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1.  Impaired Mitochondrial Dynamics and Bioenergetics in Diabetic Skeletal Muscle 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(3):e92810.
In most cells, mitochondria are highly dynamic organelles that constantly fuse, divide and move. These processes allow mitochondria to redistribute in a cell and exchange contents among the mitochondrial population, and subsequently repair damaged mitochondria. However, most studies on mitochondrial dynamics have been performed on cultured cell lines and neurons, and little is known about whether mitochondria are dynamic organelles in vivo, especially in the highly specialized and differentiated adult skeletal muscle cells. Using mitochondrial matrix-targeted photoactivatable green fluorescent protein (mtPAGFP) and electroporation methods combined with confocal microscopy, we found that mitochondria are dynamic in skeletal muscle in vivo, which enables mitochondria exchange contents within the whole mitochondrial population through nanotunneling-mediated mitochondrial fusion. Mitochondrial network promotes rapid transfer of mtPAGFP within the cell. More importantly, the dynamic behavior was impaired in high-fat diet (HFD)-induced obese mice, accompanying with disturbed mitochondrial respiratory function and decreased ATP content in skeletal muscle. We further found that proteins controlling mitochondrial fusion MFN1 and MFN2 but not Opa1 were decreased and proteins governing mitochondrial fission Fis1 and Drp1 were increased in skeletal muscle of HFD-induced mice when compared to normal diet-fed mice. Altogether, we conclude that mitochondria are dynamic organelles in vivo in skeletal muscle, and it is essential in maintaining mitochondrial respiration and bioenergetics.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0092810
PMCID: PMC3962456  PMID: 24658162
2.  Novel Inhibitors of Mitochondrial sn-Glycerol 3-phosphate Dehydrogenase 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(2):e89938.
Mitochondrial sn-glycerol 3-phosphate dehydrogenase (mGPDH) is a ubiquinone-linked enzyme in the mitochondrial inner membrane best characterized as part of the glycerol phosphate shuttle that transfers reducing equivalents from cytosolic NADH into the mitochondrial electron transport chain. Despite the widespread expression of mGPDH and the availability of mGPDH-null mice, the physiological role of this enzyme remains poorly defined in many tissues, likely because of compensatory pathways for cytosolic regeneration of NAD+ and mechanisms for glycerol phosphate metabolism. Here we describe a novel class of cell-permeant small-molecule inhibitors of mGPDH (iGP) discovered through small-molecule screening. Structure-activity analysis identified a core benzimidazole-phenyl-succinamide structure as being essential to inhibition of mGPDH while modifications to the benzimidazole ring system modulated both potency and off-target effects. Live-cell imaging provided evidence that iGPs penetrate cellular membranes. Two compounds (iGP-1 and iGP-5) were characterized further to determine potency and selectivity and found to be mixed inhibitors with IC50 and Ki values between ∼1–15 µM. These novel mGPDH inhibitors are unique tools to investigate the role of glycerol 3-phosphate metabolism in both isolated and intact systems.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0089938
PMCID: PMC3933693  PMID: 24587137
3.  Identification Of Small Molecule TRABID Deubiquitinase Inhibitors By Computation-Based Virtual Screen 
BMC Chemical Biology  2012;12:4.
Background
Wnt/β-catenin-mediated gene transcription plays important roles in a wide range of biological and pathophysiological processes including tumorigenesis where β-catenin-mediated transcription activity frequently elevates. TRABID, a deubiquitinase, was shown to have a positive Wnt/β-catenin-mediated gene transcription and hence holds a promise as a putative anti-cancer target.
Results
In this study, we used a combination of structure based virtual screening and an in vitro deubiquitinase (DUB) assay to identify several small molecules that inhibit TRABID DUB activity. However, these inhibitors failed to show inhibitory effects on β-catenin-mediated gene transcription. In addition, expression of TRABID shRNAs, wildtype TRABID, or the DUB activity-deficient mutant showed little effects on β-catenin-mediated gene transcription.
Conclusions
TRABID may not be a critical component in canonical Wnt/β-catenin signal transduction or that a minute amount of this protein is sufficient for its role in regulating Wnt activity.
doi:10.1186/1472-6769-12-4
PMCID: PMC3475094  PMID: 22584113
4.  The inflammatory response following an epidermal burn depends on the activities of mouse mast cell proteases 4 and 5 
A second degree epidermal scald burn in mice elicits an inflammatory response mediated by natural IgM directed to non-muscle myosin with complement activation that results in ulceration and scarring. We find that such burn injury is associated with early mast cell (MC) degranulation and is absent in WBB6F1-KitW/KitWv mice which lack MCs in a context of other defects due to a mutation of the KIT receptor. To further address a MC role, we used transgenic strains with normal lineage development and a deficiency in a specific secretory granule component. Mouse strains lacking the MC-restricted chymase, mouse MC protease (mMCP)-4, or elastase, mMCP-5, show decreased injury following a second degree scald burn while mice lacking the MC-restricted tryptases, mMCP-6 and mMCP-7, or the MC-specific carboxypeptidase A3 activity are not protected. Histologic sections showed some disruption of the epidermis at the scald site in the protected strains suggesting the possibility of topical reconstitution of full injury. Topical application of recombinant mMCP-5 or human neutrophil elastase to the scalded area increases epidermal injury with subsequent ulceration and scarring, both clinically and morphologically, in mMCP-5-deficent mice. Restoration of injury requires that topical administration of recombinant mMCP-5 occurs within the first h post burn. Importantly, topical application of human MC chymase restores burn injury to scalded mMCP-4-deficient mice but not to mMCP-5-deficient mice revealing non-redundant actions for these two MC proteases in a model of innate inflammatory injury with remodeling.
doi:10.4049/jimmunol.1002803
PMCID: PMC3058366  PMID: 21076070
5.  Cyclodextrin-erythromycin complexes as a drug delivery device for orthopedic application 
Background
Erythromycin, a hydrophobic antibiotic used to treat infectious diseases, is now gaining attention because of its anti-inflammatory effects and ability to inhibit osteoclasts formation. The aim of this study was to explore a cyclodextrin-erythromycin (CD-EM) complex for sustained treatment of orthopedic inflammation.
Methods and results
Erythromycin was reacted with β-cyclodextrin to form a nonhost-guest CD-EM complex using both kneading and stirring approaches. Physiochemical measurement data indicated that erythromycin and cyclodextrin formed a packing complex driven by intermolecular forces instead of a host-guest structure due to the limited space in the inner cavity of β-cyclodextrin. The CD-EM complex improved the stability of erythromycin in aqueous solution and had a longer duration of bactericidal activity than free erythromycin. Cytotoxicity and cell differentiation were evaluated in both murine MC3T3 preosteoblast cells and RAW 264.7 murine macrophage cells. The CD-EM complex was noncytotoxic and showed significant inhibition of osteoclast formation but had little effect on osteoblast viability and differentiation.
Conclusion
These attributes are especially important for the delivery of an adequate amount of erythromycin to the site of periprosthetic inflammation and reducing local inflammation in a sustained manner.
doi:10.2147/IJN.S23530
PMCID: PMC3252670  PMID: 22228990
erythromycin; cyclodextrin; drug stability; bactericidal activity; osteoclastogenesis
6.  A Locomotor Innovation Enables Water-Land Transition in a Marine Fish 
PLoS ONE  2010;5(6):e11197.
Background
Morphological innovations that significantly enhance performance capacity may enable exploitation of new resources and invasion of new ecological niches. The invasion of land from the aquatic realm requires dramatic structural and physiological modifications to permit survival in a gravity-dominated, aerial environment. Most fishes are obligatorily aquatic, with amphibious fishes typically making slow-moving and short forays on to land.
Methodology/Principal Findings
Here I describe the behaviors and movements of a little known marine fish that moves extraordinarily rapidly on land. I found that the Pacific leaping blenny, Alticus arnoldorum, employs a tail-twisting movement on land, previously unreported in fishes. Focal point behavioral observations of Alticus show that they have largely abandoned the marine realm, feed and reproduce on land, and even defend terrestrial territories. Comparisons of these blennies' terrestrial kinematic and kinetic (i.e., force) measurements with those of less terrestrial sister genera show A. arnoldorum move with greater stability and locomotor control, and can move away more rapidly from impending threats.
Conclusions/Significance
My results demonstrate that axial tail twisting serves as a key innovation enabling invasion of a novel marine niche. This paper highlights the potential of using this system to address general evolutionary questions about water-land transitions and niche invasions.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0011197
PMCID: PMC2887833  PMID: 20585564
7.  Enzootic Angiostrongyliasis in Shenzhen, China 
Emerging Infectious Diseases  2008;14(12):1955-1956.
doi:10.3201/eid1412.080695
PMCID: PMC2634632  PMID: 19046534
Angiostrongylus cantonensis; eosinopilic meningitis; Shenzhen; human; rates; snails; letter

Results 1-7 (7)