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1.  A subwavelength resolution microwave/6.3 GHz camera based on a metamaterial absorber 
Scientific Reports  2017;7:40490.
The design, fabrication and characterization of a novel metamaterial absorber based camera with subwavelength spatial resolution are investigated. The proposed camera is featured with simple and lightweight design, easy portability, low cost, high resolution and sensitivity, and minimal image interference or distortion to the original field distribution. The imaging capability of the proposed camera was characterized in both near field and far field ranges. The experimental and simulated near field images both reveal that the camera produces qualitatively accurate images with negligible distortion to the original field distribution. The far field demonstration was done by coupling the designed camera with a microwave convex lens. The far field results further demonstrate that the camera can capture quantitatively accurate electromagnetic wave distribution in the diffraction limit. The proposed camera can be used in application such as non-destructive image and beam direction tracer.
PMCID: PMC5223213  PMID: 28071734
2.  Development and characterization of 23 microsatellite loci for Rhododendron ovatum (Ericaceae)1 
Applications in Plant Sciences  2017;5(1):apps.1600106.
Premise of the study:
To estimate the genetic variation of Rhododendron ovatum (Ericaceae), a monoecious evergreen shrub, 23 microsatellite markers were identified from its nuclear genome.
Methods and Results:
We developed 16 polymorphic and seven monomorphic microsatellite primers using the biotin-streptavidin capture method. The 16 polymorphic loci were investigated further using 89 individuals sampled from three populations in China. The number of alleles per locus ranged from four to 30, indicating a high level of polymorphism. The observed heterozygosity varied from 0.1034 to 0.9333, while the expected heterozygosity ranged from 0.1016 to 0.9542. Of these polymorphic primers, 12 were found to be functional in R. simsii, a congeneric species of R. ovatum.
Moderate to high levels of genetic variation were found in these microsatellite loci, indicating that they can be applied in future studies of Rhododendron genetic structure, contributing to forest management and conservation.
PMCID: PMC5231914  PMID: 28090409
Ericaceae; genetic variation; microsatellites; polymorphism; Rhododendron ovatum
3.  Novel Polymorphic Multilocus Microsatellite Markers to Distinguish Candida tropicalis Isolates 
PLoS ONE  2016;11(11):e0166156.
Candida tropicalis is an important pathogen. Here we developed and evaluated a polymorphic multilocus microsatellite scheme employing novel genetic markers for genotyping of C. tropicalis. Using 10 isolates from 10 unique (separate) patients to screen over 4000 tandem repeats from the C. tropicalis genome (strain MYA-3404), six new candidate microsatellite loci (ctm1, ctm3, ctm8, ctm18, ctm24 and ctm26) were selected according to amplification success, observed polymorphisms and stability of flanking regions by preliminary testing. Two known microsatellite loci CT14 and URA3 were also studied. The 6-locus scheme was then tested against a set of 82 different isolates from 32 patients. Microsatellite genotypes of isolates from the same patient (two to five isolates per patient) were identical. The six loci produced eight to 17 allele types and identified 11 to 24 genotypes amongst 32 patients’ isolates, achieving a discriminatory power (DP) of 0.76 to 0.97 (versus 0.78 for both CT14 and URA3 loci, respectively). Testing of a combination of only three loci, ctm1, ctm3 and ctm24, also achieved maximum typing efficiency (DP = 0.99, 29 genotypes). The microsatellite typing scheme had good correlation compared with pulsed-field gel electrophoresis, although was slightly less discriminatory. The new six-locus microsatellite typing scheme is a potentially valuable tool for genotyping and investigating microevolution of C. tropicalis.
PMCID: PMC5098789  PMID: 27820850
4.  A Comprehensive Evaluation of the Bruker Biotyper MS and Vitek MS Matrix-Assisted Laser Desorption Ionization–Time of Flight Mass Spectrometry Systems for Identification of Yeasts, Part of the National China Hospital Invasive Fungal Surveillance Net (CHIF-NET) Study, 2012 to 2013 
Journal of Clinical Microbiology  2016;54(5):1376-1380.
Among the 2,683 yeast isolates representing 41 different species (25 Candida and Candida-related species and 16 non-Candida yeast species) collected in the National China Hospital Invasive Fungal Surveillance Net (CHIF-NET) program (2012 to 2013), the Bruker Biotyper MS matrix-assisted laser desorption ionization–time of flight mass spectrometry (MALDI-TOF MS) system exhibited significantly higher accuracy rates than the Vitek MS system for identification of all yeast isolates (98.8% versus 95.4%, P <0.001 by Pearson's chi-square test) and for all Candida and Candida-related species isolates (99.4% versus 95.5%, P < 0.001).
PMCID: PMC4844720  PMID: 26912761
5.  Tolterodine reduces veratridine-augmented late INa, reverse-INCX and early afterdepolarizations in isolated rabbit ventricular myocytes 
Acta Pharmacologica Sinica  2016;37(11):1432-1441.
The augmentation of late sodium current (INa.L) not only causes intracellular Na+ accumulation, which results in intracellular Ca2+ overload via the reverse mode of the Na+/Ca2+ exchange current (reverse-INCX), but also prolongs APD and induces early afterdepolarizations (EAD), which can lead to arrhythmia and cardiac dysfunction. Thus, the inhibition of INa.L is considered to be a potential way for therapeutic intervention in ischemia and heart failure. In this study we investigated the effects of tolterodine (Tol), a competitive muscarinic receptor antagonist, on normal and veratridine (Ver)-augmented INa.L, reverse-INCX and APD in isolated rabbit ventricular myocytes, which might contribute to its cardioprotective activity.
Rabbit ventricular myocytes were prepared. The INa.L and reverse-INCX were recorded in voltage clamp mode, whereas action potentials and Ver-induced early afterdepolarizations (EADs) were recorded in current clamp mode. Drugs were applied via superfusion.
Tol (3–120 nmol/L) concentration-dependently inhibited the normal and Ver-augmented INa.L with IC50 values of 32.08 nmol/L and 42.47 nmol/L, respectively. Atropine (100 μmol/L) did not affect the inhibitory effects of Tol (30 nmol/L) on Ver-augmented INa.L. In contrast, much high concentrations of Tol was needed to inhibit the transient sodium current (INa.T) with an IC50 value of 183.03 μmol/L. In addition, Tol (30 nmol/L) significantly shifted the inactivation curve of INa.T toward a more depolarizing membrane potential without affecting its activation characteristics. Moreover, Tol (30 nmol/L) significantly decreased Ver-augmented reverse-INCX. Tol (30 nmol/L) increased the action potential duration (APD) by 16% under the basal conditions. Ver (20 μmol/L) considerably extended the APD and evoked EADs in 18/24 cells (75%). In the presence of Ver, Tol (30 nmol/L) markedly decreased the APD and eliminated EADs (0/24 cells).
Tol inhibits normal and Ver-augmented INaL and decreases Ver-augmented reverse-INCX. In addition, Tol reverses the prolongation of the APD and eliminates the EADs induced by Ver, thus prevents Ver-induced arrhythmia.
PMCID: PMC5099412  PMID: 27569391
tolterodine; veratridine; ventricular myocytes; late sodium current; reverse-Na+/Ca2+ exchange current; early afterdepolarization; arrhythmia; cardioprotection
6.  Interferon-alpha therapy for refractory kaposiform hemangioendothelioma: a single-center experience 
Scientific Reports  2016;6:36261.
Kaposiform hemangioendothelioma (KHE) is a relatively rare vascular tumor with an aggressive and infiltrating nature. Previous studies have revealed an exclusive relationship between KHE and Kasabach-Merritt Phenomenon (KMP), which is associated with high morbidity and mortality. No universally accepted treatment modality exists for refractory KHE with or without KMP. The aim of this study was to evaluate the safety and efficacy of interferon-alpha (IFN-α) therapy for treatment of refractory KHE. Twelve consecutive patients with KHE were treated with subcutaneous injections of IFN-α after other treatments had failed. Eleven patients exhibited a reduction in tumor size of more than 50%, and the platelet count for all five patients with KMP returned to normal level after IFN-α therapy. The duration of IFN-α treatment ranged from 3 months to 9 months (mean: 6.3 months). The response time for IFN-α treatment ranged from 10 days to 5 weeks (mean: 3.6 weeks). Additionally, no severe complications, such as neurological damage or spastic diplegia, were observed in these patients. In conclusion, our study suggested that IFN-α therapy is effective and safe for refractory KHE, and IFN-α may be used as an alternative after other treatments have failed.
PMCID: PMC5087085  PMID: 27796340
7.  Molecular Epidemiology and Antimicrobial Susceptibility of Clostridium difficile Isolates from a University Teaching Hospital in China 
While the developed world has seen a significant increase in the number of scientific articles on Clostridium difficile infection (CDI), the developing world still lags behind on this subject due to limited laboratory capacity, low awareness, and limited surveillance of this problem. As such, CDI is considered a neglected but potentially huge problem in developing countries. The major aim of this study was to systemically evaluate the utility of several molecular typing tools for CDI, including their relevance in epidemiological studies in developing countries such as China. A total of 116 non-repetitive toxigenic C. difficile isolates from Chinese patients, were studied. The isolates comprised 83 (71.6%) A+B+CDT- isolates, 27 (23.3%) A-B+CDT- isolates, and 6 (5.1%) A+B+CDT+ isolates. Typing methods evaluated included multilocus variable-number tandem-repeat analysis, PCR ribotyping, multilocus sequence typing, and sequencing of slpA and tcdC genes, which identified 113, 30, 22, 18, and 8 genotypes each and exhibited discriminatory powers of 0.999, 0.916, 0.907, 0.883, and 0.765, respectively. Compared to A+B+ strains, A-B+ strains exhibited higher prevalence of drug resistance to clindamycin, erythromycin, levofloxacin, rifampicin, rifaximin, and tetracycline. Furthermore, drug resistance rates of strains with different PCR ribotypes differed, supporting the importance of molecular typing in management and control of CDI. Based on our earlier suggestion to improve the diagnostic laboratory capacity of CDI in developing countries, setting up efficient surveillance programs complemented by relevant molecular typing methods is warranted.
PMCID: PMC5065952  PMID: 27799923
Clostridium difficile; molecular typing; antimicrobial resistance; surveillance; China
8.  Prognostic value of autophagy related proteins ULK1, Beclin 1, ATG3, ATG5, ATG7, ATG9, ATG10, ATG12, LC3B and p62/SQSTM1 in gastric cancer 
Autophagy-related (ATG) genes contributed to tumorigenesis and cancer progression. This study aims to investigate the expression of ATG proteins and their clinicopathological significance in gastric cancer. Nine well-known ATG proteins, (ULK1, Beclin 1, ATG3, ATG5, ATG7, ATG9, ATG10, ATG12 and LC3B) and p62/SQSTM1, which represented key regulators that participated in whole autophagosomes stepwise processes, were detected in a large cohort of 352 primary gastric cancer patients. Among these 352 patients, 117 cases were randomly assigned to the training set to detect the clinicopathological value of ATG proteins, and another 235 patients were used as the testing set for further validation. Except for Beclin 1, ATG9 and ATG10, another six ATG proteins and p62/SQSTM1 were closely correlated with histological types for gastric cancer. Moreover, low expression of ULK1, Beclin 1 and ATG10 were associated with lymph node metastasis. In addition, down-regulation of ULK1, Beclin 1, ATG7 and ATG10, up-regulation of ATG12 correlated with advanced TNM stage. Importantly, multivariate cox analysis identified ULK1, Beclin 1, ATG3 and ATG10 as favorable independent prognostic factors for overall survival. Combination analysis of ULK1, Beclin 1, ATG3, ATG10 revealed the improved prognostic accuracy for gastric cancer. Our study showed that ATG proteins might serve as novel prognostic biomarkers in gastric cancer, and supply a new valuable insight into cancer treatment targeting autophagy for patients.
PMCID: PMC5040681  PMID: 27725863
ATG proteins; autophagosomes formation steps; prognostic marker; gastric cancer
9.  Maternal uniparental disomy 14 and mosaic trisomy 14 in a Chinese boy with moderate to severe intellectual disability 
Molecular Cytogenetics  2016;9(1):66.
Both maternal uniparental disomy 14 (UPD(14)mat) and mosaic trisomy 14 are rare events in live individuals. A combination of the two events in one individual is rarely encountered. Only six live-born cases have so far been reported.
Case presentation
Here we reported a case of concomitant UPD(14)mat and mosaic trisomy 14 in a 10-year-old Chinese patient. Most clinical features of our patient were consistent with those previous reported for UPD(14)mat cases, which include prenatal and postnatal growth retardation, neonatal hypotonia, feeding difficulty, intellectual disability, truncal obesity, small hands and feet, short stature, and mild facial dysmorphism, but our patient showed more severe intellectual disability and no sign of precocious puberty. SNP array analysis revealed a mixture of chromosome 14 maternal isodisomy with heterodisomy and a low level trisomy mosaicism of whole chromsome 14 in blood and hyperpigmented skin samples, whereas only UPD(14)mat was detected in normal skin sample. Cytogenetic analysis identified one trisomy 14 cell in 100 metaphase of peripheral blood lymphocytes (47,XX, +14[1]/46,XX[99]).
To our knowledge, this is the first case of a patient with UPD(14)mat and mosaic trisomy 14 reported in a Chinese patient. The definitive genetic diagnosis is beneficial for genetic counseling and clinical management of our patient, and for improving our understanding of the genotype-phenotype correlations of concomitant UPD(14)mat and mosaic trisomy 14.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s13039-016-0274-4) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC4995659  PMID: 27559361
Maternal uniparental disomy 14; UPD(14)mat; Mosaicism; SNP array
10.  MIF Plays a Key Role in Regulating Tissue-Specific Chondro-Osteogenic Differentiation Fate of Human Cartilage Endplate Stem Cells under Hypoxia 
Stem Cell Reports  2016;7(2):249-262.
Degenerative cartilage endplate (CEP) shows decreased chondrification and increased ossification. Cartilage endplate stem cells (CESCs), with the capacity for chondro-osteogenic differentiation, are responsible for CEP restoration. CEP is avascular and hypoxic, while the physiological hypoxia is disrupted in the degenerated CEP. Hypoxia promoted chondrogenesis but inhibited osteogenesis in CESCs. This tissue-specific differentiation fate of CESCs in response to hypoxia was physiologically significant with regard to CEP maintaining chondrification and refusing ossification. MIF, a downstream target of HIF1A, is involved in cartilage and bone metabolisms, although little is known about its regulatory role in differentiation. In CESCs, MIF was identified as a key point through which HIF1A regulated the chondro-osteogenic differentiation. Unexpectedly, unlike the traditionally recognized mode, increased nuclear-expressed MIF under hypoxia was identified to act as a transcriptional regulator by interacting with the promoter of SOX9 and RUNX2. This mode of HIF1A/MIF function may represent a target for CEP degeneration therapy.
Graphical Abstract
•The hypoxic microenvironment is disrupted in degenerative CEP•Hypoxia promotes chondrogenesis but inhibits osteogenesis in CESCs•Hypoxia regulates chondro-osteogenesis through HIF1A/MIF pathway•MIF acts as a transcriptional regulator under hypoxia
In this article, Zhou, Huang, Liu, and colleagues show how the HIF1A/MIF pathway regulated the chondro-osteogenic differentiation of CESCs and suggest the role of MIF as a transcriptional regulator under hypoxia.
PMCID: PMC4982989  PMID: 27509135
11.  Blockade of Extracellular High-Mobility Group Box 1 Attenuates Systemic Inflammation and Coagulation Abnormalities in Rats with Acute Traumatic Coagulopathy 
As an extracellularly released mediator, high-mobility group box 1 (HMGB1) initiates sterile inflammation following severe trauma. Serum HMGB1 levels correlate well with acute traumatic coagulopathy (ATC) in trauma patients, which is independently associated with higher mortality. We investigated the involvement of HMGB1 in ATC through blocking extracellular HMGB1.
The ATC model was induced by polytrauma and hemorrhage in male Sprague-Dawley rats, which were randomly assigned to sham, ATC, and ATCH (ATC with HMGB1 blockade) groups. Thrombelastography (TEG) was performed to monitor changes in coagulation function. Serum levels of HMGB1, TNF-α, and IL-6 were measured, as well as lung levels of HMGB1 and nuclear factor (NF)-κB and expression of receptor for advanced glycation end-products (RAGE).
Compared with the sham group, HMGB1 increased the serum levels of TNF-α and IL-6, whereas HMGB1 blockade inhibited the induction of TNF-α and IL-6. HMGB1 also induced elevated serum soluble P-selectin and fibrinolysis markers plasmin-antiplasmin complex, which both were reduced by HMGB1 blockade. Thrombelastography revealed the hypocoagulability status in the ATC group, which was attenuated by anti-HMGB1 antibody. Furthermore, the lung level of NF-κB and expression of RAGE were decreased by anti-HMGB1 antibody, suggesting the role of RAGE/NF-κB pathway in ATC.
HMGB1 blockade can attenuate inflammation and coagulopathy in ATC rats. Anti-HMGB1 antibody might exert protective effects partly through the RAGE/NF-κB pathway. Thus, HMGB1 has potential as a therapeutic target in ATC.
PMCID: PMC4965062  PMID: 27436061
Hemorrhage; HMGB1 Protein; Inflammation
12.  Upregulation of Leukocytic Syncytin-1 in Acute Myeloid Leukemia Patients 
Syncytin-1, a cell membrane-localizing fusogen, is abnormally expressed in several cancers, including endometrial cancer, breast cancer, and leukemia. Although abnormal syncytin-1 expression has been detected in two-thirds of leukemia blood samples, its expression profile in acute leukemia patients has not yet been analyzed.
Bone marrow samples from 50 acute myelogenous leukemia (AML) cases and 14 B-cell acute lymphocytic leukemia (B-cell ALL) patients were subjected to flow cytometry to assess leukocyte type distributions and leukocytic syncytin-1 surface expression. RT-PCR was applied to assess leukocytic syncytin-1 mRNA expression. Statistical analysis was applied to compare syncytin-1 expression between AML and B-cell ALL patients across blasts, granulocytes, lymphocytes, and monocytes as well as to determine clinical factors statistically associated with changes in syncytin-1 expression.
The leukocyte type distributions of the AML and B-cell ALL cohorts highly overlapped, with an observable difference in blast distribution between the 2 cohorts. The AML cohort displayed significantly greater syncytin-1 surface and mRNA expression (p<0.05). Syncytin-1 surface and mRNA expression was significantly increased across all 4 leukocyte types (p<0.05). The percentage of syncytin-1-expressing blasts was significantly greater in AML patients (p<0.05), with blasts showing the largest fold-change in syncytin-1 expression (p<0.05). M5, M5a, and M5b AML patients displayed significantly higher syncytin-1 surface expression relative to all other AML French-American-British (FAB) classifications (p<0.05).
These findings suggest leukocytic syncytin-1 expression may play a role in the development and/or maintenance of the AML phenotype and the acute monocytic leukemia phenotype in particular.
PMCID: PMC4941896  PMID: 27393911
Leukemia, Biphenotypic, Acute; Leukemia, Experimental; Leukemia, Myeloid, Acute
13.  Misidentification of a Rare Species, Cryptococcus laurentii, by Commonly Used Commercial Biochemical Methods and Matrix-Assisted Laser Desorption Ionization–Time of Flight Mass Spectrometry Systems: Challenges for Clinical Mycology Laboratories 
Journal of Clinical Microbiology  2015;54(1):226-229.
Forty-two putative Cryptococcus laurentii isolates identified by the Vitek 2 system were collected in China. The gold standard, internal transcribed spacer (ITS) sequencing, confirmed that only two isolates were genuine C. laurentii. Bruker Biotyper matrix-assisted laser desorption ionization–time of flight mass spectrometry was able to identify the C. laurentii isolates with an expanded custom database.
PMCID: PMC4702751  PMID: 26560541
14.  Metastatic renal cell carcinoma: the first report of unilateral fundus hemorrhage induced by sorafenib 
Oncotarget  2016;7(23):35181-35187.
Renal cell carcinoma (RCC) is the most common type of kidney tumor with increasing incidence. Tyrosine Kinase Inhibitors (TKIs) are considered important treatment in the management of metastatic RCC. Some previous studies demonstrated that sorafenib treatment is associated with a significantly increased risk of potentially life-threatening adverse events, like bleeding. But bleeding at the fundus site is the rarest type of hemorrhage. As for TKIs' risk of bleeding, how we distinguish the degree of bleeding and what optimal strategies should we take to manage bleeding, needs to be studied systematically.
With a long-term exposure (17 months) to sorafenib, he experienced blurred vision in his right eye and was hospitalized. The patient's diagnosis was central retinal vein occlusion (CRVO) of the right eye. Unfortunately sorafenib was terminated.
Materials and Methods
The authors describe the first case of unilateral fundus hemorrhage induced by sorafenib. A 42-year-old man was diagnosed metastatic left RCC, with clinical stage and prognostic risk being assessed as T4N1M1 and intermediate. He received a radical left nephrectomy and retroperitoneal lymph node dissection, with taking the oral multi-targeted TKI, sorafenib (800 mg daily) from 7 months to 7 days before the surgery and 7 days after the surgery restarting again until the occurrence of fundus hemorrhage.
In this patient, long-term exposure to sorafenib possibly has increased the risk of fundus hemorrhage. This article provides us a previously undescribed morbidity associated with sorafenib, which reminds us of understanding the risk of bleeding and how this complication might be managed systematically.
PMCID: PMC5085219  PMID: 27174916
RCC; sorafenib; TKIs; CRVO; unilateral
15.  Investigation of an unrecognized large-scale outbreak of Candida parapsilosis sensu stricto fungaemia in a tertiary-care hospital in China 
Scientific Reports  2016;6:27099.
A data analysis of yeast collections from the National China Hospital Invasive Fungal Surveillance Net (CHIF-NET) programme in 2013 revealed a sudden increase in the proportion of Candida parapsilosis complex isolates (n = 98) in one participating hospital (Hospital H). Out of 443 yeast isolates submitted to the CHIF-NET reference laboratory by Hospital H (2010–2014), 212 (47.9%) were identified as C. parapsilosis sensu stricto by sequencing analysis of the internal transcribed spacer region and D1/D2 domain of the 26S rRNA gene. Among the 212 C. parapsilosis sensu stricto isolates, 176 (83.0%) bloodstream-based isolates and 25 isolates from tip cultures of various vascular catheters from 25 patients with candidaemia, were subjected to microsatellite genotyping, and a phylogenetic relationship analysis was performed for 152 isolates. Among the 152 isolates, 45 genotypes (T01 to T45) were identified, and two prevalent genotypes (63.8%) were found: T15 (n = 74, 48.7%) and T16 (n = 23, 15.1%). These two main clones were confined mainly to three different wards of the hospital, and they persisted for 16–25 months and 12–13 months, respectively. The lack of proper coordination between the clinical microbiology laboratory and infection control staff as part of public health control resulted in the failure to timely identify an outbreak, which led to the wide and long-term dissemination of C. parapsilosis sensu stricto in Hospital H.
PMCID: PMC4890031  PMID: 27251023
16.  A novel de novo microdeletion at 17q11.2 adjacent to NF1 gene associated with developmental delay, short stature, microcephaly and dysmorphic features 
Microdeletions at 17q11.2 often encompass NF1 gene, is the cause for NF1 microdeletion syndrome. Microdeletion at 17q11.2 without the involvement of NF1 gene is rarely reported.
Case presentation
Here we reported a patient carrying a novel de novo deletion at 17q11.2 adjacent to NF1 gene, who presented with developmental delay, short stature, postnatal microcephaly, underweight and dysmorphic features including flat facial profile, dolicocephaly, hypertelorism, short philtrum, flat nasal bridge and posteriorly rotated and low set ears. Chromosomal microarray analysis revealed a 1.69 Mb de novo deletion at 17q11.2 adjacent to NF1 gene, which involves 43 RefSeq genes. We compared this with four overlapping deletions at this interval.
A rare de novo microdeletion at 17q11.2 not involving NF1 gene is associated with developmental delay and dysmorphic features. Seven genes, TAOK1, PHF12, NUFIP2, SLC26A4, SEZ6, GIT1 and TRAF4 are possible candidates for the clinical features of our patient. The delineation of this rare deletion and description of associated clinical phenotypes will help to understand the genotype-phenotype correlation of genomic imbalances at this locus.
PMCID: PMC4886423  PMID: 27247625
Developmental delay; Short stature; Microcephaly; Chromosomal microarray; SNP array; 17q11.2; Microdeletion
17.  Diverse Genetic Background of Multidrug-Resistant Pseudomonas aeruginosa from Mainland China, and Emergence of an Extensively Drug-Resistant ST292 Clone in Kunming 
Scientific Reports  2016;6:26522.
For a better understanding of the multidrug resistant Pseudomonas aeruginosa (MDR-PA) epidemiology in mainland China, a nationwide surveillance network of 27 tertiary hospitals was established. Non-duplicate MDR-PA isolates from 254 cases of nosocomial infections, were collected during the period August 2011 to July 2012. Minimum inhibitory concentrations (MICs) of nine antimicrobial agents were determined by broth micro-dilution method according to the CLSI guidelines [M7-A10]. Genotyping analysis was performed by multilocus sequence typing (MLST) and pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE). The presence of acquired carbapenemases was also determined by molecular approaches for 233 carbapenem-resistant isolates. Carbapenemase genes were detected in 19 (8.2%) isolates, with 13 of these isolates encoding IMP-type enzymes, five with VIM-2, and one with KPC-2. MLST analysis revealed significant genetic diversity among the MDR-PA isolates studied, and 91 STs (including 17 novel STs) were identified. However, a long-term outbreak of an emerging extensively drug-resistant (XDR) ST292/PFGE genotype A clone was detected in a hospital from Southwest China. This study has demonstrated that MDR-PA in mainland China have evolved from diverse genetic backgrounds. Evidence of clonal dissemination of the organism and nosocomial outbreaks in some regions, suggest a need to strengthen existing infection control measures.
PMCID: PMC4873832  PMID: 27198004
18.  Mutation screening of the TPO gene in a cohort of 192 Chinese patients with congenital hypothyroidism 
BMJ Open  2016;6(5):e010719.
Defects in the human thyroid peroxidase (TPO) gene are reported to be one of the causes of congenital hypothyroidism (CH) due to dyshormonogenesis. The aim of this study was to examine the TPO mutation spectrum and prevalence among patients with CH in the Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region of China and to define the relationships between TPO genotypes and clinical phenotypes.
Blood samples were collected from 192 patients with CH in the Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, China and genomic DNA was extracted from peripheral blood leucocytes. All exons of the 10 common CH-associated genes including TPO together with their exon-intron boundaries were screened by next-generation sequencing (NGS). The effect of the novel TPO mutation was investigated by ‘in silico’ studies.
NGS analysis of TPO in 192 patients with CH revealed 3 different variations in 2 individuals (2/192, 1%). Sequencing other CH candidate genes in the patients with TPO variants revealed that patient 1 was homozygous for c.2422delT TPO mutation combined with double heterozygous DUOX2 pathogenic variants (p.R683L/p.L1343F) and patient 2 was triallelic for TPO pathogenic variants (p.R648Q/p.T561M/p.T561M). The present study identified a novel TPO variation c.1682C>T/p.T561M; and four known mutations: c.2422delT/p.C808Afs×24 and c.1943C>T/p.R648Q in TPO, c.2048G>T/p.R683L and c.4027C>T/p.L1343F in DUOX2.
Our study indicated that the prevalence of TPO mutations was 1% among studied Chinese patients with CH. More than two variations in one or more CH-associated genes can be found in a single patient, and may, in combination, affect the phenotype of the individual. A novel TPO variation c.1682C>T/p.T561M was found, thereby expanding the mutational spectrum of the gene.
PMCID: PMC4874165  PMID: 27173810
Congenital hypothyroidism; TPO; gene mutations; China; next-generation sequencing
19.  de novo interstitial deletions at the 11q23.3-q24.2 region 
Jacobsen syndrome (JBS) is a contiguous gene deletion syndrome involving 11q terminal deletion. Interstitial deletions at distal 11q are rare and their contributions to the clinical phenotype of JBS are unknown.
Case presentation
We presented the chromosome microarray (CMA) data and the clinical features of two individuals carrying a non-overlapping de novo deletion each at the 11q23.3-q24.2 region in an effort to analyze the correlation between region of deletion at 11q and phenotype. Both deletions are likely pathogenic for patient’s condition. The deletion at 11q23.3q24.1 is associated with short stature, relative microcephaly, failure to thrive, hypotonia and sleeping disorder. The deletion at 11q24.2 involves HEPACAM and our patient’s clinical presentation (relative macrocephaly, abnormal MRI, mild developmental delay and seizure) is not inconsistent with Megalencephalic leukoencephalopathy with subcortical cysts 2B.
Our finds support the notion that more than one critical region at 11q23.3-qter are responsible for the variable clinical presentation of JBS, thus JBS is a true contiguous gene deletion syndrome where multiple loci contributed to the clinical characteristics of JBS. Small interstitial deletions at 11q23.3-q24.2 and their associated unique features also suggest emerging novel genomic disorders.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s13039-016-0247-7) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC4858824  PMID: 27158264
Jacobsen syndrome; Contiguous gene deletion syndrome; Chromosomal microarray; Interstitial deletion
20.  Matrix stiffness promotes cartilage endplate chondrocyte calcification in disc degeneration via miR-20a targeting ANKH expression 
Scientific Reports  2016;6:25401.
The mechanical environment is crucial for intervertebral disc degeneration (IDD). However, the mechanisms underlying the regulation of cartilage endplate (CEP) calcification by altered matrix stiffness remain unclear. In this study, we found that matrix stiffness of CEP was positively correlated with the degree of IDD, and stiff matrix, which mimicked the severe degeneration of CEP, promoted inorganic phosphate-induced calcification in CEP chondrocytes. Co-expression analysis of the miRNA and mRNA profiles showed that increasing stiffness resulted in up-regulation of miR-20a and down-regulation of decreased ankylosis protein homolog (ANKH) during inorganic phosphate-induced calcification in CEP chondrocytes. Through a dual luciferase reporter assay, we confirmed that miR-20a directly targets 3′-untranslated regions of ANKH. The inhibition of miR-20a attenuated the calcium deposition and calcification-related gene expression, whereas the overexpression of miR-20a enhanced calcification in CEP chondrocytes on stiff matrix. The rescue of ANKH expression restored the decreased pyrophosphate efflux and inhibited calcification. In clinical samples, the levels of ANKH expression were inversely associated with the degeneration degree of CEP. Thus, our findings demonstrate that the miR-20a/ANKH axis mediates the stiff matrix- promoted CEP calcification, suggesting that miR-20a and ANKH are potential targets in restraining the progression of IDD.
PMCID: PMC4855171  PMID: 27142968
21.  Sequencer-Based Capillary Gel Electrophoresis (SCGE) Targeting the rDNA Internal Transcribed Spacer (ITS) Regions for Accurate Identification of Clinically Important Yeast Species 
PLoS ONE  2016;11(4):e0154385.
Accurate species identification of Candida, Cryptococcus, Trichosporon and other yeast pathogens is important for clinical management. In the present study, we developed and evaluated a yeast species identification scheme by determining the rDNA internal transcribed spacer (ITS) region length types (LTs) using a sequencer-based capillary gel electrophoresis (SCGE) approach. A total of 156 yeast isolates encompassing 32 species were first used to establish a reference SCGE ITS LT database. Evaluation of the ITS LT database was then performed on (i) a separate set of (n = 97) clinical isolates by SCGE, and (ii) 41 isolates of 41 additional yeast species from GenBank by in silico analysis. Of 156 isolates used to build the reference database, 41 ITS LTs were identified, which correctly identified 29 of the 32 (90.6%) species, with the exception of Trichosporon asahii, Trichosporon japonicum and Trichosporon asteroides. In addition, eight of the 32 species revealed different electropherograms and were subtyped into 2–3 different ITS LTs each. Of the 97 test isolates used to evaluate the ITS LT scheme, 96 (99.0%) were correctly identified to species level, with the remaining isolate having a novel ITS LT. Of the additional 41 isolates for in silico analysis, none was misidentified by the ITS LT database except for Trichosporon mucoides whose ITS LT profile was identical to that of Trichosporon dermatis. In conclusion, yeast identification by the present SCGE ITS LT assay is a fast, reproducible and accurate alternative for the identification of clinically important yeasts with the exception of Trichosporon species.
PMCID: PMC4841527  PMID: 27105313
22.  Genotypic Diversity of Staphylococcus aureus α-Hemolysin Gene (hla) and Its Association with Clonal Background: Implications for Vaccine Development 
PLoS ONE  2016;11(2):e0149112.
The α-hemolysin, encoded by the hla gene, is a major virulence factor in S. aureus infections. Changes in key amino acid residues of α-hemolysin can result in reduction, or even loss, of toxicity. The aim of this study was to investigate the diversity of the hla gene sequence and the relationship of hla variants to the clonal background of S. aureus isolates. A total of 47 clinical isolates from China were used in this study, supplemented with in silico analysis of 318 well-characterized whole genome sequences from globally distributed isolates. A total of 28 hla genotypes were found, including three unique to isolates from China, 20 found only in the global genomes and five found in both. The hla genotype generally correlated with the clonal background, particularly the multilocus sequence type, but was not related to geographic origin, host source or methicillin-resistance phenotype. In addition, the hla gene showed greater diversity than the seven loci utilized in the MLST scheme for S. aureus. Our investigation has provided genetic data which may be useful for future studies of toxicity, immunogenicity and vaccine development.
PMCID: PMC4750931  PMID: 26866483
23.  Silicene nanomeshes: bandgap opening by bond symmetry breaking and uniaxial strain 
Scientific Reports  2016;6:20971.
Based on the first-principles calculations, we have investigated in detail the bandgap opening of silicene nanomeshes. Different to the mechanism of bandgap opening induced by the sublattice equivalence breaking, the method of degenerate perturbation through breaking the bond symmetry could split the π-like bands in the inversion symmetry preserved silicene nanomeshes, resulting into the πa1 − πa2 and πz1 − πz2 band sets with sizable energy intervals. Besides the bandgap opening in the nanomeshes with Dirac point being folded to Γ point, the split energy intervals are however apart away from Fermi level to leave the semimetal nature unchanged for the other nanomeshes with Dirac points located at opposite sides of Γ point as opposite pseudo spin wave valleys. A mass bandgap could be then opened at the aid of uniaxial strain to transfer the nanomesh to be semiconducting, whose width could be continuously enlarged until reaching its maximum Emax. Moreover, the Emax could also be tuned by controlling the defect density in silicene nanomeshes. These studies could contribute to the understanding of the bandgap engineering of silicene-based nanomaterials to call for further investigations on both theory and experiment.
PMCID: PMC4748269  PMID: 26860967
24.  Wnt11 plays an important role in the osteogenesis of human mesenchymal stem cells in a PHA/FN/ALG composite scaffold: possible treatment for infected bone defect 
Infected bone defect poses a great challenge for orthopedists because it is difficult to cure. Tissue-engineered bone based on the human mesenchymal stem cells (hMSCs), has currently taken a promising treatment protocol in clinical practice. In a previous study, a porous hydroxyapatite/fibronectin/alginate (PHA/FN/ALG) composite scaffold displayed favorable biological properties as a novel scaffold, which was considered better than single-material scaffolds. In addition, Wnt11 has been demonstrated to play an important role in the development of osteoblasts, but until recently, its role in the osteogenic differentiation of hMSCs in infectious environment remained unclear.
In this study, we constructed a PHA/FN/ALG composite scaffold with layer-by-layer technology. Furthermore, we also constructed Wnt11-silenced (RNAi) and -overexpressing hMSCs by lentiviral transduction. The gene transduction efficacy was confirmed by quantitative PCR assay and Western blot analysis. Tissue-engineered bone was constructed with hMSCs and PHA/FN/ALG composite scaffolds, and then was implanted into an infected bone defect model for evaluating the osteogenic capacity by quantitative PCR, gross observation, micro-CT and histology analysis.
All those cells showed similar adhesion abilities and proliferation capacities in scaffolds. After tissue-engineered bone implantation, there were high levels of systemic inflammatory factors in vivo, which significantly declined three days after antibiotic therapy. One or two months after implantation, the results of osteogenic-related gene analyses, gross observation, micro-CT and histology consistently showed that the Wnt11 over-expression hMSC group displayed the strongest osteogenesis capacity, whereas the Wnt11-RNAi hMSC group displayed inferior osteogenesis capacity, when compared with the other cell-containing groups. However, the blank control group and the only composite scaffold without cell implantation group both showed extremely weak osteogenesis capacity.
Our results revealed that the Wnt11 gene plays an important role in hMSCs for enhancing the osteogenesis in an infectious environment.
PMCID: PMC4729148  PMID: 26818191
Wnt11; infected bone defect; osteogenesis; alginate; porous hydroxyapatite; fibronectin
25.  Accurate Identification of Common Pathogenic Nocardia Species: Evaluation of a Multilocus Sequence Analysis Platform and Matrix-Assisted Laser Desorption Ionization-Time of Flight Mass Spectrometry 
PLoS ONE  2016;11(1):e0147487.
Species identification of Nocardia is not straightforward due to rapidly evolving taxonomy, insufficient discriminatory power of conventional phenotypic methods and also of single gene locus analysis including 16S rRNA gene sequencing. Here we evaluated the ability of a 5-locus (16S rRNA, gyrB, secA1, hsp65 and rpoB) multilocus sequence analysis (MLSA) approach as well as that of matrix-assisted laser desorption ionization-time of flight mass spectrometry (MALDI-TOF MS) in comparison with sequencing of the 5’-end 606 bp partial 16S rRNA gene to provide identification of 25 clinical isolates of Nocardia. The 5’-end 606 bp 16S rRNA gene sequencing successfully assigned 24 of 25 (96%) clinical isolates to species level, namely Nocardia cyriacigeorgica (n = 12, 48%), N. farcinica (n = 9, 36%), N. abscessus (n = 2, 8%) and N. otitidiscaviarum (n = 1, 4%). MLSA showed concordance with 16S rRNA gene sequencing results for the same 24 isolates. However, MLSA was able to identify the remaining isolate as N. wallacei, and clustered N. cyriacigeorgica into three subgroups. None of the clinical isolates were correctly identified to the species level by MALDI-TOF MS analysis using the manufacturer-provided database. A small “in-house” spectral database was established incorporating spectra of five clinical isolates representing the five species identified in this study. After complementation with the “in-house” database, of the remaining 20 isolates, 19 (95%) were correctly identified to species level (score ≥ 2.00) and one (an N. abscessus strain) to genus level (score ≥ 1.70 and < 2.00). In summary, MLSA showed superior discriminatory power compared with the 5’-end 606 bp partial 16S rRNA gene sequencing for species identification of Nocardia. MALDI-TOF MS can provide rapid and accurate identification but is reliant on a robust mass spectra database.
PMCID: PMC4726625  PMID: 26808813

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