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1.  Predictors of Percutaneous Catheter Drainage (PCD) after Abdominal Paracentesis Drainage (APD) in Patients with Moderately Severe or Severe Acute Pancreatitis along with Fluid Collections 
PLoS ONE  2015;10(2):e0115348.
Although we previously demonstrated abdominal paracentesis drainage (APD) preceding percutaneous catheter drainage (PCD) as the central step for treating patients with moderately severe (MSAP) or severe acute pancreatitis (SAP), the predictors leading to PCD after APD have not been studied.
Consecutive patients with MSAP or SAP were recruited between June 2011 and June 2013. As a step-up approach, all patients initially received medical management, later underwent ultrasound-guided APD before PCD, if necessary, followed by endoscopic necrosectomy through the path formed by PCD. APD primarily targeted fluid in the abdominal or pelvic cavities, whereas PCD aimed at (peri)pancreatic fluid.
Of the 92 enrolled patients, 40 were managed with APD alone and 52 received PCD after APD (14 required necrosectomy after initial PCD). The overall mortality was 6.5%. Univariate analysis showed that among the 20 selected parameters, 13 factors significantly affected PCD intervention after APD. Multivariate analysis revealed that infected (peri)pancreatic collections (P = -0.001), maximum extent of necrosis of more than 30% of the pancreas (P = -0.024), size of the largest necrotic peri(pancreatic) collection (P = -0.007), and reduction of (peri)pancreatic fluid collections by <50% after APD (P = -0.008) were all independent predictors of PCD.
Infected (peri)pancreatic collections, a largest necrotic peri(pancreatic) collection of more than 100 ml, and reduction of (peri)pancreatic fluid collections by <50% after APD could effectively predict the need for PCD in the early course of the disease.
PMCID: PMC4319763  PMID: 25659143
2.  Using the Plasmon Linewidth to Calculate the Time and Efficiency of Electron Transfer between Gold Nanorods and Graphene 
ACS nano  2013;7(12):11209-11217.
We present a quantitative analysis of the electron transfer between single gold nanorods and monolayer graphene under no electrical bias. Using single particle dark-field scattering and photoluminescence spectroscopy to access the homogenous linewidth, we observe broadening of the surface plasmon resonance for gold nanorods on graphene compared to nanorods on a quartz substrate. Because of the absence of spectral plasmon shifts, dielectric interactions between the gold nanorods and graphene are not important and we instead assign the plasmon damping to charge transfer between plasmon-generated hot electrons and the graphene that acts as an efficient acceptor. Analysis of the plasmon linewidth yields an average electron transfer time of 160 ± 30 fs, which is otherwise difficult to measure directly in the time domain with single particle sensitivity. In comparison to intrinsic hot electron decay and radiative relaxation, we furthermore calculate from the plasmon linewidth that charge transfer between the gold nanorods and the graphene support occurs with an efficiency of ~ 10%. Our results are important for future applications of light harvesting with metal nanoparticle plasmons and efficient hot electron acceptors as well as for understanding hot electron transfer in plasmon-assisted chemical reactions.
PMCID: PMC3932108  PMID: 24266755
Plasmon damping; hot electrons; one-photon photoluminescence; single particle spectroscopy; surface plasmon resonance; graphene; plasmon linewidth
3.  Ultrasound-targeted stromal cell-derived factor-1-loaded microbubble destruction promotes mesenchymal stem cell homing to kidneys in diabetic nephropathy rats 
Mesenchymal stem cell (MSC) therapy has been considered a promising strategy to cure diabetic nephropathy (DN). However, insufficient MSCs can settle in injured kidneys, which constitute one of the major barriers to the effective implementation of MSC therapy. Stromal cell-derived factor-1 (SDF-1) plays a vital role in MSC migration and involves activation, mobilization, homing, and retention, which are presumably related to the poor homing in DN therapy. Ultrasound-targeted microbubble destruction has become one of the most promising strategies for the targeted delivery of drugs and genes. To improve MSC homing to DN kidneys, we present a strategy to increase SDF-1 via ultrasound-targeted microbubble destruction. In this study, we developed SDF-1-loaded microbubbles (MBSDF-1) via covalent conjugation. The characterization and bioactivity of MBSDF-1 were assessed in vitro. Target release in the targeted kidneys was triggered with diagnostic ultrasound in combination with MBSDF-1. The related bioeffects were also elucidated. Early DN was induced in rats with streptozotocin. Green fluorescent protein-labeled MSCs were transplanted intravenously following the target release of SDF-1 in the kidneys of normal and DN rats. The homing efficacy was assessed by detecting the implanted exogenous MSCs at 24 hours. The in vitro results showed an impressive SDF-1 loading efficacy of 79% and a loading content of 15.8 μg/mL. MBSDF-1 remained bioactive as a chemoattractant. In the in vivo study, SDF-1 was successfully released in the targeted kidneys. The homing efficacy of MSCs to DN kidneys after the target release of SDF-1 was remarkably ameliorated at 24 hours compared with control treatments in normal rats and DN rats. In conclusion, ultrasound-targeted MBSDF-1 destruction could promote the homing of MSCs to early DN kidneys and provide a novel potential therapeutic approach for DN kidney repair.
PMCID: PMC4263441  PMID: 25516709
mesenchymal stem cell; ultrasound; microbubbles; homing; stromal cell-derived factor-1; diabetic nephropathy
4.  Formation of quantum spin Hall state on Si surface and energy gap scaling with strength of spin orbit coupling 
Scientific Reports  2014;4:7102.
For potential applications in spintronics and quantum computing, it is desirable to place a quantum spin Hall insulator [i.e., a 2D topological insulator (TI)] on a substrate while maintaining a large energy gap. Here, we demonstrate a unique approach to create the large-gap 2D TI state on a semiconductor surface, based on first-principles calculations and effective Hamiltonian analysis. We show that when heavy elements with strong spin orbit coupling (SOC) such as Bi and Pb atoms are deposited on a patterned H-Si(111) surface into a hexagonal lattice, they exhibit a 2D TI state with a large energy gap of ≥0.5 eV. The TI state arises from an intriguing substrate orbital filtering effect that selects a suitable orbital composition around the Fermi level, so that the system can be matched onto a four-band effective model Hamiltonian. Furthermore, it is found that within this model, the SOC gap does not increase monotonically with the increasing strength of SOC. These interesting results may shed new light in future design and fabrication of large-gap topological quantum states.
PMCID: PMC4236754  PMID: 25407432
5.  Peroxisome Proliferator-Activated Receptor γ Deficiency in T Cells Accelerates Chronic Rejection by Influencing the Differentiation of CD4+ T Cells and Alternatively Activated Macrophages 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(11):e112953.
In a previous study, activation of the peroxisome proliferator–activated receptor γ (PPARγ) inhibited chronic cardiac rejection. However, because of the complexity of chronic rejection and the fact that PPARγ is widely expressed in immune cells, the mechanism of the PPARγ - induced protective effect was unclear.
Materials and Methods
A chronic rejection model was established using B6.C-H-2bm12KhEg (H-2bm12) mice as donors, and MHC II-mismatched T-cell-specific PPARγ knockout mice or wild type (WT) littermates as recipients. The allograft lesion was assessed by histology and immunohistochemistry. T cells infiltrates in the allograft were isolated, and cytokines and subpopulations were detected using cytokine arrays and flow cytometry. Transcription levels in the allograft were measured by RT-PCR. In vitro, the T cell subset differentiation was investigated after culture in various polarizing conditions. PPARγ-deficient regularory T cells (Treg) were cocultured with monocytes to test their ability to induce alternatively activated macrophages (AAM).
T cell-specific PPARγ knockout recipients displayed reduced cardiac allograft survival and an increased degree of pathology compared with WT littermates. T cell-specific PPARγ knockout resulted in more CD4+ T cells infiltrating into the allograft and altered the Th1/Th2 and Th17/Treg ratios. The polarization of AAM was also reduced by PPARγ deficiency in T cells through the action of Th2 and Treg. PPARγ-deficient T cells eliminated the pioglitazone-induced polarization of AAM and reduced allograft survival.
PPARγ-deficient T cells influenced the T cell subset and AAM polarization in chronic allograft rejection. The mechanism of PPARγ activation in transplantation tolerance could yield a novel treatment without side effects.
PMCID: PMC4226585  PMID: 25383620
6.  A Meta-Analysis of Unilateral versus Bilateral Pedicle Screw Fixation in Minimally Invasive Lumbar Interbody Fusion 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(11):e111979.
Study Design
Bilateral pedicle screw fixation (PS) after lumbar interbody fusion is a widely accepted method of managing various spinal diseases. Recently, unilateral PS fixation has been reported as effective as bilateral PS fixation. This meta-analysis aimed to comparatively assess the efficacy and safety of unilateral PS fixation and bilateral PS fixation in the minimally invasive (MIS) lumbar interbody fusion for one-level degenerative lumbar spine disease.
MEDLINE/PubMed, EMBASE, BIOSIS Previews, and Cochrane Library were searched through March 30, 2014. Randomized controlled trials (RCTs) and controlled clinical trials (CCTs) on unilateral versus bilateral PS fixation in MIS lumbar interbody fusion that met the inclusion criteria and the methodological quality standard were retrieved and reviewed. Data on participant characteristics, interventions, follow-up period, and outcomes were extracted from the included studies and analyzed by Review Manager 5.2.
Six studies (5 RCTs and 1 CCT) involving 298 patients were selected. There were no significant differences between unilateral and bilateral PS fixation procedures in fusion rate, complications, visual analogue score (VAS) for leg pain, VAS for back pain, Oswestry disability index (ODI). Both fixation procedures had similar length of hospital stay (MD = 0.38, 95% CI = −0.83 to 1.58; P = 0.54). In contrast, bilateral PS fixation was associated with significantly more intra-operative blood loss (P = 0.002) and significantly longer operation time (P = 0.02) as compared with unilateral PS fixation.
Unilateral PS fixation appears as effective and safe as bilateral PS fixation in MIS lumbar interbody fusion but requires less operative time and causes less blood loss, thus offering a simple alternative approach for one-level lumbar degenerative disease.
PMCID: PMC4223107  PMID: 25375315
7.  Conformational Dynamics inside Amino-Terminal Disease Hotspot of Ryanodine Receptor 
Structure (London, England : 1993)  2013;21(11):10.1016/j.str.2013.09.004.
The N-terminal region of both skeletal and cardiac ryanodine receptor is a disease mutation hotspot. Recently, a crystal structure of the RyR1 fragment (residues 1-559) was solved. This N-terminal structure contains three separate domains, A, B, and C, and was docked into a central vestibule in a full-length RyR1 cryo-EM map. Here we reconstructed 3D cryo-EM structures of two GFP-tagged RyR2s with GFP inserted after residue Glu-310 and Ser-437, respectively. The structures of RyR2E310-GFP and RyR2S437-GFP displayed an extra mass on domain B and C, directly validating the predicted docking model. Next, we revealed domain movements in molecular dynamics flexible fitting models in both the closed and open state cryo-EM maps. To further probe the conformational changes, we generated FRET pairs by inserting CFP or YFP in two selected domains, FRET studies of three dual-insertion pairs and three co-expressed single-insertion pairs showed the dynamic structural changes within the N-terminal domains.
PMCID: PMC3826818  PMID: 24139989
8.  Microbubbles coupled to methotrexate-loaded liposomes for ultrasound-mediated delivery of methotrexate across the blood–brain barrier 
Methotrexate (MTX) is the single most effective agent for the treatment of primary central nervous system lymphoma. Currently, the delivery of MTX to the brain is achieved by high systemic doses, which cause severe long-term neurotoxicity, or intrathecal administration, which is highly invasive and may lead to infections or hemorrhagic complications. Acoustically active microbubbles have been developed as drug carriers for the noninvasive and brain-targeted delivery of therapeutics. However, their application is limited by their low drug-loading capacity. To overcome this limitation, we prepared microbubbles coupled to MTX-loaded liposomes using ZHIFUXIAN, a novel type of microbubbles with a superior safety profile and long circulation time. MTX-liposome-coupled microbubbles had a high drug-loading capacity of 8.91%±0.86%, and their size (2.64±0.93 μm in diameter) was suitable for intravenous injection. When used with ultrasound, they showed more potent in vitro cytotoxicity against Walker-256 cancer cells than MTX alone or MTX-loaded liposomes. When Sprague-Dawley rats were exposed to sonication, administration of these MTX-liposome-coupled microbubbles via the tail vein led to targeted disruption of the blood–brain barrier without noticeable tissue or capillary damage. High-performance liquid chromatography analysis of the brain MTX concentration showed that MTX delivery to the brain followed the order of MTX-liposome-coupled microbubbles + ultrasound (25.3±2.4 μg/g) > unmodified ZHIFUXIAN + MTX + ultrasound (18.6±2.2 μg/g) > MTX alone (6.97±0.75 μg/g) > MTX-liposome-coupled microbubbles (2.92±0.39 μg/g). Therefore, treatment with MTX-liposome-coupled microbubbles and ultrasound resulted in a significantly higher brain MTX concentration than all other treatments (P<0.01). These results suggest that MTX-liposome-coupled microbubbles may hold great promise as new and effective therapies for primary central nervous system lymphoma and other central nervous system malignancies.
PMCID: PMC4211917  PMID: 25364248
methotrexate; microbubbles; ultrasound; liposomes; blood–brain barrier
9.  Ileocolonic anastomosis after right hemicolectomy for colon cancer: functional end-to-end or end-to-side? 
The purpose of this study was to compare short-term clinical outcomes of ileocolonic functional end-to-end anastomosis (FEEA) and end-to-side anastomosis (ESA) following resection of the right colon for cancer.
We enrolled 379 patients who underwent ileocolonic anastomosis following resection of the right colon for cancer by a single surgeon, from January 2009 through June 2012. Patient characteristics, operative results, and postoperative complications were analyzed.
A total of 164 patients received ESA and 215 patients received FEEA. The FEEA group had a lower incidence of anastomotic error (0.9% versus 4.3%; P = 0.04) and a shorter operating time (140.4 ± 14.9 min versus 150.5 ± 20.1 min; P = 0.001). The length of hospital stay (10.9 ± 3.5 days versus 11.3 ± 4.0 days; P = 0.36) and anastomotic leakage (1.8% versus 0.5%; P = 0.20) were similar in both groups. No relevant differences between FEEA and ESA were observed for blood loss, retrieved lymph nodes, first flatus and postoperative complications.
An FEEA after right hemicolectomy for colon cancer is a safe and reliable anastomotic technique, resulting in a favorable outcome in selected patients with the right colon cancer.
PMCID: PMC4198793  PMID: 25287418
anastomosis; colon cancer; right hemicolectomy
10.  Improving Mycobacterium bovis Bacillus Calmette-Guèrin as a Vaccine Delivery Vector for Viral Antigens by Incorporation of Glycolipid Activators of NKT Cells 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(9):e108383.
Recombinant Mycobacterium bovis bacillus Calmette-Guèrin (rBCG) has been explored as a vector for vaccines against HIV because of its ability to induce long lasting humoral and cell mediated immune responses. To maximize the potential for rBCG vaccines to induce effective immunity against HIV, various strategies are being employed to improve its ability to prime CD8+ T cells, which play an important role in the control of HIV infections. In this study we adopted a previously described approach of incorporating glycolipids that activate CD1d-restricted natural killer T (NKT) cells to enhance priming of CD8+ T cells by rBCG strains expressing an SIV Gag antigen (rBCG-SIV gag). We found that the incorporation of the synthetic NKT activating glycolipid α-galactosylceramide (α-GC) into rBCG-SIV gag significantly enhanced CD8+ T cell responses against an immunodominant Gag epitope, compared to responses primed by unmodified rBCG-SIV gag. The abilities of structural analogues of α-GC to enhance CD8+ T cell responses to rBCG were compared in both wild type and partially humanized mice that express human CD1d molecules in place of mouse CD1d. These studies identified an α-GC analogue known as 7DW8-5, which has previously been used successfully as an adjuvant in non-human primates, as a promising compound for enhancing immunogenicity of antigens delivered by rBCG.vectors. Our findings support the incorporation of synthetic glycolipid activators of NKT cells as a novel approach to enhance the immunogenicity of rBCG-vectored antigens for induction of CD8+ T cell responses. The glycolipid adjuvant 7DW8-5 may be a promising candidate for advancing to non-human primate and human clinical studies for the development of HIV vaccines based on rBCG vectors.
PMCID: PMC4177913  PMID: 25255287
11.  Case Report: Primary Leiomyosarcoma of the breast with unusual metastasis to the femur 
F1000Research  2014;3:211.
With less than 40 cases reported, primary leiomyosarcoma is an extremely rare form of breast cancer (less than 0.0006% of cases) with unpredictable biological behavior that usually presents as a slow growing, mobile mass in middle age women. Most cases are low-grade and are cured by complete excision with wide margins. After surgical resection, late local recurrence and distant hematogenous metastasis to lungs and liver is, however, well-documented. To the best of our knowledge, bone metastasis has never been reported. Here we present a case of primary leiomyosarcoma of the breast metastatic to the femur.
PMCID: PMC4240243  PMID: 25469230
12.  The effect of chronic lymphocytic thyroiditis on patients with thyroid cancer 
The purpose of this study was to investigate the association between chronic lymphocytic thyroiditis (CLT) and malignant tumors of the thyroid.
A retrospective review of 647 patients who underwent thyroid surgery at the Department of Breast and Thyroid Surgery in Anhui Provincial Hospital, China in 2012 was performed. The clinicopathological characteristics of patients with thyroid malignancies and CLT were collected. CLT was diagnosed by histopathological method.
Among 647 patients, 144 patients had thyroid malignancies and 108 patients had been diagnosed with CLT. Moreover, in total, 44 patients had thyroid malignancies coexistent with CLT: forty-one (93.2%) patients had been diagnosed with the papillary thyroid cancer (PTC); two (4.5%) patients suffered from medullary carcinoma; and one (2.3%) patient suffered from lymphoma. The morbidity of thyroid malignancies in patients with CLT was significantly higher than that in patients without CLT (40.7% versus 18.6%; P <0.001). A female preponderance was observed in the patients with CLT compared with those without CLT (P <0.001). There was no statistically significant difference in the tumor size (P = 0.073), multifocality (P = 0.0871), neck lymph node metastasis (P = 0.350), age (P = 0.316), microcarcinoma (P = 0.983) and tumor-node-metastasis (TNM) stage (P = 0.949) between the patients of thyroid malignancies with CLT and without CLT.
Female predominance was observed in patients with CLT. CLT may have no effect on the progression of thyroid malignant tumor. Nevertheless, the influences of CLT on the prognosis of the thyroid carcinoma still need to be investigated with a larger sample size.
PMCID: PMC4162966  PMID: 25179111
Chronic lymphocytic thyroiditis; Thyroid malignancy; Prognosis
13.  Nuclear and cytoplasmic p53 suppress cell invasion by inhibiting respiratory Complex-I activity via Bcl-2 family proteins 
Oncotarget  2014;5(18):8452-8465.
Although the p53 tumor suppressor/transcription factor often accumulates in the cytoplasm of healthy cells, limited information is available on the cytoplasmic function of p53. Here, we show that cytoplasmic p53 suppresses cell invasion by reducing mitochondrial reactive oxygen species (ROS) levels. Analysis revealed that this function is mediated by Bcl-2 family proteins: Cytoplasmic p53 binds Bcl-w, liberating Bax, which then binds ND5, a subunit of respiratory complex-I, thereby suppressing complex-I activity and thus ROS production. The G13289A mutation of ND5, identified in cancer patients, prevents Bax/ND5 interactions and promotes ROS production and cell invasion. We also showed that Bcl-XL and Bak can substitute for Bcl-w and Bax, respectively, regulating complex-I activity and supporting the cytoplasmic function of p53; nuclear p53 also suppresses complex-I activity by inducing Bax expression. Studies in animal models support the notion that p53 and Bcl-2 family proteins exhibit these functions in vivo. This study demonstrates a link between p53 and Bcl-2 proteins as regulators of ROS production and cellular invasiveness, and reveals complex-I, especially ND5, as their functional target.
PMCID: PMC4226696  PMID: 25115399
p53; Bcl-2 family proteins; respiratory complex-I; cell invasion
14.  Agmatine Protects against Zymosan-Induced Acute Lung Injury in Mice by Inhibiting NF-κB-Mediated Inflammatory Response 
BioMed Research International  2014;2014:583736.
Acute lung injury (ALI) is characterized by overwhelming lung inflammation and anti-inflammation treatment is proposed to be a therapeutic strategy for ALI. Agmatine, a cationic polyamine formed by decarboxylation of L-arginine, is an endogenous neuromodulator that plays protective roles in diverse central nervous system (CNS) disorders. Consistent with its neuromodulatory and neuroprotective properties, agmatine has been reported to have beneficial effects on depression, anxiety, hypoxic ischemia, Parkinson's disease, and gastric disorder. In this study, we tested the effect of agmatine on the lung inflammation induced by Zymosan (ZYM) challenge in mice. We found that agmatine treatment relieved ZYM-induced acute lung injury, as evidenced by the reduced histological scores, wet/dry weight ratio, and myeloperoxidase activity in the lung tissue. This was accompanied by reduced levels of TNF-α, IL-1β, and IL-6 in lung and bronchoalveolar lavage fluid and decreased iNOS expression in lung. Furthermore, agmatine inhibited the phosphorylation and degradation of IκB and subsequently blocked the activation of nuclear factor (NF)-κB induced by Zymosan. Taken together, our results showed that agmatine treatment inhibited NF-κB signaling in lungs and protected mice against ALI induced by Zymosan, suggesting agmatine may be a potential safe and effective approach for the treatment of ALI.
PMCID: PMC4163488  PMID: 25243152
15.  Enzymatic Oxidation of Cholesterol: Properties and Functional Effects of Cholestenone in Cell Membranes 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(8):e103743.
Bacterial cholesterol oxidase is commonly used as an experimental tool to reduce cellular cholesterol content. That the treatment also generates the poorly degradable metabolite 4-cholesten-3-one (cholestenone) has received less attention. Here, we investigated the membrane partitioning of cholestenone using simulations and cell biological experiments and assessed the functional effects of cholestenone in human cells. Atomistic simulations predicted that cholestenone reduces membrane order, undergoes faster flip-flop and desorbs more readily from membranes than cholesterol. In primary human fibroblasts, cholestenone was released from membranes to physiological extracellular acceptors more avidly than cholesterol, but without acceptors it remained in cells over a day. To address the functional effects of cholestenone, we studied fibroblast migration during wound healing. When cells were either cholesterol oxidase treated or part of cellular cholesterol was exchanged for cholestenone with cyclodextrin, cell migration during 22 h was markedly inhibited. Instead, when a similar fraction of cholesterol was removed using cyclodextrin, cells replenished their cholesterol content in 3 h and migrated similarly to control cells. Thus, cholesterol oxidation produces long-term functional effects in cells and these are in part due to the generated membrane active cholestenone.
PMCID: PMC4144813  PMID: 25157633
16.  miR-21 induces cell proliferation and suppresses the chemosensitivity in glioblastoma cells via downregulation of FOXO1 
miR-21 shares a potential oncogenic function. The overexpression of miR-21 was common in glioblastoma, which is the most common lethal primary intracranial tumor. The study aimed at miR-21 effect on Glioblastoma cell line A172 of proliferation, apoptosis, and chemosensitivity and its definite mechanism of target gene FOXO1. Effect and mechanism were evaluated by colony forming cell assay, annexin V-FITC/PI apoptosis assay, TUNEL apoptosis assay, luciferase-reporter activities assay, RNA interference, western-blot and Real-Time PCR. The statistics revealed miR-21 promoted A172 cell proliferation and suppressed the chemosensitivity, and also showed that miR-21 could bind with FOXO1 mRNA and prevent FOXO1 translation via its 3’UTR to regulate the function. These findings suggest that miR-21 plays an important role in cell proliferation and chemosensitivity by inhibiting FOXO1, and show much more significance for exploring miR-21 inhibitor in A172 therapy.
PMCID: PMC4161547  PMID: 25232387
miR-21; A172; proliferation; chemosensitivity; FOXO1
17.  Facile Microwave-Assisted Synthesis of Klockmannite CuSe Nanosheets and Their Exceptional Electrical Properties 
Scientific Reports  2014;4:5998.
Klockmannite copper selenide nanosheets (CuSe NSs) are synthesized by a facile microwave-assisted method and fully characterized. The nanosheets have smooth surface and hexagonal shape. The lateral size is 200–500 nm × 400–800 nm and the thickness is 55 ± 20 nm. The current-voltage characteristics of CuSe NS films show unique Ohmic and high-conducting behaviors, comparable to the thermally-deposited gold electrode. The high electrical conductivity of CuSe NSs implies their promising applications in printed electronics and nanodevices. Moreover, the local electrical variation is observed, for the first time, within an individual CuSe NS at low bias voltages (0.1 ~ 3 V) by conductive atomic force microscopy (C-AFM). This is ascribed to the quantum size effect of NS and the presence of Schottky barrier. In addition, the influence of the molar ratio of Cu2+/SeO2, reaction temperature, and reaction time on the growth of CuSe NSs is explored. The template effect of oleylamine and the intrinsic crystal nature of CuSe NS are proposed to account for the growth of hexagonal CuSe NSs.
PMCID: PMC4126004  PMID: 25104467
18.  Crystal structure of DnaT84–153-dT10 ssDNA complex reveals a novel single-stranded DNA binding mode 
Nucleic Acids Research  2014;42(14):9470-9483.
DnaT is a primosomal protein that is required for the stalled replication fork restart in Escherichia coli. As an adapter, DnaT mediates the PriA-PriB-ssDNA ternary complex and the DnaB/C complex. However, the fundamental function of DnaT during PriA-dependent primosome assembly is still a black box. Here, we report the 2.83 Å DnaT84–153-dT10 ssDNA complex structure, which reveals a novel three-helix bundle single-stranded DNA binding mode. Based on binding assays and negative-staining electron microscopy results, we found that DnaT can bind to phiX 174 ssDNA to form nucleoprotein filaments for the first time, which indicates that DnaT might function as a scaffold protein during the PriA-dependent primosome assembly. In combination with biochemical analysis, we propose a cooperative mechanism for the binding of DnaT to ssDNA and a possible model for the assembly of PriA-PriB-ssDNA-DnaT complex that sheds light on the function of DnaT during the primosome assembly and stalled replication fork restart. This report presents the first structure of the DnaT C-terminal complex with ssDNA and a novel model that explains the interactions between the three-helix bundle and ssDNA.
PMCID: PMC4132743  PMID: 25053836
19.  TLR4 Signaling Augments Monocyte Chemotaxis by Regulating G Protein-Coupled Receptor Kinase 2 (GRK2) Translocation 
Monocytes are critical effector cells of the innate immune system that protect the host by migrating to inflammatory sites, differentiating to macrophages and dendritic cells, eliciting immune responses, and killing pathogenic microbes. Monocyte chemoattractant protein 1(MCP-1), also known as CCL2, plays an important role in monocyte activation and migration. Chemotactic function of MCP-1 is mediated by binding to the CCR2 receptor, a member of the G protein-coupled receptor (GPCR) family. Desensitization of GPCR chemokine receptors is an important regulator of the intensity and duration of chemokine stimulation. G protein-coupled receptor kinases (GRKs) induce GPCR phosphorylation, and this leads to GPCR desensitization. Regulation of subcellular localization of GRKs is considered an important early regulatory mechanism of GRK function and subsequent GPCR desensitization. Chemokines and LPS are both present during Gram-negative bacterial infection, and LPS often synergistically exaggerates leukocyte migration in response to chemokines. In this study, we investigated the role of, and mechanism of, LPS-TLR4 signaling on the regulation of monocyte chemotaxis. We demonstrate that LPS augments MCP-1-induced monocyte migration. We also show that LPS, through p38 MAPK signaling, induces phosphorylation of GRK2 at serine 670, which, in turn, suppresses GRK2 translocation to the membrane, thereby preventing GRK2-initiated internalization and desensitization of CCR2 in response to MCP-1. This therefore results in enhanced monocyte migration. These findings reveal a novel function for TLR4 signaling in promoting innate immune cell migration.
PMCID: PMC3702632  PMID: 23772028
CCR2; GPCR; leukocyte migration; MCP-1
20.  The Tumor-Suppressive MicroRNA-135b Targets c-Myc in Osteoscarcoma 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(7):e102621.
Osteosarcoma is the most common primary tumor of the bone. It leads to many deaths because of its rapid proliferation and metastasis. Recent studies have shown that microRNAs are important gene regulators that are involved in various cancer-related processes. In this study, we found that miR-135b was down-regulated in both osteoscarcoma patient tumor tissues and osteoscarcoma cell lines in comparison to paired adjacent non-tumor bone tissue. We observed that a lower level of miR-135b was associated with metastasis. The ectopic expression of miR-135b markedly suppressed osteoscarcoma cell proliferation, migration, and invasion. Conversely, the inhibition of miR-135b expression dramatically accelerated cell proliferation, migration, and invasion. The forced expression of miR-135b in osteosarcoma cells resulted in a significant reduction in the protein level of c-Myc and repressed the activity of a luciferase reporter that contained the 3′-untranslated region of the c-Myc mRNA. These effects were abolished by the mutation of the predicted miR-135b-binding site, which indicates that c-Myc may be a miR-135b target gene. Moreover, the ectopic expression of c-Myc partially reversed the inhibition of cell proliferation and invasion that was caused by miR-135b. These data therefore suggest that miR-135b may function as a tumor suppressor to regulate osteosarcoma cell proliferation and invasion through a mechanism that targets the c-Myc oncogene. These findings indicate that miR-135b may play a role in the pathogenesis of osteosarcoma.
PMCID: PMC4099365  PMID: 25025684
21.  Purification, crystallization and preliminary X-ray diffraction analysis of the effector protein PevD1 from Verticillium dahliae  
The overexpression, purification, crystallization and preliminary X-ray diffraction analysis of protein elicitor PevD1 from Verticillium dahliae are reported.
The effector protein PevD1 from the pathogenic fungus Verticillium dahliae was purified and crystallized using the hanging-drop vapour-diffusion method. Native crystals appeared in a solution consisting of 4.0 M sodium formate. A native data set was collected at 1.9 Å resolution at 100 K using an in-house X-ray source. Because of the absence of useful methinione in the protein sequence, derivative crystals that contained iodine were obtained by soaking in 1.25 M potassium iodide, and a data set that contained anomalous signal was collected using the same X-ray facility at a wavelength of 1.54 Å. The single-wavelength anomalous dispersion method was used to successfully solve the structure based on the anomalous signal generated from iodine.
PMCID: PMC3388926  PMID: 22750869
PevD1; effector proteins; Verticillium dahliae
22.  ATRA-Induced Cellular Differentiation and CD38 Expression Inhibits Acquisition of BCR-ABL Mutations for CML Acquired Resistance 
PLoS Genetics  2014;10(6):e1004414.
Acquired resistance through genetic mutations is a major obstacle in targeted cancer therapy, but the underlying mechanisms are poorly understood. Here we studied mechanisms of acquired resistance of chronic myeloid leukemia (CML) to tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKIs) by examining genome-wide gene expression changes in KCL-22 CML cells versus their resistant KCL-22M cells that acquire T315I BCR-ABL mutation following TKI exposure. Although T315I BCR-ABL is sufficient to confer resistance to TKIs in CML cells, surprisingly we found that multiple drug resistance pathways were activated in KCL-22M cells along with reduced expression of a set of myeloid differentiation genes. Forced myeloid differentiation by all-trans-retinoic acid (ATRA) effectively blocked acquisition of BCR-ABL mutations and resistance to the TKIs imatinib, nilotinib or dasatinib in our previously described in vitro models of acquired TKI resistance. ATRA induced robust expression of CD38, a cell surface marker and cellular NADase. High levels of CD38 reduced intracellular nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD+) levels and blocked acquired resistance by inhibiting the activity of the NAD+-dependent SIRT1 deacetylase that we have previously shown to promote resistance in CML cells by facilitating error-prone DNA damage repair. Consequently, ATRA treatment decreased DNA damage repair and suppressed acquisition of BCR-ABL mutations. This study sheds novel insight into mechanisms underlying acquired resistance in CML, and suggests potential benefit of combining ATRA with TKIs in treating CML, particularly in advanced phases.
Author Summary
Acquired resistance through genetic mutations is a major mechanism for cancer drug resistance and accounts for the short life of targeted therapy in several types of human cancer. Mechanistically, however, very little is understood about how resistant mutations are actually acquired during cancer therapy. In this manuscript, we used chronic myelogenous leukemia (CML) as a disease model and showed that mutation acquisition process is accompanied by global genome transcriptional reprogramming and reduction of cellular differentiation status. Forced cell differentiation by all-trans retinoic acid (ATRA) potently blocks acquisition of genetic mutations and CML acquired resistance. ATRA effect is mediated, in part, through stimulating CD38 gene expression, which reduces cellular cofactor nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD+) content and thus the activity of NAD+-dependent protein deacetylase SIRT1 that promotes error-prone DNA damage repair and mutagenesis. Our findings provide novel insight of mutation acquisition process during targeted therapy for CML. This study has translational implication in clinical treatment of CML, and perhaps other malignancies, by combining a differentiation agent to overcome mutation-mediated drug resistance if possible.
PMCID: PMC4072521  PMID: 24967705
23.  Preparation of Anti-Tumor Nanoparticle and Its Inhibition to Peritoneal Dissemination of Colon Cancer 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(6):e98455.
5-Fluorouracil (5-FU) is one of the most classic chemotherapy drugs. Nanoparticle drug delivery vehicles offer superiority over target effect enhancement and abatement of side effects. Little is known however as to the specific effect of nanoparticle on peritoneal dissemination of colon cancer. The aim of this study is to prepare one NPs (nanoparticles) loaded with 5-FU and investigate the characteristic of NPs and the role of it in peritoneal metastasis nodules formation of human colon cancer.
Methodology/Principal Findings
Prepared the NPs (nanoparticles) loaded with 5-FU (5-Fluorouracil) by PEG-PLGA with the method of double emulsion. Then evaluate the characteristics of the NPs by scanning electron microscopy, analyzing the particle diameter distribution and determining the loading efficiency. Detect the release features of NPs in vitro and in vivo. Nude mice with peritoneal metastases were treated with 5-FU solution or 5-FU-NPs through peritoneal cavity. Count the nodules on peritoneum and mesenterium and survey the size of them. We got NPs with average-diameter of 310 nm. In vitro release test shows NPs can release equably for 5 days with release rate of 99.2%. In vivo, NPs group can keep higher plasma concentration of 5-FU longer than it in solution group. The number of peritoneal dissemination nodule below 1 mm in 5-FU-sol group(17.3±3.5) and 5-FU-NP group(15.2±3.2) is less than control group(27.2±4.7)(P<0.05). The total number of nodules in 5-FU-NP group(28.7±4.2) is significantly smaller than in 5-FU-sol group(37.7±6.3) (P<0.05).
The novel anti-tumor nanoparticles loaded with 5-FU by PEG-PLGA can release maintain 5 days and have inhibitory action to peritoneal dissemination of colon cancer in mice.
PMCID: PMC4045714  PMID: 24896096
24.  Deformed grids for single-particle cryo-electron microscopy of specimens exhibiting a preferred orientation 
Journal of structural biology  2013;182(3):255-258.
For biological samples showing a preferred orientation on the carbon support film of an electron microscope (EM) grid, accurate three-dimensional (3D) reconstructions by single-particle cryo-EM require data collection in which the specimen grids are tilted in the microscope, to obtain adequate numbers of particles that cover the high-degree angular distribution. However, image drift caused by the electron beam interacting with the cryo specimen becomes severe when grids are tilted to high angles (> 30°). We produced deformed grids by applying a deliberate mechanical deformation to EM grids containing a thin carbon film supported by a thick holey carbon film. We applied cryo-EM using deformed grids to the isolated cardiac ryanodine receptor, an ion channel complex known to assume a preferred orientation on the carbon support film. These grids contained more particles having high Euler angle orientations without the need to tilt the specimen grids. Meanwhile, the drifting that was apparent in the images was reduced from that typical of images from tilted regular EM grids. This was achieved by imaging particles in holes close to the deformed areas, where carbon films were locally bent, offering planes of inclination with various angles. The deformed grids improve the efficiency and quality of data collection for single-pahrticle cryo-EM of samples showing a limited range of orientations.
PMCID: PMC3665629  PMID: 23537848
single-particle cryo-EM; deformed EM grids; preferred orientation; ryanodine receptor
25.  Chlorella zofingiensis as an Alternative Microalgal Producer of Astaxanthin: Biology and Industrial Potential 
Marine Drugs  2014;12(6):3487-3515.
Astaxanthin (3,3′-dihydroxy-β,β-carotene-4,4′-dione), a high-value ketocarotenoid with a broad range of applications in food, feed, nutraceutical, and pharmaceutical industries, has been gaining great attention from science and the public in recent years. The green microalgae Haematococcus pluvialis and Chlorella zofingiensis represent the most promising producers of natural astaxanthin. Although H. pluvialis possesses the highest intracellular astaxanthin content and is now believed to be a good producer of astaxanthin, it has intrinsic shortcomings such as slow growth rate, low biomass yield, and a high light requirement. In contrast, C. zofingiensis grows fast phototrophically, heterotrophically and mixtrophically, is easy to be cultured and scaled up both indoors and outdoors, and can achieve ultrahigh cell densities. These robust biotechnological traits provide C. zofingiensis with high potential to be a better organism than H. pluvialis for mass astaxanthin production. This review aims to provide an overview of the biology and industrial potential of C. zofingiensis as an alternative astaxanthin producer. The path forward for further expansion of the astaxanthin production from C. zofingiensis with respect to both challenges and opportunities is also discussed.
PMCID: PMC4071588  PMID: 24918452
astaxanthin; Chlorella zofingiensis; fed-batch; genetic engineering; mass cultivation; microalgae; stress

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