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1.  Prevalence of major cardiovascular risk factors and adverse risk profiles among three ethnic groups in the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, China 
Prevalence of cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk factors have been scarcely studied in Xinjiang, a multi-ethnic region.
Multi-ethnic, cross-sectional cardiovascular risk survey study in Xinjiang, including individuals of Uygur (n = 4695), Han (n = 3717) and Kazakh (n = 3196) ethnicities, aged 35-74 years. Analyses involved 11,608 participants with complete data enrolled between October 2007 and March 2010.
There were differences in age-standardized prevalence of CVD risk factors between the three groups (all P < 0.001). Hypertension, obesity and smoking rates were higher among Kazakh (54.6%, 24.5%, and 35.8%, respectively). Dyslipidemia prevalence was higher among Uygur (54.3%), and diabetes prevalence was higher among Hans (7.1%). Age-standardized prevalence of adverse CVD risk profiles was different across different ethnicities. Compared with the Han participants, the Uygur and Kazakh had more CVD risk factors (P < 0.001). Compared with the Han participants, the adjusted odds ratios of 1, 2, and ≥3 risk factors profiles for Kazakh and Uygur participants were higher (all P < 0.001).
The present study showed the pervasive burden of CVD risk factors in all participant groups in the Xinjiang region. Three major ethnic groups living in Xinjiang had striking differences in the prevalence of major CVD risk factors and adverse risk profiles. Ethnic-specific strategies should be developed to prevent CVD in different ethnic groups, as well as to develop strategies to prevent future development of adverse CVD risk factors at a younger age.
PMCID: PMC3866600  PMID: 24341701
Cardiovascular disease; Risk factors; Disparities; Ethnicity; Epidemiology
2.  Optimal cutoff of the waist-to-hip ratio for detecting cardiovascular risk factors among Han adults in Xinjiang 
The optimal cutoff of the waist-to-hip ratio (WHR) among Han adults in Xinjiang, which is located in the center of Asia, is unknown. We aimed to examine the relationship between different WHRs and cardiovascular risk factors among Han adults in Xinjiang, and determine the optimal cutoff of the WHR.
The Cardiovascular Risk Survey was conducted from October 2007 to March 2010. A total of 14618 representative participants were selected using a four-stage stratified sampling method. A total of 5757 Han participants were included in the study. The present statistical analysis was restricted to the 5595 Han subjects who had complete anthropometric data. The sensitivity, specificity, and distance on the receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curve in each WHR level were calculated. The shortest distance in the ROC curves was used to determine the optimal cutoff of the WHR for detecting cardiovascular risk factors.
In women, the WHR was positively associated with systolic blood pressure, diastolic blood pressure, and serum concentrations of serum total cholesterol. The prevalence of hypertension and hypertriglyceridemia increased as the WHR increased. The same results were not observed among men. The optimal WHR cutoffs for predicting hypertension, diabetes, dyslipidemia and ≥ two of these risk factors for Han adults in Xinjiang were 0.92, 0.92, 0.91, 0.92 in men and 0.88, 0.89, 0.88, 0.89 in women, respectively.
Higher cutoffs for the WHR are required in the identification of Han adults aged ≥ 35 years with a high risk of cardiovascular diseases in Xinjiang.
PMCID: PMC4122671  PMID: 25074400
Cutoff; Waist-to-hip ratio; Cardiovascular risk factors; Han adults; Xinjiang
3.  Genome-wide association study in Han Chinese identifies four new susceptibility loci for coronary artery disease 
Nature genetics  2012;44(8):890-894.
We performed a meta-analysis of 2 genome-wide association studies of coronary artery disease comprising 1,515 cases with coronary artery disease and 5,019 controls, followed by de novo replication studies in 15,460 cases and 11,472 controls, all of Chinese Han descent. We successfully identified four new loci for coronary artery disease reaching genome-wide significance (P < 5 × 10−8), which mapped in or near TTC32-WDR35, GUCY1A3, C6orf10-BTNL2 and ATP2B1. We also replicated four loci previously identified in European populations (PHACTR1, TCF21, CDKN2A/B and C12orf51). These findings provide new insights into biological pathways for the susceptibility of coronary artery disease in Chinese Han population.
PMCID: PMC3927410  PMID: 22751097
4.  Prevalence, awareness, treatment and control of dyslipidemia among adults in Northwestern China: the cardiovascular risk survey 
The aim of this study was to estimate the prevalence, awareness, treatment, and control of dyslipidemia in Xinjiang, China.
Stratified sampling method was used to select a representative sample of the general population including Chinese Han, Uygur, and Kazak in this geographic area. Seven cities were chosen. Based on the government records of registered residences, one participant was randomly selected from each household. The eligibility criterion for the study was ≥ 35 years of age.
A total of 14,618 participants (5,757 Han, 4,767 Uygur, and 4,094 Kazak), were randomly selected from 26 villages in 7 cities. The prevalence of dyslipidemia was 52.72% in the all participants. The prevalence of dyslipidemia was higher in Han than that in the other two ethnic (58.58% in Han, 48.27% in Uygur, and 49.60% in Kazak, P < 0.000). The prevalence of dyslipidemia was higher in men than that in women (56.4% vs. 49.3%, P < 0.000). Among the participants with dyslipidemia, the proportion of those who aware, treat, control of dyslipidemia were 53.67%, 22.51%, 17.09% in Han, 42.19%, 27.78%, 16.20% in Uygur, 37.02%, 21.11%, 17.77% in Kazak.
Dyslipidemia is highly prevalent in Xinjiang. The proportion of participants with dyslipidemia who were aware, treated, and controlled is unacceptably low. These results underscore the urgent need to develop national strategies to improve the prevention, detection, and treatment of dyslipidemia in Xinjiang.
PMCID: PMC3895843  PMID: 24393232
Dyslipidemia; Prevalence; Awareness; Treatment; Control
5.  Expression and Methylation of Mitochondrial Transcription Factor A in Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease Patients with Lung Cancer 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(12):e82739.
Apoptosis plays a central role in the pathogenesis of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and this process can be regulated by mitochondrial transcription factor A (mtTFA). Epigenetics is involved in the regulation and modification of the genes involved in lung cancer and COPD. In this study, we determined the expression of mtTFA and its methylation levels in the COPD patients with lung cancer.
Twenty-one squamous cell lung cancer patients, 11 with COPD and 10 without COPD, undergoing pneumonectomy were enrolled. The apoptotic index (AI) of pulmonary vascular endothelial cells was analyzed by transferase-mediated deoxyuridine triphosphate-biotin nick end labeling assay. The expression of mtTFA mRNA and protein was measured using PCR, immunohistochemistry and Western-blot. Methylation of the mtTFA promoter was detected using bisulfite sequencing PCR.
Compared to the non-COPD group, the AI was higher, and expression of mtTFA mRNA and protein was lower in the COPD group (P<0.001). Expression of the mtTFA protein was positively correlated with FEV1/Pre (r = 0.892, P<0.001), and negatively correlated with AI (r = −0.749, P<0.001) and smoke index (r = −0.763, P<0.001). Percentage of mtTFA promoter methylation in the COPD patients was significantly higher compared to the non-COPD patients (P<0.05).
These results suggest that the expression of mtTFA mRNA and protein is down-regulated in the lung tissue from the COPD patients with squamous cell lung cancer, and the level of mtTFA protein is related to apoptosis of pulmonary vascular endothelial cells. Aberrant mtTFA methylation may also play an important role in the pathogenesis of COPD.
PMCID: PMC3867397  PMID: 24367550
6.  Appropriate Body Mass Index and Waist Circumference Cutoffs for Categorization of Overweight and Central Adiposity among Uighur Adults in Xinjiang 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(11):e80185.
The current overweight and central adiposity guidelines based on Western populations were not consistent with many studied based on the Asian populations. Uighur people live in Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region which is located in the center of Asia. Their overweight and central cutoffs were largely unknown. We aimed to identify cutoffs for body mass index (BMI; in kg/m2) and waist circumference (WC; in cm) for categorization of overweight and central adiposity among Uighur adults in Xinjiang.
4767 Uighur participants were selected from the Cardiovascular Risk Survey (CRS) which was carried out from October 2007 to March 2010. The age of the participants were from 35 to 101 years old with the mean age of 50.09 years. Anthropometric data, blood pressure, serum concentration of serum total cholesterol, triglyceride, low density lipoprotein (LDL), high density lipoprotein (HDL) and fasting glucose were documented. The prevalence, sensitivity, specificity and distance on the receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curve of each BMI and waist circumference values were calculated.
The prevalence of hypertension, hypercholesterolemia and hypertriglyceridemia were higher with higher BMI for both men and women. The prevalence of hypertension and hypercholesterolemia were higher with higher waist circumference for both men and women. In women, the prevalence of hypertriglyceridemia was noticed to increase as the waist circumference increased. The shortest distance in the receiver operating characteristic curves for hypertension, dyslipidemia, diabetes, or ≥ 2 of these risk factors suggested a BMI cutoff of 26 and a waist circumference cutoff of 90 cm for both men and women.
Higher cutoffs for BMI and waist circumference are needed in the identification of Uighur patients at high risk of cardiovascular disease.
PMCID: PMC3820640  PMID: 24244645
7.  Treatment with chicken-egg-white or whole-egg extracts maintains and enhances the survival and differentiation of spleen cells 
Cytotechnology  2012;64(5):541-551.
The identification of egg extracts with the ability to maintain and enhance the survival and differentiation of cells would be widely useful in cellular biology research. In this study, we compared the different abilities of spleen cells to survive and differentiate in vivo after permeabilization by five different types of egg extracts. Five types of egg extracts were prepared. The spleen cells from male GFP-transgenic mice were permeabilized by the extracts for 30 min, cultured for 12 days, and then transfused into irradiated female mice. At varying days after transplantation, the percentage of GFP-expressing surviving spleen cells was detected in the peripheral blood by flow cytometry. At 120 days after transplantation, bone marrow cells from the female mice were analyzed for the presence of cells containing the Y chromosome. Surviving GFP-positive spleen cells that had been permeabilized with either chicken-egg-white or whole-egg extracts could be detected in the female mice after transplantation. A lower percentage of GFP-positive cells was also detected after permeabilization by the other extracts tested, and no GFP-positive cells were found in the female mouse transfused with spleen cells permeabilized with Hank’s Buffered Salt Solution (HBSS) as a control. At 120 days after transplantation, the percentage of cells containing a Y chromosome in the bone marrow positively correlated with the percentage of GFP-positive cells in the peripheral blood. After permeabilization by chicken-egg-white or whole-egg extracts, spleen cells demonstrated significantly enhanced survival and differentiation functions compared with the spleen cells treated with the other egg extracts tested. These results show that chicken-egg-white and whole-egg extracts have roles in maintaining and enhancing the survival and differentiation of spleen cells. Therefore, these two types of extracts may be of future use in maintaining the function of stem cells.
PMCID: PMC3432533  PMID: 22350684
GFP-transgenic mice; Spleen cells; Extracts; Cell survival; Cell differentiation
8.  In vivo MRI tracking of iron oxide nanoparticle-labeled human mesenchymal stem cells in limb ischemia 
Stem cell transplantation has been investigated for repairing damaged tissues in various injury models. Monitoring the safety and fate of transplanted cells using noninvasive methods is important to advance this technique into clinical applications.
In this study, lower-limb ischemia models were generated in nude mice by femoral artery ligation. As negative-contrast agents, positively charged magnetic iron oxide nanoparticles (aminopropyltriethoxysilane-coated Fe2O3) were investigated in terms of in vitro labeling efficiency, effects on human mesenchymal stromal cell (hMSC) proliferation, and in vivo magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) visualization. Ultimately, the mice were sacrificed for histological analysis three weeks after transplantation.
With efficient labeling, aminopropyltriethoxysilane-modified magnetic iron oxide nanoparticles (APTS-MNPs) did not significantly affect hMSC proliferation. In vivo, APTS-MNP-labeled hMSCs could be monitored by clinical 3 Tesla MRI for at least three weeks. Histological examination detected numerous migrated Prussian blue-positive cells, which was consistent with the magnetic resonance images. Some migrated Prussian blue-positive cells were positive for mature endothelial cell markers of von Willebrand factor and anti-human proliferating cell nuclear antigen. In the test groups, Prussian blue-positive nanoparticles, which could not be found in other organs, were detected in the spleen.
APTS-MNPs could efficiently label hMSCs, and clinical 3 Tesla MRI could monitor the labeled stem cells in vivo, which may provide a new approach for the in vivo monitoring of implanted cells.
PMCID: PMC3598527  PMID: 23515426
hind-limb ischemia; magnetic resonance imaging; iron oxide particles; stem cell implant
9.  The Interleukin 3 Gene (IL3) Contributes to Human Brain Volume Variation by Regulating Proliferation and Survival of Neural Progenitors 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(11):e50375.
One of the most significant evolutionary changes underlying the highly developed cognitive abilities of humans is the greatly enlarged brain volume. In addition to being far greater than in most other species, the volume of the human brain exhibits extensive variation and distinct sexual dimorphism in the general population. However, little is known about the genetic mechanisms underlying normal variation as well as the observed sex difference in human brain volume. Here we show that interleukin-3 (IL3) is strongly associated with brain volume variation in four genetically divergent populations. We identified a sequence polymorphism (rs31480) in the IL3 promoter which alters the expression of IL3 by affecting the binding affinity of transcription factor SP1. Further analysis indicated that IL3 and its receptors are continuously expressed in the developing mouse brain, reaching highest levels at postnatal day 1–4. Furthermore, we found IL3 receptor alpha (IL3RA) was mainly expressed in neural progenitors and neurons, and IL3 could promote proliferation and survival of the neural progenitors. The expression level of IL3 thus played pivotal roles in the expansion and maintenance of the neural progenitor pool and the number of surviving neurons. Moreover, we found that IL3 activated both estrogen receptors, but estrogen didn’t directly regulate the expression of IL3. Our results demonstrate that genetic variation in the IL3 promoter regulates human brain volume and reveals novel roles of IL3 in regulating brain development.
PMCID: PMC3511536  PMID: 23226269
10.  Long-term MRI tracking of dual-labeled adipose-derived stem cells homing into mouse carotid artery injury 
Stem cell therapy has shown great promise for regenerative repair of injured or diseased tissues. Adipose-derived stem cells (ADSCs) have become increasingly attractive candidates for cellular therapy. Magnetic resonance imaging has been proven to be effective in tracking magnetic-labeled cells and evaluating their clinical relevance after cell transplantation. This study investigated the feasibility of imaging green fluorescent protein-expressing ADSCs (GFP-ADSCs) labeled with superparamagnetic iron oxide particles, and tracked them in vivo with noninvasive magnetic resonance imaging after cell transplantation in a model of mouse carotid artery injury.
GFP-ADSCs were isolated from the adipose tissues of GFP mice and labeled with superparamagnetic iron oxide particles. Intracellular stability, proliferation, and viability of the labeled cells were evaluated in vitro. Next, the cells were transplanted into a mouse carotid artery injury model. Clinical 3 T magnetic resonance imaging was performed immediately before and 1, 3, 7, 14, 21, and 30 days after cell transplantation. Prussian blue staining and histological analysis were performed 7 and 30 days after transplantation.
GFP-ADSCs were found to be efficiently labeled with superparamagnetic iron oxide particles, with no effect on viability and proliferation. Homing of the labeled cells into the injured carotid artery tissue could be monitored by magnetic resonance imaging.
Magnetically labeled ADSCs with expression of GFP can home into sites of vascular injury, and may provide new insights into understanding of cell-based therapy for cardiovascular lesions.
PMCID: PMC3487538  PMID: 23125528
adipose-derived stem cells; carotid artery injury; magnetic resonance imaging; iron oxide particles; cell therapy
11.  Serum Uric Acid Levels Are Associated with Polymorphism in the SAA1 Gene in Chinese Subjects 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(6):e40263.
Serum uric acid (SUA) is a cardiovascular risk marker associated with inflammation. The serum amyloid A protein (SAA) is an inflammatory factor and is associated with cardiovascular disease (CVD). However, the relationship between genetic polymorphisms of SAA and SUA levels has not been studied. The objective of this study was to investigate the association between SUA levels and SAA genetic polymorphisms.
All participants were selected from subjects participating in the Cardiovascular Risk Survey (CRS) study. The single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) rs12218 of the SAA1 gene was genotyped by using the polymerase chain reaction–restriction fragment length polymorphism (PCR-RFLP) method. The association of SUA levels with genotypes was assessed by using the general liner mode.
The SNP rs12218 was associated with SUA levels by analyses of a dominate model (P = 0.002) and additive model (P = 0.005), and the difference remained significant after adjustment of sex, age, obesity, ethnicity, HDL-C, alcohol intake, smoking, and creatinine (P = 0.006 and P = 0.023, respectively). The TT genotype was associated with an increased SUA concentration of 39.34 mmol/L (95% confidence interval [CI], 3.61–75.06, P = 0.031) compared with the CC genotype, and the TT genotype was associated with an increased SUA concentration of 2.48 mmol/L (95% CI, 6.86–38.10; P = 0.005) compared with the CT genotype.
The rs12218 SNP in the SAA1 gene was associated with SUA levels in Chinese subjects, indicating that carriers of the T allele of rs12218 have a high risk of hyperuricemia.
PMCID: PMC3386962  PMID: 22768267
12.  Type 2 Diabetes in Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, China 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(4):e35270.
The aim of this study was to estimate the prevalence and distribution of type 2 diabetes and to determine the status of type 2 diabetes awareness, treatment, and control in Xinjiang, China. Our data came from the Cardiovascular Risk Survey (CRS) study designed to investigate the prevalence and risk factors for cardiovascular diseases in Xinjiang from October 2007 to March 2010. A total of 14 122 persons (5583 Hans, 4620 Uygurs, and 3919 Kazaks) completed the survey and examination. Diabetes was defined by the American Diabetes Association 2009 criteria.
Methodology/Principal Findings
Overall, 9.26% of the Han, 6.23% of the Uygur, and 3.65% of the Kazak adults aged ≥35 years had diabetes. Among diabetes patients, only 53.0% were aware of their blood glucose level, 26.7% were taking hypoglycemic agents, and 10.4% achieved blood glucose control in Han, 35.8% were aware of their blood glucose level, 7.3% were taking hypoglycemic agents, and 3.13% achieved blood glucose control in Uygur, and 23.8% were aware of their blood glucose level, 6.3% were taking hypoglycemic agents, and 1.4% achieved blood glucose control in Kazak, respectively.
Our results indicate that diabetes is highly prevalent in Xinjiang. The percentages of those with diabetes who are aware, treated, and controlled are unacceptably low. These results underscore the urgent need to develop national strategies to improve prevention, detection, and treatment of diabetes in Xinjiang, the west China.
PMCID: PMC3323648  PMID: 22506076
13.  IgE stimulates human and mouse arterial cell apoptosis and cytokine expression and promotes atherogenesis in Apoe–/– mice  
The Journal of Clinical Investigation  2011;121(9):3564-3577.
IgE has a key role in the pathogenesis of allergic responses through its ability to activate mast cells via the receptor FcεR1. In addition to mast cells, many cell types implicated in atherogenesis express FcεR1, but whether IgE has a role in this disease has not been determined. Here, we demonstrate that serum IgE levels are elevated in patients with myocardial infarction or unstable angina pectoris. We found that IgE and the FcεR1 subunit FcεR1α were present in human atherosclerotic lesions and that they localized particularly to macrophage-rich areas. In mice, absence of FcεR1α reduced inflammation and apoptosis in atherosclerotic plaques and reduced the burden of disease. In cultured macrophages, the presence of TLR4 was required for FcεR1 activity. IgE stimulated the interaction between FcεR1 and TLR4, thereby inducing macrophage signal transduction, inflammatory molecule expression, and apoptosis. These IgE activities were reduced in the absence of FcεR1 or TLR4. Furthermore, IgE activated macrophages by enhancing Na+/H+ exchanger 1 (NHE1) activity. Inactivation of NHE1 blocked IgE-induced macrophage production of inflammatory molecules and apoptosis. Cultured human aortic SMCs (HuSMCs) and ECs also exhibited IgE-induced signal transduction, cytokine expression, and apoptosis. In human atherosclerotic lesions, SMCs and ECs colocalized with IgE and TUNEL staining. This study reveals what we believe to be several previously unrecognized IgE activities that affect arterial cell biology and likely other IgE-associated pathologies in human diseases.
PMCID: PMC3163955  PMID: 21821913
14.  Genome Sequence of the Milbemycin-Producing Bacterium Streptomyces bingchenggensis▿  
Journal of Bacteriology  2010;192(17):4526-4527.
Streptomyces bingchenggensis is a soil-dwelling bacterium producing the commercially important anthelmintic macrolide milbemycins. Besides milbemycins, the insecticidal polyether antibiotic nanchangmycin and some other antibiotics have also been isolated from this strain. Here we report the complete genome sequence of S. bingchenggensis. The availability of the genome sequence of S. bingchenggensis should enable us to understand the biosynthesis of these structurally intricate antibiotics better and facilitate rational improvement of this strain to increase their titers.
PMCID: PMC2937363  PMID: 20581206
15.  4,5-Dicarb­oxy­naphthalene-1,8-dicarb­oxy­lic anhydride–1,10-phenanthroline (1/1) 
In the crystal structure of the title 1:1 adduct, C12H8N2·C14H6O7, the carboxyl groups are involved in inter­molecular O—H⋯O hydrogen bonds, which link the mol­ecules into centrosymmetric dimers. These dimers are further linked by inter­molecular O—H⋯N hydrogen bonds. C—H⋯O inter­actions also occur between the 1,10-phenanthroline (phen) and 4,5-dicarb­oxy­naphthalene-1,8-dicarb­oxy­lic anhydride (H2NTC) mol­ecules. In addition, the crystal structure exhibits π–π inter­actions of the phen⋯phen and H2NTC⋯H2NTC types with centroid–centroid distances of 3.579 (3) and 3.774 (3) Å, respectively.
PMCID: PMC3051702  PMID: 21523132
16.  Genome-Wide Association Study Identifies ALDH7A1 as a Novel Susceptibility Gene for Osteoporosis 
PLoS Genetics  2010;6(1):e1000806.
Osteoporosis is a major public health problem. It is mainly characterized by low bone mineral density (BMD) and/or low-trauma osteoporotic fractures (OF), both of which have strong genetic determination. The specific genes influencing these phenotypic traits, however, are largely unknown. Using the Affymetrix 500K array set, we performed a case-control genome-wide association study (GWAS) in 700 elderly Chinese Han subjects (350 with hip OF and 350 healthy matched controls). A follow-up replication study was conducted to validate our major GWAS findings in an independent Chinese sample containing 390 cases with hip OF and 516 controls. We found that a SNP, rs13182402 within the ALDH7A1 gene on chromosome 5q31, was strongly associated with OF with evidence combined GWAS and replication studies (P = 2.08×10−9, odds ratio = 2.25). In order to explore the target risk factors and potential mechanism underlying hip OF risk, we further examined this candidate SNP's relevance to hip BMD both in Chinese and Caucasian populations involving 9,962 additional subjects. This SNP was confirmed as consistently associated with hip BMD even across ethnic boundaries, in both Chinese and Caucasians (combined P = 6.39×10−6), further attesting to its potential effect on osteoporosis. ALDH7A1 degrades and detoxifies acetaldehyde, which inhibits osteoblast proliferation and results in decreased bone formation. Our findings may provide new insights into the pathogenesis of osteoporosis.
Author Summary
Osteoporosis is a major health concern worldwide. It is a highly heritable disease characterized mainly by low bone mineral density (BMD) and/or osteoporotic fractures. However, the specific genetic variants determining risk for low BMD or OF are largely unknown. Here, taking advantage of recent technological advances in human genetics, we performed a genome-wide association study and follow-up validation studies to identify genetic variants for osteoporosis. By examining a total of 11,568 individuals from Chinese and Caucasian populations, we discovered a susceptibility gene, ALDH7A1, which is associated with hip osteoporotic fracture and BMD. ALDH7A1 might inhibit osteoblast proliferation and decrease bone formation. Our finding opens a new avenue for exploring the pathophysiology of osteoporosis.
PMCID: PMC2794362  PMID: 20072603
17.  Suspending Effect on Low-Frequency Charge Noise in Graphene Quantum Dot 
Scientific Reports  2015;5:8142.
Charge noise is critical in the performance of gate-controlled quantum dots (QDs). Such information is not yet available for QDs made out of the new material graphene, where both substrate and edge states are known to have important effects. Here we show the 1/f noise for a microscopic graphene QD is substantially larger than that for a macroscopic graphene field-effect transistor (FET), increasing linearly with temperature. To understand its origin, we suspended the graphene QD above the substrate. In contrast to large area graphene FETs, we find that a suspended graphene QD has an almost-identical noise level as an unsuspended one. Tracking noise levels around the Coulomb blockade peak as a function of gate voltage yields potential fluctuations of order 1 μeV, almost one order larger than in GaAs/GaAlAs QDs. Edge states and surface impurities rather than substrate-induced disorders, appear to dominate the 1/f noise, thus affecting the coherency of graphene nano-devices.
PMCID: PMC4311243  PMID: 25634250
18.  A taxonomic study of Ooctonus (Hymenoptera, Mymaridae) from Heilongjiang, China 
ZooKeys  2015;25-36.
Five species of Ooctonus Haliday (Hymenoptera, Mymaridae) from Heilongjiang Province, China, are reviewed. One species, Ooctonus huberi sp. n., is described as new, and four species, Ooctonus orientalis Doutt, Ooctonus saturn Triapitsyn, Ooctonus sublaevis Förster and Ooctonus vulgatus Haliday are reported as new to China. A key to the females of the 10 described Chinese species is given. All the specimens are deposited in the insect collections of Northeast Forestry University, China.
PMCID: PMC4319062
Chalcidoidea; Mymaridae; Ooctonus; taxonomy; new species; China
19.  Genomic and transcriptomic analysis of the endophytic fungus Pestalotiopsis fici reveals its lifestyle and high potential for synthesis of natural products 
BMC Genomics  2015;16(1):28.
In recent years, the genus Pestalotiopsis is receiving increasing attention, not only because of its economic impact as a plant pathogen but also as a commonly isolated endophyte which is an important source of bioactive natural products. Pestalotiopsis fici Steyaert W106-1/CGMCC3.15140 as an endophyte of tea produces numerous novel secondary metabolites, including chloropupukeananin, a derivative of chlorinated pupukeanane that is first discovered in fungi. Some of them might be important as the drug leads for future pharmaceutics.
Here, we report the genome sequence of the endophytic fungus of tea Pestalotiopsis fici W106-1/CGMCC3.15140. The abundant carbohydrate-active enzymes especially significantly expanding pectinases allow the fungus to utilize the limited intercellular nutrients within the host plants, suggesting adaptation of the fungus to endophytic lifestyle. The P. fici genome encodes a rich set of secondary metabolite synthesis genes, including 27 polyketide synthases (PKSs), 12 non-ribosomal peptide synthases (NRPSs), five dimethylallyl tryptophan synthases, four putative PKS-like enzymes, 15 putative NRPS-like enzymes, 15 terpenoid synthases, seven terpenoid cyclases, seven fatty-acid synthases, and five hybrids of PKS-NRPS. The majority of these core enzymes distributed into 74 secondary metabolite clusters. The putative Diels-Alderase genes have undergone expansion.
The significant expansion of pectinase encoding genes provides essential insight in the life strategy of endophytes, and richness of gene clusters for secondary metabolites reveals high potential of natural products of endophytic fungi.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s12864-014-1190-9) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC4320822  PMID: 25623211
Genome; Endophyte; Pestalotiopsis fici; Secondary metabolite
20.  SPOCK1 as a potential cancer prognostic marker promotes the proliferation and metastasis of gallbladder cancer cells by activating the PI3K/AKT pathway 
Molecular Cancer  2015;14(1):12.
Gallbladder cancer (GBC) is a leading cause of cancer-related death worldwide, and its prognosis remains poor, with 5-year survival of approximately 5%. In this study, we analyzed the involvement of a novel proteoglycan, Sparc/osteonectin, cwcv, and kazal-like domains proteoglycan 1 (SPOCK1), in the tumor progression and prognosis of human GBC.
SPOCK1 expression levels were measured in fresh samples and stored specimens of GBC and adjacent nontumor tissues. The effect of SPOCK1 on cell growth, DNA replication, migration and invasion were explored by Cell Counting Kit-8, colony formation, EdU retention assay, wound healing, and transwell migration assays, flow cytometric analysis, western blotting, and in vivo tumorigenesis and metastasis in nude mice.
SPOCK1 mRNA and protein levels were increased in human GBC tissues compared with those in nontumor tissues. Immunohistochemical analysis indicated that SPOCK1 levels were increased in tumors that became metastatic, compared with those that did not, which was significantly associated with histological differentiation and patients with shorter overall survival periods. Knockdown of SPOCK1 expression by lentivirus-mediated shRNA transduction resulted in significant inhibition of GBC cell growth, colony formation, DNA replication, and invasion in vitro. The knockdown cells also formed smaller xenografted tumors than control GBC cells in nude mice. Overexpression of SPOCK1 had the opposite effects. In addition, SPOCK1 promoted cancer cell migration and epithelial-mesenchymal transition by regulating the expression of relevant genes. We found that activation of the PI3K/Akt pathway was involved in the oncogenic functions of SPOCK1 in GBC.
SPOCK1 activates PI3K/Akt signaling to block apoptosis and promote proliferation and metastasis by GBC cells in vitro and in vivo. Levels of SPOCK1 increase with the progression of human GBC. SPOCK1 acts as an oncogene and may be a prognostic factor or therapeutic target for patients with GBC.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s12943-014-0276-y) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC4320842  PMID: 25623055
Gallbladder cancer; SPOCK1; Tumor progression; RNA interference; Epithelial-mesenchymal transition
21.  Baicalein Inhibits Progression of Gallbladder Cancer Cells by Downregulating ZFX 
PLoS ONE  2015;10(1):e0114851.
Baicalein, a widely used Chinese herbal medicine, has multiple pharmacological activities. However, the precise mechanisms of the anti-proliferation and anti-metastatic effects of baicalein on gallbladder cancer (GBC) remain poorly understood. Therefore, the aim of this study was to assess the anti-proliferation and anti-metastatic effects of baicalein and the related mechanism(s) on GBC. In the present study, we found that treatment with baicalein induced a significant inhibitory effect on proliferation and promoted apoptosis in GBC-SD and SGC996 cells, two widely used gallbladder cancer cell lines. Additionally, treatment with baicalein inhibited the metastasis of GBC cells. Moreover, we demonstrated for the first time that baicalein inhibited GBC cell growth and metastasis via down-regulation of the expression level of Zinc finger protein X-linked (ZFX). In conclusion, our studies suggest that baicalein may be a potential phytochemical flavonoid for therapeutics of GBC and ZFX may serve as a molecular marker or predictive target for GBC.
PMCID: PMC4305301  PMID: 25617627
22.  Discovery of Tertiary Amine and Indole Derivatives as Potent RORγt Inverse Agonists 
A novel series of tertiary amines as retinoid-related orphan receptor gamma-t (RORγt) inverse agonists was discovered through agonist/inverse agonist conversion. The level of RORγt inhibition can be enhanced by modulating the conformational disruption of H12 in RORγt LBD. Linker exploration and rational design led to the discovery of more potent indole-based RORγt inverse agonists.
PMCID: PMC4027777  PMID: 24900774
RORγt; agonists; inverse agonists; Th17 cell differentiation; cocrystal structure; structure-based design
23.  miR-429 Identified by Dynamic Transcriptome Analysis Is a New Candidate Biomarker for Colorectal Cancer Prognosis 
Colorectal cancer (CRC) is a common malignant gastrointestinal cancer. Efforts for preventive and personalized medicine have intensified in the last decade with attention to novel forms of biomarkers. In the present study, microRNA and genetic analyses were performed in tandem for differential transcriptome profiling between primary tumors with or without nodes or distant metastases. Serial Test Cluster (STC) analysis demonstrated that 20 genes and two microRNAs showed distinctive expression patterns associated with the tumor, node, and metastasis (TNM) stage. The selected target genes were characterized by GO and Pathway analysis. A microRNA-target gene network analysis showed that miR-429 resided in the center of the network, indicating that miR-429 might serve important roles in the development of CRC. Real-time PCR and tissue microarrays showed that miR-429 had a dynamic expression pattern during the CRC progression stage, and was significantly downregulated in stage II and stage III clinical progression. The low expression of miR-429 was correlated with poor prognosis for CRC. Taken together, miR-429 warrant further clinical translation research as a candidate biomarker for CRC prognosis. Additional downstream targets and attendant gene function also need to be discerned to design a sound critical path to personalized medicine for persons susceptible to, or diagnosed with CRC.
PMCID: PMC3903170  PMID: 24237355
24.  Characterization of Nestin-positive stem Leydig cells as a potential source for the treatment of testicular Leydig cell dysfunction 
Cell Research  2014;24(12):1466-1485.
The ability to identify and isolate lineage-specific stem cells from adult tissues could facilitate cell replacement therapy. Leydig cells (LCs) are the primary source of androgen in the mammalian testis, and the prospective identification of stem Leydig cells (SLCs) may offer new opportunities for treating testosterone deficiency. Here, in a transgenic mouse model expressing GFP driven by the Nestin (Nes) promoter, we observed Nes-GFP+ cells located in the testicular interstitial compartment where SLCs normally reside. We showed that these Nes-GFP+ cells expressed LIFR and PDGFR-α, but not LC lineage markers. We further observed that these cells were capable of clonogenic self-renewal and extensive proliferation in vitro and could differentiate into neural or mesenchymal cell lineages, as well as LCs, with the ability to produce testosterone, under defined conditions. Moreover, when transplanted into the testes of LC-disrupted or aging models, the Nes-GFP+ cells colonized the interstitium and partially increased testosterone production, and then accelerated meiotic and post-meiotic germ cell recovery. In addition, we further demonstrated that CD51 might be a putative cell surface marker for SLCs, similar with Nestin. Taken together, these results suggest that Nes-GFP+ cells from the testis have the characteristics of SLCs, and our study would shed new light on developing stem cell replacement therapy for testosterone deficiency.
PMCID: PMC4260348  PMID: 25418539
stem Leydig cell; Nestin; self-renewal; multipotency; Leydig cell dysfunction
25.  Intracranial extra-axial ependymoma involving the petroclival region: a rare case report 
Intracranial extraaxial ependymomas (IEAEs) are very rare, and extra-axial petroclival ependymoma (EAPE) has not been reported in the reviewed English-language literature by now. We present a male patient with EAPE misdiagnosed as a petroclival meningioma preoperatively, and involved recurrence at 4th months after operation though totally resection. Thereafter, we report this case and discuss the clinical characteristics of the disease by briefly review.
PMCID: PMC4314015
Ependymomas; extraaxial; petroclival region; intracranial

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