EPAC proteins are the guanine nucleotide exchange factors that act as the intracellular receptors for cyclic AMP. Two variants of EPAC genes including EPAC1 and EPAC2 are cloned and are widely expressed throughout the brain. But, their functions in the brain remain unknown. Here, we genetically delete EPAC1 (EPAC1-/-), or EPAC2 (EPAC2-/-) or both EPAC1 and EPAC2 genes (EPAC-/-) in the forebrain of mice. We show that EPAC null mutation impairs long-term potentiation (LTP) and that this impairment is paralleled with the severe deficits in spatial learning and social interactions and is mediated in a direct manner by miR-124 transcription and Zif268 translation. Knockdown of miR-124 restores Zif268 and hence reverses all aspects of the EPAC-/- phenotypes, whereas expression of miR-124 or knockdown of Zif268 reproduces the effects of EPAC null mutation. Thus, EPAC proteins control miR-124 transcription in the brain for processing spatial learning and social interactions.
Chronic kidney disease (CKD) is a major cause of death and morbidity in Australia and worldwide. DNA vaccination has been used for targeting foreign antigens to induce immune responses and prevent autoimmune disease, viral infection and cancer. However, the use of DNA vaccination has been restricted by a limited ability to induce strong immune responses, especially against self-antigens which are limited by mechanisms of self-tolerance. Furthermore, there have been few studies on the potential of DNA vaccination in chronic inflammatory diseases, including CKD. We have established strategies of DNA vaccination targeting specific self-antigens in the immune system including co-stimulatory pathways, T cell receptors and chemokine molecules, which have been effective in protecting against the development of CKD in a variety of animal models. In particular, we find that the efficacy of DNA vaccination is improved by dendritic cell (DC) targeting and can protect against animal models of autoimmune nephritis mimicking human membranous nephropathy. In this review, we summarize several approaches that have been tested to improve the efficacy of DNA vaccination in CKD models, including enhanced DNA vaccine delivery methods, DNA vaccine modifications and new molecular targets for DNA vaccination. Finally, we discuss the specific application of DNA vaccination for preventing and treating CKD.
DNA vaccination; dendritic cell; DEC205; CD40; cytokine; costimulatory molecular; active Heymann nephritis (HN); adriamycin nephropathy (AN)
AIM: To give a comprehensive report of E-cadherin gene (CDH1) variations in a population at a high risk for gastric cancer (GC).
METHODS: The samples consisted of 178 men and 58 women with a mean age of 62.3 ± 9.4 years and an age range of 30-84 years. A total of 240 cancer-free controls were recruited (mean age of 61.8 ± 10.1 years, age range of 26-82 years). Samples were screened for CDH1 germline mutations by high-resolution melting analysis or directly sequencing. Luciferase reporter assay, RNA splicing assay and bioinformatic analysis were used to evaluate the effect of mutations.
RESULTS: Four novel CDH1 sequence alterations were identified in GC patients including a G>T transition 49 bp before the start codon; a three-nucleotide deletion, c.44_46del TGC; one missense mutation, c.604G>A (V202I); and one variation in the intron, c.1320+7A>G. In addition, polymorphism frequencies were observed for CDH1-164delT, -161C>A, -73A>C, c.48+6C>T, c.48+62_48+63delinsCGTGCCCCAGCCC, c.894C>T (A298A), c.1224G>A (A408A), c.1888C>G (L630V), c.2076T>C (A692A), and c.2253C>T (N751N) which is similar to the data reported in http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/projects/SNP/. RNA splicing analysis suggested that the c.1320+7A>G and c.1224G>A variations did not affect exon splicing ability. Luciferase reporter assay demonstrated that the c.-49T variation might be helpful for E-cadherin transcription, though the increase in transcription activity is limited (only 33%). SIFT score and PolyPhen analysis both demonstrated that the L630V missense mutation probably damages protein function, while the V202I variant does not.
CONCLUSION: This study reveals novel mutations in sporadic GC patients which had been poorly investigated for susceptibility genes.
Gastric cancer; Germline mutation; CDH1; Luciferase reporter assay; RNA splicing analysis
Macrophages have heterogeneous phenotypes and complex functions within both innate and adaptive immune responses. To date, most experimental studies have been performed on macrophages derived from bone marrow, spleen and peritoneum. However, differences among macrophages from these particular sources remain unclear. In this study, the features of murine macrophages from bone marrow, spleen and peritoneum were compared.
We found that peritoneal macrophages (PMs) appear to be more mature than bone marrow derived macrophages (BMs) and splenic macrophages (SPMs) based on their morphology and surface molecular characteristics. BMs showed the strongest capacity for both proliferation and phagocytosis among the three populations of macrophage. Under resting conditions, SPMs maintained high levels of pro-inflammatory cytokines expression (IL-6, IL-12 and TNF-α), whereas BMs produced high levels of suppressive cytokines (IL-10 and TGF-β). However, SPMs activated with LPS not only maintained higher levels of (IL-6, IL-12 and TNF-α) than BMs or PMs, but also maintained higher levels of IL-10 and TGF-β.
Our results show that BMs, SPMs and PMs are distinct populations with different biological functions, providing clues to guide their further experimental or therapeutic use.
Macrophage; Bone marrow; Spleen; Peritoneum
The fitness of any organisms includes the survival and reproductive rate of adults and the survival of their offspring. Environmental selection pressures might not affect these two aspects of an organism equally. Assuming that an organism first allocates its limited resources to maintain its survival under environmental selection pressure, our model, based on the evolutionarily stable strategy theory, surprisingly shows that the sex ratio is greatly affected by the environmental pressure intensity and by the reproductive resource elasticity of offspring survival. Moreover, the concept of the resource elasticity of offspring survival intrinsically integrates the ecological concepts of K selection and r selection. The model shows that in a species with reproductive strategy K, increased environmental selection pressure will reduce resource allocation to the male function. By contrast, in a species with reproductive strategy r, harsher environmental selection pressure will increase allocation to the male function. The elasticity of offspring survival might vary not only across species, but also across many other factors affecting the same species (e.g., age structure, spatial heterogeneity), which explains sex ratio differences across species or age structures and spatial heterogeneity in the same species.
Commercial production of acarbose is exclusively via done microbial fermentation with strains from the genera of Actinoplanes. The addition of C7N-aminocyclitols for enhanced production of acarbose and concurrently reduced formation of impurity C by cultivation of A. utahensis ZJB-08196 in 500-mL shake flasks was investigated, and validamine was found to be the most effective strategy. Under the optimal conditions of validamine addition, acarbose titer was increased from 3560 ± 128 mg/L to 4950 ± 156 mg/L, and impurity C concentration was concurrently decreased from 289 ± 24 mg/L to 107 ± 29 mg/L in batch fermentation after 168 h of cultivation. A further fed-batch experiment coupled with the addition of validamine (20 mg/L) in the fermentation medium prior to inoculation was designed to enhance the production of acarbose. When twice feedings of a mixture of 6 g/L glucose, 14 g/L maltose, and 9 g/L soybean flour were performed at 72 h and 96 h, acarbose titer reached 6606 ± 103 mg/L and impurity C concentration was only 212 ± 12 mg/L at 168 h of cultivation. Acarbose titer and proportion of acarbose/impurity C increased by 85.6% and 152.9% when compared with control experiments. This work demonstrates for the first time that validamine addition is a simple and effective strategy for increasing acarbose production and reducing impurity C formation.
To correlate proton magnetic resonance spectroscopy (1H-MRS), dynamic contrast-enhanced MRI (DCE-MRI) and 18F-fluorodeoxyglucose (18F-FDG) positron emission tomography (PET) in nodal metastases of patients with head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC) for assessment of tumor biology. Additionally, pretreatment multimodality imaging (MMI) was evaluated for its efficacy in predicting short-term response to treatment.
Methods and Materials
Metastatic neck nodes were imaged with 1H-MRS, DCE-MRI and 18F-FDG PET in 16 patients with newly diagnosed HNSCC before treatment. Short-term radiological response was evaluated at 3–4 months. The correlations between 1H-MRS (choline concentration, Cho/W), DCE-MRI (volume transfer constant, Ktrans; volume fraction of the extravascular extracellular space, ve; and redistribution rate constant, kep) and 18F-FDG PET (standard uptake value, SUV; and total lesion glycolysis, TLG) were calculated using non-parametric Spearman rank correlation. To predict the short-term response, logistic regression analysis was performed.
A significant positive correlation was found between Cho/W and TLG (ρ = 0.599, p = 0.031). Cho/W correlated negatively with heterogeneity measures std(ve) (ρ = −0.691, p = 0.004) and std(kep) (ρ = −0.704, p = 0.003). SUVmax values correlated strongly with MRI tumor volume (ρ = 0.643, p = 0.007). Logistic regression indicated that std(Ktrans) and SUVmean were significant predictors of short-term response (p < 0.07).
Pretreatment multi-modality imaging using 1H-MRS, DCE-MRI and 18F-FDG PET is feasible in HNSCC patients with nodal metastases. Additionally, combined DCE-MRI and 18F-FDG PET parameters were predictive of short-term response to treatment.
Head and neck squamous cell carcinoma; 1H-MRS; DCE-MRI; 18F-FDG PET; short-term treatment response
Cumulative evidence suggests that, aside from patterning the embryonic neural tube, Sonic hedgehog (Shh) signaling plays important roles in the mature nervous system. In this study, we investigate the expression and localization of the Shh signaling receptors, Patched (Ptch) and Smoothened (Smo), in the hippocampal neurons of young and mature rats. Reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction and immunoblotting analyses show that the expression of Ptch and Smo remains at a moderate level in young postnatal and adult brains. By using immunofluorescence light microscopy and immunoelectron microscopy, we examine the spatial distribution of Ptch and Smo within the hippocampal neurons. In young developing neurons, Ptch and Smo are present in the processes and are clustered at their growth cones. In mature neurons, Ptch and Smo are concentrated in dendrites, spines, and postsynaptic sites. Synaptic Ptch and Smo often co-exist with unusual structures—synaptic spinules and autophagosomes. Our results reveal the anatomical organization of the Shh receptors within both the young and the mature hippocampal neurons.
Sonic hedgehog; Patched; Smoothened; hippocampal neuron; synapse; synaptic spinule; autophagosome; primary cilium
AIM: To investigate the hepatoprotective effect of baicalein against carbon tetrachloride (CCl4)-induced liver damage in mice.
METHODS: Mice were orally administered with baicalein after CCl4 injection, and therapeutic baicalein was given twice a day for 4 d. The anti-inflammation effects of baicalein were assessed directly by hepatic histology and serum alanine aminotranferease and aspartate aminotransferase measurement. Proliferating cell nuclear antigen was used to evaluate the effect of baicalein in promoting hepatocyte proliferation. Serum interleukin (IL)-6, IL-1β and tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF-α) levels were measured by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay and liver IL-6, TNF-α, transforming growth factor-α (TGF-α), hepatocyte growth factor (HGF) and epidermal growth factor (EGF) genes expression were determined by quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction.
RESULTS: CCl4-induced acute liver failure model offers a survival benefit in baicalein-treated mice. The data indicated that the mRNA levels of IL-6 and TNF-α significantly increased within 12 h after CCl4 treatment in baicalein administration groups, but at 24, 48 and 72 h, the expression of IL-6 and TNF-α was kept at lower levels compared with the control. The expression of TGF-α, HGF and EGF was enhanced dramatically in baicalein administration group at 12, 24, 48 and 72 h. Furthermore, we found that baicalein significantly elevated the serum level of TNF-α and IL-6 at the early phase, which indicated that baicalein could facilitate the initiating events in liver regeneration.
CONCLUSION: Baicalein may be a therapeutic candidate for acute liver injury. Baicalein accelerates liver regeneration by regulating TNF-α and IL-6 mediated pathways.
Baicalein; Carbon tetrachloride; Liver injury; Liver regeneration; Hepatocyte proliferation
Meridians, acupoints, and Chinese herbs are important components of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM). They have been used for disease treatment and prevention and as alternative and complementary therapies. Systems biology integrates omics data, such as transcriptional, proteomic, and metabolomics data, in order to obtain a more global and complete picture of biological activity. To further understand the existence and functions of the three components above, we reviewed relevant research in the systems biology literature and found many recent studies that indicate the value of acupuncture and Chinese herbs. Acupuncture is useful in pain moderation and relieves various symptoms arising from acute spinal cord injury and acute ischemic stroke. Moreover, Chinese herbal extracts have been linked to wound repair, the alleviation of postmenopausal osteoporosis severity, and anti-tumor effects, among others. Different acupoints, variations in treatment duration, and herbal extracts can be used to alleviate various symptoms and conditions and to regulate biological pathways by altering gene and protein expression. Our paper demonstrates how systems biology has helped to establish a platform for investigating the efficacy of TCM in treating different diseases and improving treatment strategies.
Brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) was recently identified as a factor produced by multiple myeloma (MM) cells, which may contribute to bone resorption and disease progression in MM, though the molecular mechanism of this process is not well understood. The purpose of this study was to test the effect of BDNF on bone disease and growth of MM cells both in vitro and in vivo. Co- and triple-culture systems were implemented. The in vitro results demonstrate that BDNF augmented receptor activator of nuclear factor kappa B ligand (RANKL) expression in human bone marrow stromal cells, thus contributing to osteoclast formation. To further clarify the effect of BDNF on myeloma bone disease in vivo, ARH-77 cells were stably transfected with an antisense construct to BDNF (AS-ARH) or empty vector (EV-ARH) to test their capacity to induce MM bone disease in SCID–rab mice. Mice treated with AS-ARH cells were preserved, exhibited no radiologically identifiable lytic lesions and, unlike the controls treated with EV-ARH cells, lived longer and showed reduced tumor burden. Consistently, bones harboring AS-ARH cells showed marked reductions of RANKL expression and osteoclast density compared to the controls harboring EV-ARH cells. These results provide further support for the potential osteoclastogenic effects of BDNF, which may mediate stromal–MM cell interactions to upregulate RANKL secretion, in myeloma bone diseases.
Our objective was to develop a system to simultaneously and quantitatively measure the expression levels of the insulin-like growth factor (IGF) family proteins in numerous samples and to apply this approach to profile the IGF family proteins levels in cancer and adjacent tissues from patients with hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC).
Antibodies against ten IGF family proteins (IGF-1, IGF-1R, IGF-2, IGF-2R, IGFBP-1, IGFBP-2, IGFBP-3, IGFBP-4, IGFBP-6, and Insulin) were immobilized on the surface of a glass slide in an array format to create an IGF signaling antibody array. Tissue lysates prepared from patient's liver cancer tissues and adjacent tissues were then applied to the arrays. The proteins captured by antibodies on the arrays were then incubated with a cocktail of biotinylated detection antibodies and visualized with a fluorescence detection system. By comparison with standard protein amount, the exact protein concentrations in the samples can be determined. The expression levels of the ten IGF family proteins in 25 pairs of HCC and adjacent tissues were quantitatively measured using this novel antibody array technology. The differential expression levels between cancer tissues and adjacent tissues were statistically analyzed.
A novel IGF signaling antibody array was developed which allows the researcher to simultaneously detect ten proteins involved in IGF signal pathway with high sensitivity and specificity. Using this approach, we found that the levels of IGF-2R and IGFBP-2 in HCC tissues were higher than those in adjacent tissues.
Our IGF signaling antibody array which can detect the expression of ten IGF family members with high sensitivity and specificity will undoubtedly prove a powerful tool for drug and biomarker discovery.
microRNAs (miRNAs) are small noncoding RNAs that regulate genes and contribute to many kinds of human diseases, including cancer. Two miRNAs, miR-511 and miR-1297, were investigated for a possible role in adenocarcinoma based on predicted binding sites for the TRIB2 oncogene by microRNA analysis software, and the pcDNA-GFP-TRIB2–3′UTR vector was constructed to investigate the interaction between TRIB2 and miR-511/1297 in the adenocarcinoma cell line A549. Green fluorescent protein (GFP) expression was estimated by fluorescence microscopy and flow cytometry after A549 cells were co-transfected with miR-511 (or miR-1297) and pcDNA-GFP-TRIB2–3′UTR vector. The expression of GFP in the miR-511- and miR-1297-treated cells was significantly downregulated in contrast with the negative-control (NC) miRNA-treated cells. The decreased expression of TRIB2 was further detected after miR-511 (or miR-1297) treatment by western blotting. The MTT test showed inhibition of A549 cell proliferation and Annexin V-FITC/PI dual staining showed increased apoptosis in the miR-511- and miR-1297-treated cells compared to the NC cultures. A transcription factor downstream of TRIB2, the CCAAT/enhancer-binding protein alpha (C/EBPα), was expression at higher levels after miR-511 (or miR-1297) decreasing TRIB2 expression. Our results illustrate that miR-511 and miR-1297 act as tumor suppressor genes, which could suppress A549 cell proliferation in vitro and in vivo by suppressing TRIB2 and further increasing C/EBPα expression.
Postoperative radiotherapy has shown positive efficacy in lowering the recurrence rate and improving the survival rate in cases involving lymph node (LN) metastasis. However, the radiotherapy target volume remains controversial. Certain published studies have paid more attention to LNs found to be affected during surgery, while little effort has been made to study the LN metastatic pattern following surgery and its influence on the determination of the target volume of postoperative radiotherapy. In this study, the locoregional recurrence of esophageal squamous cell cancer was examined in 134 patients receiving radical surgery with two-field lymph node dissection from 2004 to 2009. In the 134 cases of recurrence, LN metastasis occurred in 126 patients (94.0%) while 13 patients (9.7%) developed anastomotic recurrence and 5 patients (3.7%) experienced tumor bed recurrence. The difference among the groups was statistically significant (P= 0.000). In the 126 cases with lymph node metastasis, the mediastinal metastasis rate (80.2%) was significantly higher compared with the rate of supraclavicular metastasis and abdominal metastasis (P= 0.000). A significant difference was identified between right and left supraclavicular LN metastasis (31.7% vs 16.7%, P= 0.005). Furthermore, the difference between the metastatic rates in the upper (73.8%), middle (39.7%) and lower mediastinum (1.6%) was statistically significant (P=0.000). Nevertheless, no significant correlation between the rate of LN metastasis was observed in the supraclavicular, mediastinal and abdominal regions for upper, middle and lower thoracic carcinomas (P= 0.404, P= 0.718 and P= 0.169, respectively). Based on our data, LN metastasis is the major locoregional recurrence pattern for esophageal squamous cell cancer following radical surgery. The high-risk lymphatic drainage areas include the supraclavicular nodes, recurrent laryngeal nerve nodes, azygos nodes and subcarinal nodes.
esophageal squamous cell carcinoma; lymph node metastasis; postoperative recurrence; two-field esophagectomy
Hepatic encephalopathy (HE), a neuropsychiatric abnormality that commonly accompanies cirrhosis of the liver, is often difficult to treat and manage. Changes in chloride homeostasis are involved in the generation of a number of brain disorders. In this study, we considered whether chloride homeostasis is associated with HE. The mRNA levels of the Cl− extrusion system (KCC2) and the Cl− intrusion system (NKCC1) were detected by real-time RT-PCR in the plasma of 29 cirrhotic patients with HE of grade I-II, 36 cirrhotic patients with HE of grade III–IV, 20 cirrhotic patients without HE and 15 healthy controls. The mRNA levels of KCC2 in cirrhotic patients with mild and severe HE were significantly lower compared to those in cirrhotic patients without HE or in the healthy controls. However, NKCC1 mRNA levels did not differ between the different groups. In addition, for cirrhotic patients with HE, there were significant negative correlations between KCC2 levels and the levels of blood ammonia and hepatic function scores (Child-Pugh and model for end-stage liver disease scores); there was also a significant positive correlation between KCC2 levels and neurological status (Glasgow scores). In conclusion, our study indicates that an imbalance of KCC2 and NKCC1 may be a novel biomarker for detecting HE and for monitoring disease development.
chloride co-transporter; chloride homeostasis; hepatic encephalopathy
When cells are exposed to ionizing radiation, DNA damages in the form of single strand breaks (SSBs), double strand breaks (DSBs), base damage or their combinations are frequent events. It is known that the complexity and severity of DNA damage depends on the quality of radiation, and the microscopic dose deposited in small segments of DNA, which is often related to the linear transfer energy (LET) of the radiation. Experimental studies have suggested that under the same dose, high LET radiation induces more small DNA fragments than low-LET radiation, which affects Ku efficiently binding with DNA end and might be a main reason for high-LET radiation induced RBE  since DNA DSB is a major cause for radiation-induced cell death. In this work, we proposed a mathematical model of DNA fragments rejoining according to non-homologous end joining (NHEJ) mechanism. By conducting Gillespie's stochastic simulation, we found several factors that impact the efficiency of DNA fragments rejoining. Our results demonstrated that aberrant DNA damage repair can result predominantly from the occurrence of a spatial distribution of DSBs leading to short DNA fragments. Because of the low efficiency that short DNA fragments recruit repair protein and release the protein residue after fragments rejoining, Ku-dependent NHEJ is significantly interfered with short fragments. Overall, our work suggests that inhibiting the Ku-dependent NHEJ may significantly contribute to the increased efficiency for cell death and mutation observed for high LET radiation.
Influenza virus, which spreads around the world in seasonal epidemics and leads to large numbers of deaths every year, has several ribonucleoproteins in the central core of the viral particle. These viral ribonucleoproteins can specifically bind the conserved 3′ and 5′ caps of the viral RNAs with responsibility for replication and transcription of the viral RNA in the nucleus of infected cells. A fundamental question of most importance is that how the cap-binding proteins in the influenza virus discriminates between capped RNAs and non-capped ones. To get an answer, we performed molecular dynamics simulations and free energy calculations on the influenza A virus PB2 subunit, an important component of the RNP complexes, with a cap analog m7GTP. Our calculations showed that some key residues in the active site, such as Arg355, His357, Glu361 as well as Gln406, could offer significant hydrogen bonding and hydrophobic interactions with the guanine ring of the cap analog m7GTP to form an aromatic sandwich mechanism for the cap recognition and positioning in the active site. Subsequently, we applied this idea to a virtual screening procedure and identified 5 potential candidates that might be inhibitors against the PB2 subunit. Interestingly, 2 candidates Cpd1 and Cpd2 have been already reported to have inhibitory activities to the influenza virus cap-binding proteins. Further calculation also showed that they had comparatively higher binding affinities to the PB2 subunit than that of m7GTP. We believed that our findings could give an atomic insight into the deeper understanding of the cap recognition and binding mechanism, providing useful information for searching or designing novel drugs against influenza viruses.
Rationale and Objective
Drug cues can induce craving for drugs of abuse. Dysfunctional regulation of emotion and motivation regarding rewarding objects appears to be an integral part of addiction. It has been found that cognitive strategies decreased the intensity of craving in addicts. Reappraisal strategy is a type of cognitive strategy that requires participants to reinterpret the meaning of an emotional situation. In addition, studies have found that activation of the dorsal anterior cingulate cortex (dACC) is associated with the selection and application of cognitive reappraisal. In present study, we sought to determine whether such cognitive regulation engages the dACC and improves inhibition of craving in smokers.
Sixteen smokers underwent functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) during performance of a cigarette reward-conditioning procedure with cognitive reappraisal. We focused our analyses on the dACC as a key structure of cognitive control of craving. Cue induced craving under different conditions was obtained. Correlational analysis between the functional response in the dACC and the subjective craving was performed.
We found that using a cognitive reappraisal was successful in decreasing the conditioned craving. Right dACC (BA 24/32) engaged in the cognitive reappraisal. In addition, the individual’s subjective craving was negatively correlated with the right dACC activation.
These findings suggest that the dACC are important substrates of Inhibition of cue induced craving in smokers. Cognitive regulation by cognitive reappraisal may help addicted individuals avoid the anticipated situations where they are exposed to conditioned cues.
To investigate the normative data of ocular axial length and its associations in Chinese.
The population-based Beijing Eye Study 2011 is a cross-sectional study performed in Greater Beijing. The study included 3468 individuals (1963 (56.6%) women) with a mean age of 64.6±9.8 years (range: 50–93 years). A detailed ophthalmic and medical examination was performed. Axial length was measured by optical low-coherence reflectometry.
Axial length measurements were available for 3159 (91.1%) study participants. Mean axial length was 23.25±1.14 mm (range: 18.96–30.88 mm). In multivariate analysis, axial length was significantly associated with the systemic parameters of higher age (P<0.001), higher body height (P = 0.003), higher level of education (P<0.001) and urban region of habitation (P<0.001), and with the ocular parameters of thicker central cornea (P = 0.001), higher corneal curvature radius (P<0.001), deeper anterior chamber (P<0.001), thicker lens (P<0.001), more myopic refractive error (P<0.001), larger pupil diameter (P = 0.018), and higher best corrected visual acuity (P<0.001). It was additionally and negatively associated with the lens vault (P<0.001). In highly myopic eyes, axial length was significantly associated with lower level of education (P = 0.008), more myopic refractive error (P<0.001), and lower best corrected visual acuity (P = 0.034).
Mean ocular axial length in the older adult population of Greater Beijing (23.25±1.14 mm) was similar to the value measured in other urban populations and was higher than in a rural Central Indian population. The association between axial length and older age may potentially be associated with a survival artifact. The association between axial length and body height agrees with the general association between anthropomorphic measures and eye globe size. The association with the level of education and urban region of habitation confirms with previous studies. In contrast in highly myopic eyes, axial length was negatively associated with educational level and best corrected visual acuity.
Mapping DNase I hypersensitive sites (DHSs) within nuclear chromatin is a traditional and powerful method of identifying genetic regulatory elements. DHSs have been mapped by capturing the ends of long DNase I-cut fragments (>100,000 bp), or 100–1200 bp DNase I-double cleavage fragments (also called double-hit fragments). But next generation sequencing requires a DNA library containing DNA fragments of 100–500 bp. Therefore, we used short DNA fragments released by DNase I digestion to generate DNA libraries for next generation sequencing. The short segments are 100–300 bp and can be directly cloned and used for high-throughput sequencing. We identified 83,897 DHSs in 2,343,479 tags across the human genome. Our results indicate that the DHSs identified by this DHS assay are consistent with those identified by longer fragments in previous studies. We also found: (1) the distribution of DHSs in promoter and other gene regions of similarly expressed genes differs among different chromosomes; (2) silenced genes had a more open chromatin structure than previously thought; (3) DHSs in 3′untranslated regions (3′UTRs) are negatively correlated with level of gene expression.
Bacterial pathogens continue to threaten public health worldwide today. Identification of bacterial virulence factors can help to find novel drug/vaccine targets against pathogenicity. It can also help to reveal the mechanisms of the related diseases at the molecular level. With the explosive growth in protein sequences generated in the postgenomic age, it is highly desired to develop computational methods for rapidly and effectively identifying virulence factors according to their sequence information alone. In this study, based on the protein-protein interaction networks from the STRING database, a novel network-based method was proposed for identifying the virulence factors in the proteomes of UPEC 536, UPEC CFT073, P. aeruginosa PAO1, L. pneumophila Philadelphia 1, C. jejuni NCTC 11168 and M. tuberculosis H37Rv. Evaluated on the same benchmark datasets derived from the aforementioned species, the identification accuracies achieved by the network-based method were around 0.9, significantly higher than those by the sequence-based methods such as BLAST, feature selection and VirulentPred. Further analysis showed that the functional associations such as the gene neighborhood and co-occurrence were the primary associations between these virulence factors in the STRING database. The high success rates indicate that the network-based method is quite promising. The novel approach holds high potential for identifying virulence factors in many other various organisms as well because it can be easily extended to identify the virulence factors in many other bacterial species, as long as the relevant significant statistical data are available for them.
Objective: Mesenchymal stem cell (MSC) transplantation is a promising therapy for ischemic heart diseases. However, poor cell survival after transplantation greatly limits the therapeutic efficacy of MSCs. The purpose of this study was to investigate the protective effect of angiopoietin-1 (Ang1) preconditioning on MSC survival and subsequent heart function improvement after transplantation. Methods: MSCs were cultured with or without 50 ng/ml Ang1 in complete medium for 24 h prior to experiments on cell survival and transplantation. 3-(4,5-Dimethylthiazol-2-yl)-2,5-diphenyltetrazolium bromide (MTT) and Hoechst staining were applied to evaluate MSC survival after serum deprivation in vitro, while cell survival in vivo was detected by terminal deoxynucleotidyl transferase biotin-dUPT nick end labeling (TUNEL) assay 24 and 72 h after transplantation. Heart function and infarct size were measured four weeks later by small animal echocardiography and Masson’s trichrome staining, respectively. Results: Ang1 preconditioning induced Akt phosphorylation and increased expression of Bcl-2 and the ratio of Bcl-2/Bax. In comparison with non-preconditioned MSCs, Ang1-preconditioned cell survival was significantly increased while the apoptotic rate decreased in vitro. However, the PI3K/Akt pathway inhibitor, LY294002, abrogated the protective effect of Ang1 preconditioning. After transplantation, the Ang1-preconditioned-MSC group showed a lower death rate, smaller infarct size, and better heart functional recovery compared to the non-preconditioned-MSC group. Conclusions: Ang1 preconditioning enhances MSC survival, contributing to further improvement of heart function.
Mesenchymal stem cells; Angiopoietin-1; Preconditioning; Survival; Myocardial infarction
Enterovirus 71 (EV71) is a major causative agent of hand-foot-and-mouth disease (HFMD), and infection of EV71 to central nerve system (CNS) may result in a high mortality in children less than 2 years old. Although there are two highly glycosylated membrane proteins, SCARB2 and PSGL-1, which have been identified as the cellular and functional receptors of EV71, the role of glycosylation in EV71 infection is still unclear.
We demonstrated that the attachment of EV71 to RD and SK-N-SH cells was diminished after the removal of cell surface sialic acids by neuraminidase. Sialic acid specific lectins, Maackia amurensis (MAA) and Sambucus Nigra (SNA), could compete with EV71 and restrained the binding of EV71 significantly. Preincubation of RD cells with fetuin also reduced the binding of EV71. In addition, we found that SCARB2 was a sialylated glycoprotein and interaction between SCARB2 and EV71 was retarded after desialylation.
In this study, we demonstrated that cell surface sialic acids assist in the attachment of EV71 to host cells. Cell surface sialylation should be a key regulator that facilitates the binding and infection of EV71 to RD and SK-N-SH cells.
Enterovirus 71; Sialic acid; RD; SK-N-SH; Lectin affinity chromatography
Leishmaniasis is a vector-borne disease, which is still endemic in the west and northwest area of China. Canines are the major reservoirs of Leishmania, the etiological agent of human visceral leishmaniasis. Phlebotomus chinensis is the main transmission vector of zoonotic visceral leishmaniasis (ZVL).
In this study, rK39 dip-stick, ELISA and PCR methods were used to investigate the prevalence of canine leishmaniasis (CanL) in Beichuan County, Sichuan Province, China.
Among the 86 dogs which were included in the study, 13 dogs were positive using the dip-stick test (15.12%), while 8 dogs were positive using ELISA (9.30%) and 19 dogs were positive for PCR (22.03%). In total, 32 dogs were positive for one or more tests (37.21%). Interestingly, phylogenetic analysis based on the partial 7SL RNA fragment provided evidence that an undescribed Leishmania species, which is clearly a causative agent of CanL and human visceral leishmaniasis, does exist in China. This result is consistent with our previous study.
Our work confirmed that canine leishmaniasis is still prevalent in Beichuan County. Further control is urgently needed, as canine leishmaniasis is of great public health importance. The phylogenetic analysis based on 7SL RNA segment provides evidence for the existence of an undescribed Leishmania sp. in China.
Prevalence; Canine leishmaniasis; Phylogeny; rK39 dip-stick; Enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA); 7SL RNA
To evaluate the prevalence and associated factors of steep cornea/keratoconus in the adult Chinese population.
The population-based Beijing Eye Study 2011 included 3468 individuals with a mean age of 64.6±9.8 years (range: 50–93 years). A detailed ophthalmic examination was performed including optical low-coherence reflectometry. Steep cornea/keratoconus were defined as an anterior corneal refractive power exceeding 48 diopters.
Mean refractive power of the cornea was 43.16±1.45 diopters (range: 36.51 to 48.46 diopters; flattest meridian) and 43.98±1.52 diopters (range: 37.00 to 52.88 diopters; steepest meridian). A steep cornea/keratoconus defined as corneal refractive power of ≥48 diopters and ≥49 diopters was detected in 27 subjects (prevalence rate: 0.9±0.2%) and 6 (0.2± 0.1%) subjects, respectively. Presence of steep cornea/keratoconus was associated with shorter axial length (P<0.001), smaller interpupillary distance (P = 0.038), lower best corrected visual acuity (P = 0.021), higher cylindrical refractive error (P<0.001) and more myopic refractive error (P<0.001). It was not significantly associated with gender, body height, psychic depression, cognitive function, blood concentrations of glucose, lipids, creatinine and C-reactive protein, blood pressure and quality of life score, nor with intraocular pressure, dry eye feeling, and lens thickness.
A steep cornea/keratoconus defined as corneal refractive power of 48+ diopters has a prevalence of 0.9±0.2% among Chinese aged 50 years and above. Its prevalence was significantly associated with the ocular parameters of shorter axial length, smaller interpupillary distance, higher cylindrical and myopic refractive error and lower best corrected visual acuity, however, with none of the systemic parameters tested.