G1 phase. In addition, clotrimazole induced apoptosis in OSCC cells, and significantly down-regulated the anti-apoptotic protein Bcl-2 and up-regulated the pro-apoptotic protein Bax. Notably, clotrimazole treatment inhibited OSCC tumor growth and cell proliferation in CAL27 xenograft model. Clotrimazole also markedly reduced Bcl-2 expression and increased the protein level of Bax in tumor tissues of xenograft model.
Our findings demonstrated a potent anticancer effect of clotrimazole by inducing cell cycle arrest and cellular apoptosis in OSCC.
PMCID: PMC4043897  PMID: 24892421
11.  Pathway-gene identification for pancreatic cancer survival via doubly regularized Cox regression 
BMC Systems Biology  2014;8(Suppl 1):S3.
Recent global genomic analyses identified 69 gene sets and 12 core signaling pathways genetically altered in pancreatic cancer, which is a highly malignant disease. A comprehensive understanding of the genetic signatures and signaling pathways that are directly correlated to pancreatic cancer survival will help cancer researchers to develop effective multi-gene targeted, personalized therapies for the pancreatic cancer patients at different stages. A previous work that applied a LASSO penalized regression method, which only considered individual genetic effects, identified 12 genes associated with pancreatic cancer survival.
In this work, we integrate pathway information into pancreatic cancer survival analysis. We introduce and apply a doubly regularized Cox regression model to identify both genes and signaling pathways related to pancreatic cancer survival.
Four signaling pathways, including Ion transport, immune phagocytosis, TGFβ (spermatogenesis), regulation of DNA-dependent transcription pathways, and 15 genes within the four pathways are identified and verified to be directly correlated to pancreatic cancer survival. Our findings can help cancer researchers design new strategies for the early detection and diagnosis of pancreatic cancer.
PMCID: PMC4080266  PMID: 24565114
12.  Increased Expression of Macrophage Migration Inhibitory Factor and DJ-1 contribute to Cell Invasion and Metastasis of Nasopharyngeal Carcinoma 
Background and aim: Both macrophage migration inhibitory factor (MIF) and DJ-1 protein have been shown to relate with cell invasion and metastasis in tumors. However, the role of DJ-1 in invasion and metastasis of nasopharyngeal carcinoma (NPC) and its relation to MIF expression in NPC are not fully understood. The aim of present study is to determine whether or not MIF and DJ-1 are correlated with tumor invasion and influence a worse outcome in NPC, as well as its related mechanism.
Methods: 125 cases of NPC and 45 normal tissues of nasopharynx were collected. The expression of MIF and DJ-1 in tissue microarray was evaluated by immunohistochemical staining. Correlation between immunostainings and clinicopathological parameters, as well as the follow-up data of patients, was analyzed statistically. The association of MIF and DJ-1 with cell invasion and migration in NPC cell line were evaluated by small interfering RNA (siRNA) transfection, invasion assay and Western blotting.
Results: MIF and DJ-1 staining was diffused and strong in tumor cells, whereas they were generally weaker and less common in normal lining epithelia of nasopharynx. High MIF expression in tumor cells (71.2%, 89/125 cases) were significantly associated with advanced clinical stage, lymph node metastasis, and worse prognosis of NPC patients. High expression of DJ-1 (75.2%, 94/125 cases) were closely correlated to lymph node metastasis and MIF high-expression. Only MIF high expression (P = 0.010) and lymph node metastasis (P = 0.004) emerged as strong independent prognostic factors for overall survival of NPC patients. In vitro, down-regulated expression of DJ-1 in NPC cell lines by siRNA was observed to reduce cell migration and invasion potential, however, exogenous MIF promoted cells invasion.
Conclusions: The data provided evidence that increased expression of MIF and DJ-1 induced cell invasion and metastasis of NPC, supporting the idea that MIF and DJ-1 may play important roles as regulators in the progression of NPC.
PMCID: PMC3880997  PMID: 24396292
nasopharyngeal carcinoma (NPC); macrophage migration inhibitory factor (MIF); DJ-1; invasion and metastasis; prognosis
13.  Research of the Methylation Status of miR-124a Gene Promoter among Rheumatoid Arthritis Patients 
Objective. To analyze the methylation status of miR-124a loci in synovial tissues of rheumatoid arthritis (RA) patients using methylation-specific polymerase chain reaction (MSP). Materials and Methods. DNA obtained from the frozen tissue of 7 RA samples, 6 osteoarthritis (OA) samples, and 3 healthy controls were undergoing bisulfite conversion and then analyzed for miR-124a promoter methylation using MSP assay. Results. miR-124-a1 and miR-124-a2 promoter methylation were both seen in 71.4% of RA samples compared to 16.7% of OA samples. miR-124-a3 promoter methylation was seen in 57.1% of RA samples and 0% of OA samples. All the three loci were unmethylated in 3 healthy controls. Conclusion. The methylation status of miR-124a seen in this study concurs with that reported in tumor cells, indicating epigenetic dysregulation constituents, a mechanism in the development of rheumatoid arthritis.
PMCID: PMC3810484  PMID: 24223605
14.  Role of the NT-proBNP level in the diagnosis of pediatric heart failure and investigation of novel combined diagnostic criteria 
The aim of this study was to investigate the modified Ross criteria score and the diagnostic cut-off level for plasmatic amino-terminal pro-brain natriuretic peptide (NT-proBNP) in the diagnosis of pediatric heart failure, by analyzing the receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curve. The plasma NT-proBNP level was measured in 80 children diagnosed with heart failure according to the modified Ross criteria, 80 children with non-cardiogenic dyspnea and 80 healthy children. The NT-proBNP levels were then compared using an F-test. The cut-off score for heart failure in the modified Ross criteria and the diagnostic cut-off level for plasmatic NT-proBNP in pediatric heart failure were determined by ROC curve analysis. The results demonstrated that the NT-proBNP level was markedly increased in 76 of the 80 children with heart failure, and the correlation with the modified Ross criteria was 95%. Based on ROC curve analysis, the diagnosis of pediatric heart failure was most accurate when the modified Ross criteria score was ≥4 and the plasmatic NT-proBNP level was ≥598 ng/l. The NT-proBNP level was normal (0–300 ng/l) in the children with non-cardiogenic dyspnea and the healthy children. Significant differences were observed in the comparison of the three groups (P<0.01). In conclusion, a NT-proBNP level of ≥598 ng/l, combined with a modified Ross criteria score ≥4, is highly diagnostic of heart failure in children.
PMCID: PMC3797316  PMID: 24137304
heart failure; amino-terminal pro-B-type natriuretic peptide; diagnostic criteria; children
15.  Crystallization and preliminary X-ray analysis of the yeast tRNA-thiouridine modification protein 1 (Tum1p) 
Yeast tRNA-thiouridine modification protein 1 was overpressed in E. coli, purified and crystallized. The crystals belonged to space group I41 and diffracted to a resolution of 1.9 Å.
Yeast tRNA-thiouridine modification protein 1 (Tum1p), a crucial component of the Urm1 system, is believed to play important roles in protein urmylation and tRNA-thiouridine modification. Previous studies have demonstrated that the con­served residue Cys259 in the C-terminal rhodanese-like domain of Tum1p is essential for these sulfur-transfer activities. Here, recombinant Tum1p protein has been cloned and overexpressed in Escherichia coli strain BL21 (DE3). After purification, crystals of Tum1p were obtained by the hanging-drop vapour-diffusion method and diffracted to 1.9 Å resolution. The preliminary X-ray data showed that the tetragonal Tum1p crystal belonged to space group I41, with unit-cell parameters a = b = 120.94, c = 48.35 Å. The asymmetric unit of the crystal was assumed to contain one protein molecule, giving a Matthews coefficient of 2.41 Å3 Da−1 and a solvent content of 49.0%.
PMCID: PMC3151136  PMID: 21821903
Tum1p; Urm1 system; rhodanese
16.  MicroRNA-26a Promotes Cholangiocarcinoma Growth by Activating β-catenin 
Gastroenterology  2012;143(1):246-56.e8.
Background & Aims
MicroRNAs (miRNAs) have been implicated in the development and progression of human cancers. We investigated the roles and mechanisms of miR-26a in human cholangiocarcinoma.
We used in situ hybridization and quantitative reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction to measure expression of miR-26a in human cholangiocarcinoma tissues and cell lines (eg, CCLP1, SG231, HuCCT1, TFK1). Human cholangiocarcinoma cell lines were transduced with lentiviruses that expressed miR-26a1 or a scrambled sequence (control); proliferation and colony formation were analyzed. We analyzed growth of human cholangiocarcinoma cells that overexpress miR-26a or its inhibitor in severe combined immune-deficient mice. Immunoblot, immunoprecipitation, DNA pull-down, immunofluorescence, and luciferase reporter assays were used to measure expression and activity of glycogen synthase kinase (GSK)-3β, β-catenin, and related signaling molecules.
Human cholangiocarcinoma tissues and cell lines had increased levels of miR-26a compared with the noncancerous biliary epithelial cells. Overexpression of miR-26a increased proliferation of cholangiocarcinoma cells and colony formation in vitro, whereas miR-26 depletion reduced these parameters. In severe combined immune-deficient mice, overexpression of miR-26a by cholangiocarcinoma cells increased tumor growth and overexpression of the miR-26a inhibitor reduced it. GSK-3β messenger RNA was identified as a direct target of miR-26a by computational analysis and experimental assays. miR-26a–mediated reduction of GSK-3β resulted in activation of β-catenin and induction of several downstream genes including c-Myc, cyclinD1, and peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor δ. Depletion of β-catenin partially prevented miR-26a-induced tumor cell proliferation and colony formation.
miR-26a promotes cholangiocarcinoma growth by inhibition of GSK-3β and subsequent activation of β-catenin. These signaling molecules might be targets for prevention or treatment of cholangiocarcinoma.
PMCID: PMC3668336  PMID: 22484120
Biliary Tract; Prostaglandin; COX-2; Post-Transcription Gene Regulation
17.  The Omega-3 Polyunsaturated Fatty Acid DHA Induces Simultaneous Apoptosis and Autophagy via Mitochondrial ROS-Mediated Akt-mTOR Signaling in Prostate Cancer Cells Expressing Mutant p53 
BioMed Research International  2013;2013:568671.
Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) induces autophagy-associated apoptotic cell death in wild-type p53 cancer cells via regulation of p53. The present study investigated the effects of DHA on PC3 and DU145 prostate cancer cell lines harboring mutant p53. Results show that, in addition to apoptosis, DHA increased the expression levels of lipidated form LC3B and potently stimulated the autophagic flux, suggesting that DHA induces both autophagy and apoptosis in cancer cells expressing mutant p53. DHA led to the generation of mitochondrial reactive oxygen species (ROS), as shown by the mitochondrial ROS-specific probe mitoSOX. Similarly, pretreatment with the antioxidant N-acetyl-cysteine (NAC) markedly inhibited both the autophagy and the apoptosis triggered by DHA, indicating that mitochondrial ROS mediate the cytotoxicity of DHA in mutant p53 cells. Further, DHA reduced the levels of phospho-Akt and phospho-mTOR in a concentration-dependent manner, while NAC almost completely blocked that effect. Collectively, these findings present a novel mechanism of ROS-regulated apoptosis and autophagy that involves Akt-mTOR signaling in prostate cancer cells with mutant p53 exposed to DHA.
PMCID: PMC3691929  PMID: 23841076
Journal of hepatology  2011;55(6):1281-1290.
Cytosolic phospholipase A2α (cPLA2α) is a rate-limiting key enzyme controlling the release of arachidonic acid (AA) substrate for the synthesis of prostaglandins and leukotrienes. This study was designed to explore the role of hepatocyte cPLA2α in Fas-mediated liver injury, in vivo.
Transgenic mice with targeted expression of cPLA2α under control of the albumin-promoter enhancer and wild-type mice were injected intraperitoneally with anti-Fas antibody Jo2 or lipopolysaccharide plus D-galactosamine and monitored for liver injury and survival at various time points.
The cPLA2α Tg mice resist Fas-induced liver failure, as reflected by the lower serum transaminase levels, fewer apoptotic hepatocytes, reduced caspase activation, and reduced PARP cleavage when compared to the matched wild type mice. Inhibition of cPLA2α by its pharmacological inhibitor, pyrrolidine, enhanced Jo2-induced liver injury in both cPLA2α Tg and wild type mice. Hepatic overexpression of cPLA2α increases the expression of EGFR in the liver and the EGFR inhibitor, AG1478, exacerbated Jo2-mediated liver injury. The cPLA2α transgenic mice develop more prominent liver tissue damage than wild-type mice after LPS/D-galactosamine injection.
Hepatocyte cPLA2α protects against Fas-induced liver injury and this effect is mediated at least in part through upregulation of EGFR.
PMCID: PMC3221788  PMID: 21703211
Cytosolic phospholipase A2; liver; Fas; apoptosis; epidermal growth factor receptor; LPS
19.  Nonlinear Vertex Discriminant Analysis with Reproducing Kernels 
The novel supervised learning method of vertex discriminant analysis (VDA) has been demonstrated for its good performance in multicategory classification. The current paper explores an elaboration of VDA for nonlinear discrimination. By incorporating reproducing kernels, VDA can be generalized from linear discrimination to nonlinear discrimination. Our numerical experiments show that the new reproducing kernel-based method leads to accurate classification for both linear and nonlinear cases.
PMCID: PMC3510707  PMID: 23205165
Gaussian reproducing kernels; nonlinear classifier; regular simplex; reproducing kernel Hilbert space
20.  Docosahexaenoic acid induces autophagy through p53/AMPK/mTOR signaling and promotes apoptosis in human cancer cells harboring wild-type p53 
Autophagy  2011;7(11):1348-1358.
Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) has been reported to induce tumor cell death by apoptosis. However, little is known about the effects of DHA on autophagy, another complex well-programmed process characterized by the sequestration of cytoplasmic material within autophagosomes. Here we show that DHA increased both the level of microtubule-associated protein 1 light chain 3 and the number of autophagic vacuoles without impairing autophagic vesicle turnover, indicating that DHA induces not only apoptosis but also autophagy. We also observed that DHA-induced autophagy was accompanied by p53 loss. Inhibition of p53 increased DHA-induced autophagy and prevention of p53 degradation significantly led to the attenuation of DHA-induced autophagy, suggesting that DHA-induced autophagy is mediated by p53. Further experiments showed that the mechanism of DHA-induced autophagy associated with p53 attenuation involved an increase in the active form of AMP-activated protein kinase and a decrease in the activity of mammalian target of rapamycin. In addition, compelling evidence for the interplay between autophagy and apoptosis induced by DHA is supported by the findings that autophagy inhibition suppressed apoptosis and further autophagy induction enhanced apoptosis in response to DHA treatment. Overall, our results demonstrate that autophagy contributes to the cytotoxicity of DHA in cancer cells harboring wild-type p53.
PMCID: PMC3242799  PMID: 21811093
DHA; autophagy; apoptosis; p53; cancer; mTOR; AMPK; p27
21.  Microsomal prostaglandin E synthase-1 (mPGES-1) promotes hepatocarcinogenesis through activation of a novel EGR1/β-catenin signaling axis 
Oncogene  2011;31(7):842-857.
Microsomal prostaglandin E synthase-1 (mPGES-1) is a key enzyme that couples with cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) for the production of PGE2. Although COX-2 is known to mediate the growth and progression of several human cancers including hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), the role of mPGES-1 in hepatocarcinogenesis is not well established. This study provides novel evidence for a key role of mPGES-1 in HCC growth and progression. Forced overexpression of mPGES-1 in two HCC cell lines (Hep3B and Huh7) increased tumor cell growth, clonogenic formation, migration and invasion, whereas knockdown of mPGES-1 inhibited these parameters, in vitro. In a SCID mouse tumor xenograft model, mPGES-1 overexpressed cells formed palpable tumors at earlier time points and developed larger tumors when compared to the control (p<0.01); in contrast, mPGES-1 knockdown delayed tumor development and reduced tumor size (p<0.01). Mechanistically, mPGES-1-induced HCC cell proliferation, invasion and migration involve PGE2 production and activation of early growth response 1 (EGR1) and β-catenin. Specifically, mPGES-1-derived PGE2 induces the formation of EGR1-β-catenin complex, which interacts with TCF4/LEF1 transcription factors and activates the expression of β-catenin downstream genes. Our findings depict a novel crosstalk between mPGES-1/PGE2 and EGR1/β-catenin signaling that is critical for hepatocarcinogenesis.
PMCID: PMC3193853  PMID: 21743491
Microsomal prostaglandin E synthase-1 (mPGES-1); β-catenin; early growth response 1 (EGR1); hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC); liver
22.  The outcomes of family haploidentical hematopoietic stem cell transplantation in hematological malignancies are not associated with patient age 
Haploidentical hematopoietic cell transplantation (HCT) has been used to treat hematologic malignancies but it is unknown whether the procedure is more effective in adults or children. To address this question, we analyzed patients aged 1–65 years old receiving myeloablative conditioning regimens followed by family 2 to 3 antigen HLA-mismatched HCT and reported to the Center for International Blood and Marrow Transplant Research (CIBMTR, n=137) or performed in Dao-Pei Hospital in Beijing, China (n=181). The Dao-Pei cohort had more acute and chronic GVHD, less relapse, lower transplant related mortality (TRM) and better leukemia-free survival (LFS) than the CIBMTR cohort. Overall survival (OS) and outcomes were similar between adults and children. In the CIBMTR cohort receiving ex vivo T cell depletion (TCD), adults had higher TRM (RR 2.71, 95% CI 1.29–5.69, p=0.008) and lower overall survival (RR 1.75, 95%CI 1.08–2.84, p=0.023) than children. In the CIBMTR subset that did not receive ex vivo TCD, relapse was lower in adults compared to children (RR 0.24, 95% CI 0.07–0.80, p=0.020) but TRM, LFS and OS were similar. We conclude that outcomes in adults and children are similar overall, although children have better survival than adults if ex vivo TCD is used.
PMCID: PMC3113644  PMID: 21193055
HLA-mismatched; haploidentical; blood and marrow transplantation; leukemia; antithymocyte globulin
23.  Microsomal Prostaglandin E Synthase-1 Inhibits PTEN and Promotes Experimental Cholangiocarcinogenesis and Tumor Progression 
Gastroenterology  2011;140(7):2084-2094.
Background & Aims
Microsomal prostaglandin E synthase-1 (mPGES-1) is a rate-limiting enzyme that is coupled with cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) in the synthesis of prostaglandin E2 (PGE2). Although COX-2 is involved in development and progression of various human cancers, the role of mPGES-1 in carcinogenesis has not been determined. We investigated the role of mPGES-1 in human cholangiocarcinoma growth.
We used immunohistochemical analyses to examine the expression of mPGES-1 in formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded human cholangiocarcinoma tissues. The effects of mPGES-1 on human cholangiocarcinoma cells were determined in vitro and in SCID mice. Immunoblotting and immunoprecipitation assays were performed to determine the levels of PTEN and related signaling molecules in human cholangiocarcinoma cells with overexpression or knockdown of mPGES-1.
mPGES-1 is overexpressed in human cholangiocarcinoma tissues. Overexpression of mPGES-1 in human cholangiocarcinoma cells increased tumor cell proliferation, migration, invasion, and colony formation; in contrast, RNAi knockdown of mPGES-1 inhibited tumor growth parameters. In SCID mice with tumor xenografts, mPGES-1 overexpression accelerated tumor formation and increased tumor weight (P<0.01), whereas mPGES-1 knockdown delayed tumor formation and reduced tumor weight (P<0.01). mPGES-1 inhibited the expression of PTEN, leading to activation of the EGFR–PI3K–AKT–mTOR signaling pathways in cholangiocarcinoma cells. mPGES-1–mediated inhibition of PTEN is regulated through blocking of EGR-1 sumoylation and binding to the 5′-UTR of the PTEN gene.
mPGES-1 promotes experimental cholangiocarcinogenesis and tumor progression by inhibiting PTEN.
PMCID: PMC3109169  PMID: 21354147
cancer cell signaling; biliary tract cancer; bile duct; liver
24.  The Differential Proliferative Ability of Satellite Cells in Lantang and Landrace Pigs 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(3):e32537.
Here, for the first time, we evaluate the hypothesis that the proliferative abilities of satellite cells (SCs) isolated from Lantang (indigenous Chinese pigs) and Landrace pigs, which differ in muscle characteristics, are different. SCs were isolated from the longissimus dorsi muscle of neonatal Lantang and Landrace pigs. Proliferative ability was estimated by the count and proliferative activity of viable cells using a hemocytometer and MTT assay at different time points after seeding, respectively. Cell cycle information was detected by flow cytometry. Results showed that there was a greater (P<0.05) number of SCs in Lantang pigs compared with Landrace pigs after 72 h of culture. The percentage of cell population in S phase and G2/M phases in Lantang pigs were higher (P<0.05), while in G0/G1 phase was lower (P<0.05) in comparison with the Landrace pigs. The mRNA abundances of MyoD, Myf5, myogenin and Pax7 in SCs from Lantang pigs were higher (P<0.05), while those of myostatin, Smad3 and genes in the mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) pathway (with the exception of 4EBP1) were lower (P<0.05) than the Landrace pigs. Protein levels of MyoD, myogenin, myostatin, S6K, phosphorylated mTOR and phosphorylated eIF4E were consistent with the corresponding mRNA abundance. Collectively, these findings suggested that SCs in the two breeds present different proliferative abilities, and the proliferative potential of SCs in Lantang pigs is higher than in Landrace pigs.
PMCID: PMC3302802  PMID: 22427853

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