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1.  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
2.  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
3.  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
4.  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
5.  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
6.  Synthesis of (S)-FTY720 vinylphosphonate analogues and evaluation of their potential as sphingosine kinase 1 inhibitors and activators 
Bioorganic & medicinal chemistry  2013;21(9):2503-2510.
Sphingosine kinase 1 (SK1) is over-expressed in many cancers where it provides a selective growth and survival advantage to these cells. SK1 is thus a target for anti-cancer agents that can promote apoptosis of cancer cells. In previous work, we synthesized a novel allosteric SK1 inhibitor, (S)-FTY720 vinylphosphonate. We now report a more expeditious route to this inhibitor which features B-alkyl Suzuki coupling as a key step and show that replacement of the amino group in (S)-FTY720 vinylphosphonate with an azido group converts the vinylphosphonate from an allosteric inhibitor to an activator of SK1 at low micromolar concentrations. Our results demonstrate the feasibility of using the (S)-FTY720 vinylphosphonate scaffold to define structure-activity relationships in the allosteric site of SK1.
PMCID: PMC3627827  PMID: 23541833
Sphingosine 1-phosphate; B-alkyl Suzuki cross-coupling; FTY720; Epoxide opening; Allosterism
7.  Hemostatic Effects of Microbubble-Enhanced Low-Intensity Ultrasound in a Liver Avulsion Injury Model 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(5):e95589.
Microbubble-enhanced therapeutic ultrasound (MEUS) can block the blood flow in the organs. The aim of this study was to evaluate the hemostatic effect of microbubble-enhanced pulsed, low-intensity ultrasound in a New Zealand White rabbit model of avulsion trauma of the liver. The therapeutic ultrasound (TUS) transducer was operated with the frequency of 1.2 MHz and an acoustic pressure of 3.4 MPa. Microbubble-(MB) enhanced ultrasound (MEUS) (n = 6) was delivered to the distal part of the liver where the avulsion was created. Livers were treated by TUS only (n = 4) or MB only (n = 4) which served as controls. Bleeding rates were measured and contrast enhanced ultrasound (CEUS) was performed to assess the hemostatic effect, and liver hemoperfusion before and after treatment. Generally, bleeding rates decreased more than 10-fold after the treatment with MEUS compared with those of the control group (P<0.05). CEUS showed significant declines in perfusion. The peak intensity value and the area under the curve also decreased after insonation compared with those of the control group (P<0.05). Histological examination showed cloudy and swollen hepatocytes, dilated hepatic sinusoids, perisinusoidal spaces with erythrocyte accumulation in small blood vessels, obvious hemorrhage around portal areas and scattered necrosis in liver tissues within the insonation area of MEUS Group. In addition, necrosis was found in liver tissue 48 h after insonation. We conclude that MEUS might provide an effective hemostatic therapy for serious organ trauma such as liver avulsion injury.
PMCID: PMC4006836  PMID: 24788757
8.  Association of Adiponectin Gene (ADIPOQ) rs2241766 Polymorphism with Obesity in Adults: A Meta-Analysis 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(4):e95270.
Adiponectin plays an important role in regulating glucose levels and fatty acid oxidation. Multiple studies have assessed the association between rs2241766 polymorphism in the adiponectin (ADIPOQ) gene and obesity susceptibility. However, the results are inconsistent and inconclusive. The aim of this meta-analysis was to investigate this association in adults.
Several electronic databases were searched for relevant literature published up to November 2013. Statistical analyses were performed using software Review Manager (Version 5.02) and STATA (Version 10.0). The pooled odds ratios (ORs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) were calculated with a random-effects model or a fixed-effect model depending on heterogeneity among studies. Q tests and Egger’s tests were performed to assess heterogeneity and publication bias. Sensitivity analysis was conducted to confirm the reliability and stability of the meta-analysis.
A total of 2,819 obese and 3,024 controls in 18 case-control studies were included in the meta-analysis. The results indicated that compared with TT genotype, the ADIPOQ-rs2241766 GG genotype was associated with an increased risk for obesity (OR = 1.39, 95% CI: 1.11–1.73, P for heterogeneity = 0.520, I2 = 0%) in overall studies. Whereas, GT genotype was associated with a borderland increased risk for obesity (OR = 1.13, 95% CI: 0.94–1.36, P for heterogeneity = 0.006, I2 = 51%). The susceptibility of obesity was increased based on genotypes of TT
The results of this meta-analysis suggest that the ADIPOQ-rs2241766 G/T polymorphism might be associated with obesity in Chinese studies but not in non-Chinese studies in adults. Better-designed studies that consider confounding factors and assess larger sample sizes with a focus on ADIPOQ-rs2241766G/T polymorphisms and obesity are required in the future.
PMCID: PMC3989273  PMID: 24740426
Objective. This study evaluated the effects of obesity on the function of reproductive organs in male mice and the possible mechanism of male secondary hypogonadism (SH) in obesity. Methods. Ninety-six mice were randomly assigned to three groups: the control group, diet-induced obesity group, and diet-induced obesity resistant group for 8 weeks and 19 weeks. The effects of short- and long-term high-fat diet on the reproductive organs were determined by measuring sperm count and motility, relative testis weight, testosterone level, pathological changes and apoptosis of Leydig cells. Oxidative stress was evaluated by determining malondialdehyde, H2O2, NO levels, and GSH in testis tissues. CAT, SOD, GSH-Px and Nrf2 mRNA were measured by real-time PCR. Results. Short- and long-term high-fat diet decreased sperm count and motility, relative testis weight, testosterone level; decreased CAT, SOD, GSH-Px and Nrf2 mRNA expression; increased MDA, H2O2, NO and leptin levels; inhibited the activity of CAT and GSH-Px enzymes. Pathological injury and apoptosis of Leydig cells were found in testis tissue. Conclusions. Pathological damage of Leydig cells, oxidative stress in testis tissue, and high level of leptin may provide some evidence to clarify the mechanisms of male SH in obesity.
PMCID: PMC4009340  PMID: 24829619
Journal of Virology  2013;87(20):11231-11243.
Rational design and directed evolution are powerful tools to generate and improve protein function; however, their uses are mostly limited to enzyme and antibody engineering. Here we describe a directed-evolution strategy, named the tandem selection and enrichment system (TSES), and its use in generating virus with exclusive specificity for a particular cellular receptor. In TSES, evolving viruses are sequentially and iteratively transferred between two different host cells, one for selection of receptor specificity and the other for enrichment of the fittest virus. By combining rational design and TSES, we generated human epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR)-specific virus 1 (ESV1). ESV1 has the backbone of Sindbis virus (SINV) and displays an EGF domain engrafted onto structural protein E2 after residue Pro192, together with eight amino acid changes stabilizing the E2-EGF chimera. ESV1 uses EGFR to initiate infection and has lost the capacity to interact with all known SINV receptors. A 12.2-Å cryoelectron microscopic (cryoEM) reconstruction of ESV1 reveals that the E2-EGF fusion adopts a fixed conformation, with EGF sitting at the top of the E2 spike; The EGFR binding interface faces outward, and the EGF domain completely masks SINV receptor binding. The cryoEM structure of ESV1 explains the desirable properties of ESV1 and provides insights for its further modification. TSES expands the scope of directed evolution and can be easily extended to other targeting molecules and viral systems.
PMCID: PMC3807306  PMID: 23926357
Curcumin has become a compound of interest for its antioxidant and anti-neoplastic properties. This study sought to determine the effect of curcumin administration on cell proliferation and apoptosis in hepatoma cells. SMMC-7721 hepatoma cells were treated with 10, 30, or 90 μM curcumin solution, with DMEM alone (negative control), or with 20 mg/L fluorouracil (positive control). MTT colorimetry detected significant differences in the rates of cell proliferation inhibition following curcumin treatment, with increasing inhibition accompanying increasing doses of curcumin (P < 0.05), compared to the negative control. Similarly, flow cytometry revealed significant differences in the numbers of apoptotic cells following curcumin treatment: increasing doses of curcumin produced increases in the numbers of apoptotic cells (P < 0.05). To determine whether curcumin exerts these effects by altering the Notch signaling pathway, a phenomenon reported for other cancers, relative expression of Notch1 mRNA and protein were determined in curcumin-treated cells. Both mRNA and protein expression of Notch1 decreased with increasing curcumin dose (P < 0.05). Thus, curcumin appears to inhibit proliferation and induce apoptosis in hepatoma cells by altering the Notch signaling pathway.
PMCID: PMC3992413  PMID: 24753768
Curcumin; hepatoma cell; Notch signal pathway; proliferation; apoptosis
Nature communications  2013;4:2062.
Constitutive NF-κB activation in cancer cells is caused by defects in the signalling network responsible for terminating the NF-κB response. Here we report that plant homeodomain finger protein 20 maintains NF-κB in an active state in the nucleus by inhibiting the interaction between PP2A and p65. We show that plant homeodomain finger protein 20 induces canonical NF-κB signalling by increasing the DNA-binding activity of NF-κB subunit p65. In plant homeodomain finger protein 20-overexpressing cells, the termination of tumour necrosis factor-induced p65 phosphorylation is impaired whereas upstream signalling events triggered by tumour necrosis factor are unaffected. This effect strictly depends on the interaction between plant homeodomain finger protein 20 and methylated lysine residues of p65, which hinders recruitment of PP2A to p65, thereby maintaining p65 in a phosphorylated state. We further show that plant homeodomain finger protein 20 levels correlate with p65 phosphorylation levels in human glioma specimens. Our work identifies plant homeodomain finger protein 20 as a novel regulator of NF-κB activation and suggests that elevated expression of plant homeodomain finger protein 20 may drive constitutive NF-κB activation in some cancers.
PMCID: PMC3942884  PMID: 23797602
Journal of Nematology  2014;46(1):12-17.
Recent advances in precision agriculture technologies and spatial statistics allow realistic, site-specific estimation of nematode damage to field crops and provide a platform for the site-specific delivery of nematicides within individual fields. This paper reviews the spatial statistical techniques that model correlations among neighboring observations and develop a spatial economic analysis to determine the potential of site-specific nematicide application. The spatial econometric methodology applied in the context of site-specific crop yield response contributes to closing the gap between data analysis and realistic site-specific nematicide recommendations and helps to provide a practical method of site-specifically controlling nematodes.
PMCID: PMC3957567  PMID: 24643451
nematode management; precision agriculture; site-specific techniques; spatial autocorrelation; spatial econometrics; yield response function
BMC Immunology  2014;15:9.
Interleukin-10 (IL-10) has an important anti-inflammatory and immunoregulatory function, and its expression is negatively correlated with the development and severity of allergic rhinitis (AR). However, the in vivo effects of exogenous IL-10 on AR have not been studied and the mechanisms underlying the effects of IL-10 have not been fully understood. Here, we investigated the effects of intranasal administration of recombinant mouse (rm) IL-10 on the expression of Th responses and local IL-10 in a mouse model of AR induced by ovalbumin.
Administration of rmIL-10 during challenge significantly reduced the number of eosinophils and mast cells, as well as Type 2 helper T (Th2) and Th17 cell related cytokine and transcription factor levels in the nasal mucosa and nasal lavage fluid in AR mice. The rmIL-10 treatment significantly inhibited the number of IL-10-positive cells and IL-10 mRNA expression in the nasal mucosa in AR mice.
Our results show that exogenous IL-10 administrated in challenge phase alleviates nasal allergic inflammation in AR mice, most likely by inhibiting Th2 and Th17 responses. It can also inhibit local IL-10 levels in the nasal mucosa. Our findings indicate that IL-10 may have the potential as an inhibitor of AR.
PMCID: PMC3939634  PMID: 24568666
Allergic rhinitis; Interleukin-10; Eosinophils; Mast cells; T-cell subsets; Regulatory T cells
BMC Cancer  2014;14:124.
Triple negative breast cancer (TNBC) has higher rates of recurrence and distant metastasis, and poorer outcome as compared to non-TNBC. Aberrant activation of WNT signaling has been detected in TNBC, which might be important for triggering oncogenic conversion of breast epithelial cell. Therefore, we directed our focus on identifying the WNT ligand and its underlying mechanism in TNBC cells.
We performed large-scale analysis of public microarray data to screen the WNT ligands and the clinical significance of the responsible ligand in TNBC. WNT5B was identified and its overexpression in TNBC was confirmed by immunohistochemistry staining, Western blot and ELISA. ShRNA was used to knockdown WNT5B expression (shWNT5B). Cellular functional alteration with shWNT5B treatment was determined by using wound healing assay, mammosphere assay; while cell cycle and apoptosis were examined by flowcytometry. Mitochondrial morphology was photographed by electron microscope. Biological change of mitochondria was detected by RT-PCR and oxygen consumption assay. Activation of WNT pathway and its downstream targets were evaluated by liciferase assay, immunohistochemistry staining and immunoblot analysis. Statistical methods used in the experiments besides microarray analysis was two-tailed t-test.
WNT5B was elevated both in the tumor and the patients’ serum. Suppression of WNT5B remarkably impaired cell growth, migration and mammosphere formation. Additionally, G0/G1 cell cycle arrest and caspase-independent apoptosis was observed. Study of the possible mechanism indicated that these effects occurred through suppression of mitochondrial biogenesis, as evidenced by reduced mitochondrial DNA (MtDNA) and compromised oxidative phosphorylation (OXPHOS). In Vivo and in vitro data uncovered that WNT5B modulated mitochondrial physiology was mediated by MCL1, which was regulated by WNT/β-catenin responsive gene, Myc. Clinic data analysis revealed that both WNT5B and MCL1 are associated with enhanced metastasis and decreased disease-free survival.
All our findings suggested that WNT5B/MCL1 cascade is critical for TNBC and understanding its regulatory apparatus provided valuable insight into the pathogenesis of the tumor development and the guidance for targeting therapeutics.
PMCID: PMC3936852  PMID: 24564888
WNT5B; MCL1; WNT/β-catenin pathway; Triple negative breast cancer (TNBC)
TH17 responses have recently been implicated to play a role in allergic airway diseases, but their local expression in the setting of allergic rhinitis (AR) and their regulation in allergic airway diseases remain unclear.
We sought to investigate the regulatory role of Clara cell 10-kDa protein (CC10), an endogenous regulator of airway inflammation, on TH17 responses in the setting of AR.
Wild-type and homozygous CC10-null mice were used to establish an ovalbumin (OVA)–induced AR model. Human recombinant CC10 was given during sensitization or challenge. TH17 responses in human subjects and mice were examined by using flow cytometry, quantitative RT-PCR assay, immunohistochemistry, and ELISA. The direct effect of CC10 on TH17 cells and CD11c+ dendritic cells (DCs) was studied by means of cell culture. Adoptive transfer was used to examine the influence of CC10-conditioned DCs on airway inflammation. The regulatory effect of CC10 on the expression of the CCL20 gene was tested by using the BEAS-2B cell line.
Compared with those of control subjects, TH17 responses were enhanced in the nasal mucosa of patients with AR. CC10-null mice with AR showed enhanced TH17 responses, and CC10 treatment significantly decreased TH17 responses. CC10 had no direct effect on in vitro TH17 cell differentiation. CC10 could significantly decrease the expression of OX40 ligand, IL-23, and IL-6 but enhance CD86 and TGF-β expression in DCs. Importantly, CC10 was able to inhibit TH17 cell polarization in the presence of OVA-pulsed DCs. CC10 pretreatment inhibited TH17 responses elicited by adoptive transfer of OVA-pulsed DCs. Furthermore, CC10 decreased the expression of CCL20 in BEAS-2B cells induced by inflammatory cytokines.
TH17 responses are enhanced in patients with AR, and CC10 inhibits TH17 responses through modulation of the function of DCs.
PMCID: PMC3633083  PMID: 23273949
Allergic rhinitis; Clara cell 10-kDa protein; dendritic cell; inhibition; TH17 response
Immunity  2014;40(1):105-116.
Many hematopoietic cell types express CD1d and are capable of presenting glycolipid antigens to invariant natural killer T cells (iNKT cells). However, the question of which cells are the principal presenters of glycolipid antigens in vivo remains controversial, and it has been suggested that this might vary depending on the structure of a particular glycolipid antigen. Here we have shown that a single type of cell, the CD8α+ DEC-205+ dendritic cell, was mainly responsible for capturing and presenting a variety of different glycolipid antigens, including multiple forms of α-galactosylceramide that stimulate widely divergent cytokine responses. After glycolipid presentation, these dendritic cells rapidly altered their expression of various costimulatory and coinhibitory molecules in a manner that was dependent on the structure of the antigen. These findings show flexibility in the outcome of two-way communication between CD8α+ dendritic cells and iNKT cells, providing a mechanism for biasing toward either proinflammatory or anti-inflammatory responses.
Graphical Abstract
•Complexes of antigenic glycolipids bound to CD1d have been visualized in situ•A single DC subset predominates in presentation of a variety of glycolipids•Antigen presentation to iNKT cells rapidly alters accessory molecules on APCs•Reciprocal induction of CD70 and PD-L2 controls cytokine bias of iNKT cell responses
PMCID: PMC3895174  PMID: 24412610
Scientific Reports  2014;4:3624.
Predicting how large an earthquake can be, where and when it will strike remains an elusive goal in spite of the ever-increasing volume of data collected by earth scientists. In this paper, we introduce a universal model of fusion-fission processes that can be used to predict earthquakes starting from catalog data. We show how the equilibrium dynamics of this model very naturally explains the Gutenberg-Richter law. Using the high-resolution earthquake catalog of Taiwan between Jan 1994 and Feb 2009, we illustrate how out-of-equilibrium spatio-temporal signatures in the time interval between earthquakes and the integrated energy released by earthquakes can be used to reliably determine the times, magnitudes, and locations of large earthquakes, as well as the maximum numbers of large aftershocks that would follow.
PMCID: PMC3887376  PMID: 24406467
Aromatase inhibitors (AIs) are important drugs for treating postmenopausal patients with hormone receptor (HR)-positive breast cancer. However, acquired resistance to AI therapies is a significant problem. Our study has revealed that the histone deacetylase inhibitor LBH589 treatment abrogated growth of AI-resistant cells in vitro and in vivo, causing cell cycle G2/M arrest, and induced apoptosis. LBH589 treatment also reduce the levels of NF-κB1 which overexpresses when AI-resistance develops. Analyzing paired tumor specimens from 12 patients, we found that NF-κB1 expression was increased in recurrent AI-resistant tumors as compared to the paired primary tumors before AI treatment. This finding was consistent with up-regulated NF-κB1 expression seen in a collection of well-established AI-resistant cell lines. Furthermore, knockdown of NF-κB1 expression significantly suppressed the proliferation of AI-resistant cells. Treatment of AI-resistant cell lines with LBH589 repressed NF-κB1 mRNA and protein expression. In addition, LBH589 treatment abrogated growth of AI-resistant tumors in mice, and was associated with significantly decreased levels of NF-κB1 in tumors. In all, our findings strongly support further investigation of LBH589 as a novel therapeutic strategy for patients with AI-resistant breast cancer, in part by suppressing the NF-κB1 pathway.
PMCID: PMC3637924  PMID: 23160924
Acquired aromatase inhibitor resistance; LBH589; NF-κB1
Theranostics  2014;4(2):201-214.
Neutrophils and monocytes/macrophages (MMs) play important roles in the development of cell-mediated delayed type hypersensitivity (DTH). However, the dynamics of neutrophils and MMs during the DTH reaction and how the immunosuppressant rapamycin modulates their behavior in vivo are rarely reported. Here, we take advantage of multi-scale optical imaging techniques and a footpad DTH reaction model to non-invasively investigate the dynamic behavior and properties of immune cells from the whole field of the footpad to the cellular level. During the classic elicitation phase of the DTH reaction, both neutrophils and MMs obviously accumulated at inflammatory foci at 24 h post-challenge. Rapamycin treatment resulted in advanced neutrophil recruitment and vascular hyperpermeability at an early stage (4 h), the reduced accumulation of neutrophils (> 50% inhibition ratio) at 48 h, and the delayed involvement of MMs in inflammatory foci. The motility parameters of immune cells in the rapamycin-treated reaction at 4 h post-challenge displayed similar mean velocities, arrest durations, mean displacements, and confinements as the classic DTH reaction at 24 h. These results indicate that rapamycin treatment shortened the initial preparation stage of the DTH reaction and attenuated its intensity, which may be due to the involvement of T helper type 2 cells or regulatory T cells.
PMCID: PMC3900803  PMID: 24465276
Delayed type hypersensitivity; fluorescent imaging; motility; rapamycin; neutrophils; monocyte/macrophage.
Aquatic Biosystems  2013;9:23.
Microalgae are diverse in terms of their speciation and function. More than 35,000 algal strains have been described, and thousands of algal cultures are maintained in different culture collection centers. The ability of CO2 uptake by microalgae varies dramatically among algal species. It becomes challenging to select suitable algal candidates that can proliferate under high CO2 concentration from a large collection of algal cultures.
Here, we described a high throughput screening method to rapidly identify high CO2 affinity microalgae. The system integrates a CO2 mixer, GasPak bags and microplates. Microalgae on the microplates will be cultivated in GasPak bags charged with different CO2 concentrations. Using this method, we identified 17 algal strains whose growth rates were not influenced when the concentration of CO2 was increased from 2 to 20% (v/v). Most CO2 tolerant strains identified in this study were closely related to the species Scenedesmus and Chlorococcum. One of Scenedesmus strains (E7A) has been successfully tested in in the scale up photo bioreactors (500 L) bubbled with flue gas which contains 10-12% CO2.
Our high throughput CO2 testing system provides a rapid and reliable way for identifying microalgal candidate strains that can grow under high CO2 condition from a large pool of culture collection species. This high throughput system can also be modified for selecting algal strains that can tolerate other gases, such as NOx, SOx, or flue gas.
PMCID: PMC3914841  PMID: 24341988
CO2 sequestration; Microalgae; High through-put selection
BMC Genomics  2013;14:886.
Microsatellites are ubiquitous in genomes of various organisms. With the realization that they play roles in developmental and physiological processes, rather than exist as ‘junk’ DNA, microsatellites are receiving increasing attention. Next-generation sequencing allows acquisition of large-scale microsatellite information, and is especially useful for plants without reference genome sequences.
In this study, enriched DNA libraries of tree peony, a well-known ornamental woody shrub, were used for high-throughput microsatellite development by 454 GS-FLX Titanium pyrosequencing. We obtained 675,221 reads with an average length of 356 bp. The total size of examined sequences was 240,672,018 bp, from which 237,134 SSRs were identified. Of these sequences, 164,043 contained SSRs, with 27% featuring more than one SSR. Interestingly, a high proportion of SSRs (43%) were present in compound formation. SSRs with repeat motifs of 1–4 bp (mono-, di-, tri-, and tetra-nucleotide repeats) accounted for 99.8% of SSRs. Di-nucleotide repeats were the most abundant. As in most plants, the predominant motif in tree peony was (A/T)n, with (G/C)n less common. The lengths of SSRs were classified into 11 groups. The shortest SSRs (10 bp) represented 1% of the total number, whereas SSRs 21–30 and 101–110 bp long accounted for 26% and 29%, respectively, of all SSRs. Many sequences (42,111) were mapped to CDS (coding domain sequence) regions using Arabidopsis as a reference. GO annotation analysis predicted that CDSs with SSRs performed various functions associated with cellular components, molecular functions, and biological processes. Of 100 validated primer pairs, 24 were selected for polymorphism analysis among 23 genotypes; cluster analysis of the resulting data grouped genotypes according to known relationships, confirming the usefulness of the developed SSR markers.
The results of our large-scale SSR marker development using tree peony are valuable for investigating plant genomic structural evolution and elucidating phenotypic variation in this species during its evolution and artificial selection. The newly identified SSRs should be useful for genetic linkage map construction, QTL mapping, gene location and cloning, and molecular marker-assisted breeding. In addition, the genome-wide marker resources generated in this study should aid genomic studies of tree peony and related species.
PMCID: PMC3878651  PMID: 24341681
zzzMicrosatellite; Next-generation sequencing; Tree peozzzzny; Ornamental; SSR marker
Cancers  2013;5(4):1643-1654.
Tumor-associated macrophages (TAMs) promote tumorigenesis because of their proangiogenic and immune-suppressive functions. Here, we report that butylated hydroxyanisole (BHA) blocks occurrence of tumor associated macrophages (TAMs) in tobacco smoke carcinogen-induced lung tumorigenesis. Continuous administration of butylated hydroxyanisole (BHA), a ROS inhibitor, before or after NNK treatment significantly blocked tumor development, although less effectively when BHA is administered after NNK treatment. Strikingly, BHA abolished the occurrence of F4/80+ macrophages with similar efficiency no matter whether it was administered before or after NNK treatment. Detection of cells from bronchioalveolar lavage fluid (BALF) confirmed that BHA markedly inhibited the accumulation of macrophages while slightly reducing the number of lymphocytes that were induced by NNK. Immunohistological staining showed that BHA specifically abolished the occurrence of CD206+ TAMs when it was administered before or after NNK treatment. Western blot analysis of TAMs markers, arginase I and Ym-1, showed that BHA blocked NNK-induced TAMs accumulation. Our study clearly demonstrated that inhibiting the occurrence of TAMs by BHA contributes to the inhibition of tobacco smoke carcinogen-induced tumorigenesis, suggesting ROS inhibitors may serve as a therapeutic target for treating smoke-induced lung cancer.
PMCID: PMC3875958  PMID: 24305654
tumor associated macrophage; tumorigenesis; lung cancer; NNK; BHA; ROS
PLoS ONE  2013;8(12):e81005.
Background and Objectives
Although there was growing evidence supporting the hypothesis that Notch1 was one of the few candidate genes linked with colorectal cancer (CRC) susceptibility, the precise level of Notch1 protein expression in benign and malignant colorectal diseases was still unknown. Our study has investigated the Notch1 expression in benign and malignant colorectal diseases as well as to investigate the role and clinicopathological significance of aberrant expression of Notch1 in CRC.
The protein expression of Notch1 was examined by immunohistochemistry in 901 clinical specimens with colorectal diseases, including 220 patients with ulcerative colitis, 232 patients with colorectal adenoma and 449 patients with colorectal cancer. Associations between the expression of Notch1 and various clinicopathological features, as well as survival status, were studied.
Cytoplasmic Notch1 was expressed in 7.7% of patients with ulcerative colitis, 14.7% of patients with colorectal adenoma and 58.0% of patients with colorectal cancer, respectively. Colorectal cancer patients with high expression levels of Notch1 showed lower overall survival (OS) and disease-free survival (DFS) rates than those patients with low Notch1 expression.
Expression level of Notch1 was gradually increased from precancerous lesions to cancer. It might play as an oncogene in the CRC development, and might be potentially used as a biomarker for prognosis of CRCs.
PMCID: PMC3849093  PMID: 24312514
Cancer Biology & Therapy  2012;13(14):1407-1416.
Biodegradable polymer nanoparticle drug delivery systems are characterized by targeted drug delivery, improved pharmacokinetic and biodistribution, enhanced drug stability and lowered side effects; these drug delivery systems are widely used for delivery of cytotoxic agents. The galactosylated chitosan (GC)/5-fluorouracil (5-FU) nanoparticle is a nanomaterial made by coupling GC, a polymer known to have the advantages described above, and 5-FU. The GC/5-FU nanoparticle is a sustained release system, it was showed that the peak time, half-life time, mean residence time (MRT) and area of under curve (AUC) of GC/5-FU were longer or more than those of the 5-FU group, but the maximum concentration (Cmax) was lower. The distribution of GC/5-FU in vivo revealed the greatest accumulation in the hepatic cancer tissues, and the hepatic cell was the target of the nanoparticles. Toxicology research showed that the toxicity of GC-5-FU was lower than that of 5-FU in mice. In vivo experiments showed that GC/5-FU can significantly inhibit tumor growth in an orthotropic liver cancer mouse model. GC/5-FU treatment can significantly lower the tumor weight and increase the survival time of mice when compared with 5-FU treatment alone. Flow cytometry and the TUNEL assay revealed that compared with 5-FU, GC/5-FU caused higher rates of G0-G1 arrest and apoptosis in hepatic cancer cells.
PMCID: PMC3542231  PMID: 22954702
galactosylated chitosan; nanoparticles; 5-fluorouracil; hepatocellular cancer; pharmacokinetics; apoptosis

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