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1.  Long-term prehypertension treatment with losartan effectively prevents brain damage and stroke in stroke-prone spontaneously hypertensive rats 
Prehypertension has been associated with adverse cerebrovascular events and brain damage. The aims of this study were to investigate i) whether short- and long-term treatments with losartan or amlodipine for prehypertension were able to prevent blood pressure (BP)-linked brain damage, and ii) whether there is a difference in the effectiveness of treatment with losartan and amlodipine in protecting BP-linked brain damage. In the present study, prehypertensive treatment with losartan and amlodipine (6 and 16 weeks treatment with each drug) was performed on 4-week-old stroke-prone spontaneously hypertensive rats (SHRSP). The results showed that long-term (16 weeks) treatment with losartan is the most effective in lowering systolic blood pressure in the long term (up to 40 weeks follow-up). Additionally, compared with the amlodipine treatment groups, the short- and long-term losartan treatments protected SHRSP from stroke and improved their brains structurally and functionally more effectively, with the long-term treatment having more benefits. Mechanistically, the short- and long-term treatments with losartan reduced the activity of the local renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system (RAAS) in a time-dependent manner and more effectively than their respective counterpart amlodipine treatment group mainly by decreasing AT1R levels and increasing AT2R levels in the cerebral cortex. By contrast, the amlodipine treatment groups inhibited brain cell apoptosis more effectively as compared with the losartan treatment groups mainly through the suppression of local oxidative stress. Taken together, the results suggest that long-term losartan treatment for prehypertension effectively protects SHRSP from stroke-induced brain damage, and this protection is associated with reduced local RAAS activity than with brain cell apoptosis. Thus, the AT1R receptor blocker losartan is a good candidate drug that may be used in the clinic for long-term treatment on prehypertensive populations in order to prevent BP-linked brain damage.
PMCID: PMC3896471  PMID: 24337406
prehypertension; losartan; amlodipine; stroke-prone spontaneously hypertensive rats
2.  Identify Changes of Brain Regional Homogeneity in Bipolar Disorder and Unipolar Depression Using Resting-State fMRI 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(12):e79999.
To identify changes in brain activation patterns in bipolar disorder (BD) and unipolar depression (UD) patients.
Methodology/Principal Findings
Resting-state fMRI scans of 16 healthy controls, 17 BD and 16 UD patients were obtained. T-test of normalized regional homogeneity (ReHo) was performed in a voxel-by-voxel manner. A combined threshold of á = 0.05, minimum cluster volume of V = 10503 mm3 (389 voxels) were used to determine ReHo differences between groups. In UD group, fMRI revealed ReHo increases in the left middle occipital lobe, right inferior parietal lobule, right precuneus and left convolution; and ReHo decreases in the left parahippocampalgyrus, right precentralgyrus, left postcentralgyrus, left precentralgyrus and left cingulated. In BD group, ReHo increases in the right insular cortex, left middle frontal gyrus, left precuneus, left occipital lobe, left parietal, left superior frontal gyrus and left thalamus; and ReHo decreases in the right anterior lobe of cerebellum, pons, right precentralgyrus, left postcentralgyrus, left inferior frontal gyrus, and right cingulate. There were some overlaps in ReHo profiles between UD and BD groups, but a marked difference was seen in the thalamus of BD.
The resting-state fMRI and ReHo mapping are a promising tool to assist the detection of functional deficits and distinguish clinical and pathophysiological signs of BD and UD.
PMCID: PMC3851159  PMID: 24324588
3.  Targeted transduction of CD34+ hematopoietic progenitor cells in nonpurified human mobilized peripheral blood mononuclear cells 
The journal of gene medicine  2009;11(3):185-196.
Conventional gene-therapy applications of hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs) involve purification of CD34+ progenitor cells from the mobilized peripheral blood, ex vivo transduction of the gene of interest into them, and reinfusion of the transduced CD34+ progenitor cells into patients. Eliminating the process of purification would save labor, time and money, while enhancing HSCs viability, transplantability and pluripotency. Lentiviral vectors have been widely used in gene therapy because they infect both dividing and nondividing cells and provide sustained transgene expression. One of the exceptions to this rule is quiescent primary lymphocytes, in which reverse transcription of viral DNA is not completed.
In the present study, we tested the possibility of targeting CD34+ progenitor cells within nonpurified human mobilized peripheral blood mononuclear cells (mPBMCs) utilizing vesicular stomatitis virus G (VSV-G) pseudotyped lentiviral vectors, based on the assumption that the CD34+ progenitor cells would be preferentially transduced. To further enhance the specificity of vector transduction, we also examined utilizing a modified Sindbis virus envelope (2.2) pseudotyped lentiviral vector, developed in our laboratory, that allows targeted transduction to specific cell receptors via antibody recognition.
Both the VSV-G and 2.2 pseudotyped vectors achieved measurable results when they were used to target CD34+ progenitor cells in nonpurified mPBMCs.
Overall, the data obtained demonstrate the potential of ex vivo targeting of CD34+ progenitor cells without purification.
PMCID: PMC3775470  PMID: 19152374
gene therapy; targeting; lentiviral vector; hematopoietic stem cell; mobilized PBMCs
4.  The genome- and transcriptome-wide analysis of innate immunity in the brown planthopper, Nilaparvata lugens 
BMC Genomics  2013;14:160.
The brown planthopper (Nilaparvata lugens) is one of the most serious rice plant pests in Asia. N. lugens causes extensive rice damage by sucking rice phloem sap, which results in stunted plant growth and the transmission of plant viruses. Despite the importance of this insect pest, little is known about the immunological mechanisms occurring in this hemimetabolous insect species.
In this study, we performed a genome- and transcriptome-wide analysis aiming at the immune-related genes. The transcriptome datasets include the N. lugens intestine, the developmental stage, wing formation, and sex-specific expression information that provided useful gene expression sequence data for the genome-wide analysis. As a result, we identified a large number of genes encoding N. lugens pattern recognition proteins, modulation proteins in the prophenoloxidase (proPO) activating cascade, immune effectors, and the signal transduction molecules involved in the immune pathways, including the Toll, Immune deficiency (Imd) and Janus kinase signal transducers and activators of transcription (JAK-STAT) pathways. The genome scale analysis revealed detailed information of the gene structure, distribution and transcription orientations in scaffolds. A comparison of the genome-available hemimetabolous and metabolous insect species indicate the differences in the immune-related gene constitution. We investigated the gene expression profiles with regards to how they responded to bacterial infections and tissue, as well as development and sex expression specificity.
The genome- and transcriptome-wide analysis of immune-related genes including pattern recognition and modulation molecules, immune effectors, and the signal transduction molecules involved in the immune pathways is an important step in determining the overall architecture and functional network of the immune components in N. lugens. Our findings provide the comprehensive gene sequence resource and expression profiles of the immune-related genes of N. lugens, which could facilitate the understanding of the innate immune mechanisms in the hemimetabolous insect species. These data give insight into clarifying the potential functional roles of the immune-related genes involved in the biological processes of development, reproduction, and virus transmission in N. lugens.
PMCID: PMC3616906  PMID: 23497397
Nilaparvata lugens; Hemimetabolous insect; Genome; Transcriptome; Innate immunity; Gene expression
5.  Leber's Hereditary Optic Neuropathy Is Associated with the T3866C Mutation in Mitochondrial ND1 Gene in Three Han Chinese Families 
To investigate the pathophysiology of Leber's hereditary optic neuropathy (LHON).
Seventy-one subjects from three Chinese families with LHON underwent clinical, genetic, molecular, and biochemical evaluations. Biochemical characterizations included the measurements of the rates of endogenous, substrate-dependent respirations, the adenosine triphosphate (ATP) production and generation of reactive oxygen species using lymphoblastoid cell lines derived from five affected matrilineal relatives of these families and three control subjects.
Ten of 41 matrilineal relatives exhibited variable severity and age at onset of optic neuropathy. The average age at onset of optic neuropathy in matrilineal relatives of the three families was 5, 11, and 24 years, respectively. Molecular analysis identified the ND1 T3866C (I187T) mutation and distinct sets of polymorphisms belonging to the Eastern Asian haplogroups D4a, M10a, and R, respectively. The I187T mutation is localized at the highly conserved isoleucine at a transmembrane domain of the ND1 polypeptide. The marked reductions in the rate of endogenous, malate/glutamate-promoted and succinate/glycerol-3-phosphate-promoted respiration were observed in mutant cell lines carrying the T3866C mutation. The deficient respiration is responsible for the reduced ATP synthesis and increased generation of reactive oxygen species.
Our data convincingly show that the ND1 T3866C mutation leads to LHON. This mutation may be insufficient to produce a clinical phenotype. Other modifier factors may contribute to the phenotypic manifestation of the T3866C mutation. The T3866C mutation should be added to the list of inherited factors for molecular diagnosis of LHON. Thus, our findings may provide new insights into the understanding of pathophysiology and valuable information on the management of LHON.
Three Chinese families exhibited a wide range of age and severity of Leber's hereditary optic neuropathy (LHON). Clinical, genetic, molecular, and biochemical evaluations provide the evidence that the mitochondrial ND1 T3866C mutation leads to LHON.
PMCID: PMC3394694  PMID: 22577081
6.  Regulation of Hypoxia-Induced Cell Death in Human Tenocytes 
Advances in Orthopedics  2012;2012:984950.
Degenerate shoulder tendons display evidence of hypoxia. However tendons are relatively avascular and not considered to have high oxygen requirements and the vulnerability of tendon cells to hypoxia is unclear. Cultured human tenocytes were exposed to hypoxia and the cellular response detected using QPCR, Western blotting, viability, and ELISA assays. We find that tenocytes respond to hypoxia in vitro by activating classical HIF-1α-driven pathways. Total hypoxia caused significant tenocyte apoptosis. Transcription factors typically involved in hypoxic response, HIF-1α and FOXO3A, were upregulated. Hypoxia caused sustained upregulation of several proapoptotic proteins known to mediate hypoxia-induced apoptosis, such as Bnip3 and Nix, but others were unchanged although they were reportedly hypoxia-sensitive in other cell types. Antiapoptotic proteins Bcl2 and Bcl-xL were unchanged by hypoxia. Normal human tenocytes expressed all isoforms of the hypoxia-induced vascular growth factor VEGF except VEGF-D. Hypoxia markedly upregulated VEGF-A mRNA, followed by increased VEGF protein secretion. However treatment with VEGF did not improve tenocyte survival. As a protective strategy for tenocytes at risk of hypoxic death we added prosurvival growth factors insulin or platelet rich plasma (PRP). Both agents strongly protected tenocytes from hypoxia-induced death over 48 h, suggesting possible efficacy in the acute postrupture tendon or integrating graft.
PMCID: PMC3523132  PMID: 23304533
7.  Acute and acute-on-chronic kidney injury of patients with decompensated heart failure: impact on outcomes 
BMC Nephrology  2012;13:51.
Acute worsening of renal function, an independent risk factor for adverse outcomes in acute decompensated heart failure (ADHF), occurs as a consequence of new onset kidney injury (AKI) or acute deterioration of pre-existed chronic kidney disease (CKD) (acute-on-chronic kidney injury, ACKI). However, the possible difference in prognostic implication between AKI and ACKI has not been well established.
We studied all consecutive patients hospitalized with ADHF from 2003 through 2010 in Nanfang Hospital. We classified patients as with or without pre-existed CKD based on the mean estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR) over a six-month period before hospitalization. AKI and ACKI were defined by RIFLE criteria according to the increase of the index serum creatinine.
A total of 1,005 patients were enrolled. The incidence of ACKI was higher than that of AKI. The proportion of patients with diuretic resistance was higher among patients with pre-existed CKD than among those without CKD (16.9% vs. 9.9%, P = 0.002). Compared with AKI, ACKI was associated with higher risk for in-hospital mortality, long hospital stay, and failure in renal function recovery. Pre-existed CKD and development of acute worsening of renal function during hospitalization were the independent risk factors for in-hospital death after adjustment by the other risk factors. The RIFLE classification predicted all-cause and cardiac mortality in both AKI and ACKI.
Patients with ACKI were at greatest risk of adverse short-term outcomes in ADHF. Monitoring eGFR and identifying CKD should not be ignored in patients with cardiovascular disease.
PMCID: PMC3411407  PMID: 22747708
Acute decompensated heart failure; Acute kidney injury; Acute-on-chronic kidney injury; Outcome
8.  {N-[1-(1H-Benzimidazol-2-yl)ethyl­idene-κN 3]-3-(1H-imidazol-1-yl)propan-1-amine-κN}dibromidomercury(II) 
In the title compound, [HgBr2(C15H17N5)], the HgII ion is tetra­hedrally coordinated by two N atoms of the N-[1-(1H-benzimidazol-2-yl)ethyl­idene-κN]-3-(1H-imidazol-1-yl)propan-1-amine ligand, and two bromide anions. Inter­molecular benzimidazole–imidazole N—H⋯N hydrogen bonds link the mol­ecules into helical chains along the b-axis direction and C—H⋯Br hydrogen bonds link these chains into layers parallel to the bc plane.
PMCID: PMC3254313  PMID: 22259344
9.  Generation of Human Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells Bearing an Anti-HIV Transgene by a Lentiviral Vector Carrying an Internal Murine Leukemia Virus Promoter 
Human Gene Therapy  2010;21(11):1555-1567.
Previously, the Chen laboratory described the generation of a chimeric vector containing a murine leukemia virus (MLV) promoter internal to a lentiviral vector back bone. In this report, the authors report that this chimeric MLV/lentiviral vector can be used to generate induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells. Kamata et al. demonstrate that these iPS cells are virtually indistinguishable from human embryonic stem cells and are capable of differentiating into several lineages.
The recent development of induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) by ectopic expression of defined reprogramming factors offers enormous therapeutic opportunity. To deliver these factors, murine leukemia virus (MLV)-based vectors have been broadly used in the setting of hematopoietic stem cell transplantation. However, MLV vectors have been implicated in malignancy induced by insertional mutagenesis, whereas lentiviral vectors have not. Furthermore, the infectivity of MLV vectors is limited to dividing cells, whereas lentiviral vectors can also transduce nondividing cells. One important characteristic of MLV vectors is a self-silencing property of the promoter element in pluripotent stem cells, allowing temporal transgene expression in a nonpluripotent state before iPSC derivation. Here we test iPSC generation using a novel chimeric vector carrying a mutant MLV promoter internal to a lentiviral vector backbone, thereby containing the useful properties of both types of vectors. Transgene expression of this chimeric vector was highly efficient compared with that of MLV vectors and was silenced specifically in human embryonic stem cells. Human fetal fibroblasts transduced with the vector encoding each factor were efficiently reprogrammed into a pluripotent state, and these iPSCs had potential to differentiate into a variety of cell types. To explore the possibility of iPSCs for gene therapy, we established iPSC clones expressing a short hairpin RNA (shRNA) targeting chemokine receptor 5 (CCR5), the main coreceptor for HIV-1. Using a reporter construct for CCR5 expression, we confirmed that CCR5 shRNA was expressed and specifically knocked down the reporter expression in iPSCs. These data indicate that our chimeric lentiviral vector is a valuable tool for generation of iPSCs and the combination with vectors encoding transgenes allows for rapid establishment of desired genetically engineered iPSC lines.
PMCID: PMC2978547  PMID: 20524893
10.  [(5-Bromo-1H-indol-3-yl)meth­yl]dimethyl­aza­nium nitrate 
In the title compound, C11H14BrN2 +·NO3 −, inter­molecular N—H⋯O and N—H⋯N hydrogen bonds link the proton­ated 5-bromo­gramine cation and the nitrate anions. Further N—H⋯O hydrogen bonds link the cation–anion pairs into a chain running parallel to [100]. C—H⋯O hydrogen bonds link the chains, forming a layer parallel to (001).
PMCID: PMC3152118  PMID: 21837070
11.  Low penetrance of Leber’s hereditary optic neuropathy in ten Han Chinese families carrying the ND6 T11484C mutation 
Biochimica et biophysica acta  2009;1800(3):305-312.
We report there the clinical, genetic and molecular characterization of 10 Han Chinese families with Leber’s hereditary optic neuropathy. Clinical evaluation revealed that ten families exhibited extremely low penetrance of visual impairment, with the average of 10%. In particular, ten (8 males/2 females) of 114 matrilineal relatives in these families exhibited the variable severity and age-at-onset in visual dysfunction. The average age-of-onset of vision loss was 19 years old. Molecular analysis of mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) identified the homoplasmic ND6 T14484C mutation and distinct sets of variants, belonging to the Asian haplogroups B5b, D4, D4g1b, G3a2, R11, R11a and Z3, respectively. However, there was the absence of secondary LHON-associated mtDNA mutations in these ten Chinese families: The low penetrance of vision loss in these Chinese pedigrees strongly indicated that the T14484C mutation was itself insufficient to produce a clinical phenotype. The absence of secondary LHON mtDNA mutations suggest that these mtDNA haplogroup-specific variants may not play an important role in the phenotypic expression of the T14484C mutation in those Chinese families with low penentrace of vision loss. However, nuclear modifier genes and environmental factors appear to be modifier factors for the phenotypic manifestation of the T14484C mutation in these Chinese families.
PMCID: PMC2826595  PMID: 19733221
12.  Patrol Detection for Replica Attacks on Wireless Sensor Networks 
Sensors (Basel, Switzerland)  2011;11(3):2496-2504.
Replica attack is a critical concern in the security of wireless sensor networks. We employ mobile nodes as patrollers to detect replicas distributed in different zones in a network, in which a basic patrol detection protocol and two detection algorithms for stationary and mobile modes are presented. Then we perform security analysis to discuss the defense strategies against the possible attacks on the proposed detection protocol. Moreover, we show the advantages of the proposed protocol by discussing and comparing the communication cost and detection probability with some existing methods.
PMCID: PMC3231641  PMID: 22163752
wireless sensor networks; security; replica attack; mobile nodes
13.  Valproic acid induces functional heat shock protein 70 via Class I histone deacetylase inhibition in cortical neurons: a potential role of Sp1 acetylation 
Journal of neurochemistry  2009;111(4):976-987.
Neuroprotective properties of the mood stabilizer valproic acid (VPA) are implicated in its therapeutic efficacy. Heat shock protein 70 (HSP70) is a molecular chaperone, neuroprotective and anti-inflammatory agent. The present study aimed to investigate underlying mechanisms and functional significance of HSP70 induction by VPA in rat cortical neurons. VPA treatment markedly upregulated HSP70 protein levels, and this was accompanied by increased HSP70 mRNA levels and promoter hyperacetylation and activity. Other HDAC inhibitors - sodium butyrate, trichostatin A and Class I HDAC-specific inhibitors MS-275 and apicidin, - all mimicked the ability of VPA to induce HSP70. Pretreatment with PI3-kinase inhibitors or an Akt inhibitor attenuated HSP70 induction by VPA and other HDAC inhibitors. VPA treatment increased Sp1 acetylation, and a Sp1 inhibitor, mithramycin, abolished the induction of HSP70 by HDAC inhibitors. Moreover, VPA promoted the association of Sp1 with the histone acetyltransferases p300 and recruitment of p300 to the HSP70 promoter. Further, VPA-induced neuroprotection against glutamate excitotoxicity was prevented by blocking HSP70 induction. Taken together, the data suggest that the PI3-kinase/Akt pathway and Sp1 are likely involved in HSP70 induction by HDAC inhibitors, and induction of HSP70 by VPA in cortical neurons may contribute to its neuroprotective and therapeutic effects.
PMCID: PMC2766424  PMID: 19765194
valproic acid; HSP70; HDAC; PI3-kinase; Sp1
14.  Live Cell Monitoring of hiPSC Generation and Differentiation Using Differential Expression of Endogenous microRNAs 
PLoS ONE  2010;5(7):e11834.
Human induced pluripotent stem cells (hiPSCs) provide new possibilities for regenerative therapies. In order for this potential to be achieved, it is critical to efficiently monitor the differentiation of these hiPSCs into specific lineages. Here, we describe a lentiviral reporter vector sensitive to specific microRNAs (miRNA) to show that a single vector bearing multiple miRNA target sequences conjugated to different reporters can be used to monitor hiPSC formation and subsequent differentiation from human fetal fibroblasts (HFFs). The reporter vector encodes EGFP conjugated to the targets of human embryonic stem cell (hESC) specific miRNAs (miR-302a and miR-302d) and mCherry conjugated to the targets of differentiated cells specific miRNAs (miR-142-3p, miR-155, and miR-223). The vector was used to track reprogramming of HFF to iPSC. HFFs co-transduced with this reporter vector and vectors encoding 4 reprogramming factors (OCT4, SOX2, KLF4 and cMYC) were mostly positive for EGFP (67%) at an early stage of hiPSC formation. EGFP expression gradually disappeared and mCherry expression increased indicating less miRNAs specific to differentiated cells and expression of miRNAs specific to hESCs. Upon differentiation of the hiPSC into embryoid bodies, a large fraction of these hiPSCs regained EGFP expression and some of those cells became single positive for EGFP. Further differentiation into neural lineages showed distinct structures demarcated by either EGFP or mCherry expression. These findings demonstrate that a miRNA dependent reporter vector can be a useful tool to monitor living cells during reprogramming of hiPSC and subsequent differentiation to lineage specific cells.
PMCID: PMC2911382  PMID: 20676373
15.  Leber’s hereditary optic neuropathy is associated with mitochondrial ND1 T3394C mutation 
We report here the clinical, genetic and molecular characterization of four Chinese families with Leber’s hereditary optic neuropathy (LHON). There were variable severity and age-of-onset in visual impairment among these families. Strikingly, there were extremely low penetrances of visual impairment in these Chinese families. Sequence analysis of complete mitochondrial genomes in these pedigrees showed the homoplasmic T3394C (Y30H) mutation, which localized at a highly conserved tyrosine at position 30 of ND1, and distinct sets of mtDNA polymorphisms belonging to haplogroups D4b and M9a. The occurrence of T3394C mutation in these several genetically unrelated subjects affected by visual impairment strongly indicates that this mutation is involved in the pathogenesis of visual impairment. However, there was the absence of functionally significant mtDNA mutations in these four Chinese pedigrees carrying the T3394C mutation. Therefore, nuclear modifier gene(s) or environmental factor(s) may play a role in the phenotypic expression of the LHON-associated T3394C mutation.
PMCID: PMC2905379  PMID: 19324017
Mitochondrial DNA; ND1; Mutation; Leber’s hereditary optic neuropathy; Visual loss; Penetrance; Haplogroup; Maternally; Chinese
16.  Targeted Transduction via CD4 by a Lentiviral Vector Uses a Clathrin-Mediated Entry Pathway▿  
Journal of Virology  2009;83(24):13026-13031.
We recently developed a novel targeting Sindbis virus envelope pseudotyped lentiviral vector, 2.2ZZ, which acquires specific transduction capacity by antibody conjugation and binding with specific antigens on the surface of targeted cells. Here we characterize the virological properties of this vector by examining its targeting to CD4 antigen. Our results show that entry is dependent on CD4 cell surface density and occurs via the clathrin-mediated endocytic pathway. These findings provide insight into the mechanism of infection by a new viral vector with combined properties of Sindbis virus and lentiviruses and infectivity conferred by monoclonal antibody-ligand interactions.
PMCID: PMC2786851  PMID: 19793825
17.  Bim, Bak, and Bax Regulate Osteoblast Survival 
Osteoblasts depend on a constant supply of prosurvival signals from their microenvironment. When trophic factors become limited by injury or disease, cells undergo apoptosis. This study establishes the regulation and function of Bim, Bak, and Bax in this response.
Materials and Methods
MBA-15.4 murine osteoblasts and primary human bone marrow stromal cells (hBMSCs) were subjected to growth factor depletion by serum starvation (1% FCS or serum withdrawal). Protein phosphorylation, activation, or expression was quantified by Western blotting and gene expression by real-time PCR. Regulation of apoptosis in response to serum depletion was determined using siRNA specific for Bim, Bak, or Bax, followed by TUNEL staining. Statistical significance was determined by one-way ANOVA after multiple experimental repeats.
Serum depletion strongly induced expression of the proapoptotic protein Bim in both hBMSC and MBA-15.4 osteoblasts. Detailed analysis of the mouse line showed that both mRNA and protein levels rose from 2 h to peak between 16 and 24 h, in conjunction with activation of caspase 3 and rising levels of apoptosis. Both actinomycin D and cycloheximide prevented this increase in Bim, indicating transcriptional regulation. Serum deprivation caused immediate and sustained decreases in phosphorylation of prosurvival kinases, ERK and PKB, preceding upregulation of Bim. Pathway inhibitors, U0126 or LY294002, strongly increased both Bim mRNA and protein, confirming that both kinases regulate Bim. These inhibitors also induced osteoblast apoptosis within 24–72 h. JC-1 tracer detected mitochondrial potential disruption after serum deprivation, indicating involvement of the intrinsic pathway. Moreover, activation-associated conformational changes were detected in the channel-formers, Bax and Bak. Selective knockdown of Bim or Bak by siRNA protected osteoblasts from serum depletion-induced apoptosis by 50%, whereas knockdown of Bax alone or Bak and Bax together reduced apoptosis by 90%.
Our data indicate that Bim, Bak, and Bax actively mediate osteoblast apoptosis induced by trophic factor withdrawal. The complex upstream regulation of Bim may provide targets for therapeutic enhancement of osteoblast viability.
PMCID: PMC2820735  PMID: 18251703
osteoblast; Bim; Bak; Bax; apoptosis
18.  2-[(2,3,6,7-Tetra­hydro-1H,5H-benzo[ij]quinolizin-9-yl)methyl­ene]propane­dinitrile 
The π system of the title compound, known as julolidinemalononitrile, C16H15N3, is nearly planar, with a 3.5 (1)° twist between the aromatic and dicyano­vinyl groups. The bond lengths indicate significant zwitterionic character in the ground state.
PMCID: PMC2969442  PMID: 21582943
19.  N′-(2,4-Dichloro­benzyl­idene)-4-methoxy­benzohydrazide methanol solvate 
In the title compound, C15H12Cl2N2O2·CH3OH, the hydrazone mol­ecule displays an E configuration about the C=N bond. The dihedral angle between the two benzene rings is 4.6 (2)°. In the crystal structure, the hydrazone and methanol mol­ecules are linked into a chain propagating along the a axis via N—H⋯O and O—H⋯O hydrogen bonds.
PMCID: PMC2969251  PMID: 21582882
20.  Lithium inhibits Smad3/4 transactivation via increased CREB activity induced by enhanced PKA and AKT signaling 
Smad proteins are intracellular transducers for transforming growth factor-β (TGF-β signaling and play a critical role in differentiation, tissue repair and apoptosis of the central nervous system. Both TGF-β and its regulated gene, plasminogen activator inhibitor type-1 (PAI-1), have been implicated in the etiology and progression of neurodegenerative diseases and mood disorders. We previously reported that GSK-3β protein depletion suppresses Smad3/4-dependent gene transcription and causes a reduction in PAI-1 expression. Here, we provide evidence that lithium, the drug for the treatment and prophylaxis of bipolar disorder, inhibits Smad-dependent signaling by regulating cAMP-protein kinase A (PKA), AKT-glycogen synthase kinase-3β (GSK-3β), and CRE-dependent signaling pathways in neuron-enriched cerebral cortical cultures of rats. We demonstrate that lithium-induced activation of these pathways inhibits Smad3/4-dependent gene transcription through an increase in pCREBSer133 protein levels, an enhanced interaction between pCREBSer133 and p300/CBP, which causes Smad3/4-p300/CBP complex disruption and transcriptional suppression of Smad3/4-dependent genes. Therapeutic implications of our findings are discussed.
PMCID: PMC2276841  PMID: 18077182
Smad; TGF-beta; bipolar disorder; lithium; CBP; p300; AKT; PKA; GSK-3beta
21.  Bis(μ-biphenyl-2,2′-dicarboxyl­ato)bis­[(2,2′-bipyridine)copper(II)] 
The title compound, [Cu2(C14H8O4)2(C10H8N2)2], is a centrosymmetric binuclear copper(II) complex, with a Cu⋯Cu separation of 6.136 (16) Å. The Cu atom displays a cis-CuN2O2 square-planar geometry, although two long (> 2.43 Å) Cu⋯O contacts complete a distorted cis-CuN2O4 octa­hedron. Extensive C—H⋯O hydrogen bonds link the mol­ecules into a three-dimensional network.
PMCID: PMC2960666  PMID: 21201617
22.  Ubiquitination and Proteolysis of Cancer-Derived Smad4 Mutants by SCFSkp2 
Molecular and Cellular Biology  2004;24(17):7524-7537.
Smad4/DPC4, a common signal transducer in transforming growth factor beta (TGF-β) signaling, is frequently inactivated in human cancer. Although the ubiquitin-proteasome pathway has been established as one mechanism of inactivating Smad4 in cancer, the specific ubiquitin E3 ligase for ubiquitination-mediated proteolysis of Smad4 cancer mutants remains unclear. In this report, we identified the SCFSkp2 complex as candidate Smad4-interacting proteins in an antibody array-based screen and further elucidated the functions of SCFSkp2 in mediating the metabolic instability of cancer-derived Smad4 mutants. We found that Skp2, the F-box component of SCFSkp2, physically interacted with Smad4 at the physiological levels. Several cancer-derived unstable mutants exhibited significantly increased binding to Skp2, which led to their increased ubiquitination and accelerated proteolysis. These results suggest an important role for the SCFSkp2 complex in switching cancer mutants of Smad4 to undergo polyubiquitination-dependent degradation.
PMCID: PMC506984  PMID: 15314162
23.  Smad6 Recruits Transcription Corepressor CtBP To Repress Bone Morphogenetic Protein-Induced Transcription 
Molecular and Cellular Biology  2003;23(24):9081-9093.
Smad6 and Smad7 are inhibitory Smads induced by transforming growth factor β-Smad signal transduction pathways in a negative-feedback mechanism. Previously it has been thought that inhibitory Smads bind to the type I receptor and block the phosphorylation of receptor-activated Smads, thereby inhibiting the initiation of Smad signaling. Conversely, few studies have suggested the possible nuclear functions of inhibitory Smads. Here, we present compelling evidence demonstrating that Smad6 repressed bone morphogenetic protein-induced Id1 transcription through recruiting transcriptional corepressor C-terminal binding protein (CtBP). A consensus CtBP-binding motif, PLDLS, was identified in the linker region of Smad6. Our findings show that mutation in the motif abolished the Smad6 binding to CtBP and subsequently its repressor activity of transcription. We conclude that the nuclear functions and physical interaction of Smad6 and CtBP provide a novel mechanism for the transcriptional regulation by inhibitory Smads.
PMCID: PMC309600  PMID: 14645520
24.  Human T-Lymphotropic Virus Type 1 Oncoprotein Tax Promotes Unscheduled Degradation of Pds1p/Securin and Clb2p/Cyclin B1 and Causes Chromosomal Instability 
Molecular and Cellular Biology  2003;23(15):5269-5281.
Human T-lymphotropic virus type 1 (HTLV-1) is the causative agent of adult T-cell leukemia. The HTLV-1 transactivator, Tax, is implicated as the viral oncoprotein. Naïve cells expressing Tax for the first time develop severe cell cycle abnormalities that include increased DNA synthesis, mitotic arrest, appearance of convoluted nuclei with decondensed DNA, and formation of multinucleated cells. Here we report that Tax causes a drastic reduction in Pds1p/securin and Clb2p/cyclin B levels in yeast, rodent, and human cells and a loss of cell viability. With a temperature-sensitive mutant of the CDC23 subunit of the anaphase-promoting complex (APC), cdc23ts; a temperature-sensitive mutant of cdc20; and a cdh1-null mutant, we show that the diminution of Pds1p and Clb2p brought on by Tax is mediated via the Cdc20p-associated anaphase-promoting complex, APCCdc20p. This loss of Pds1p/securin and Clb2p/cyclin B1 occurred before cellular entry into mitosis, caused a G2/M cell cycle block, and was accompanied by severe chromosome aneuploidy in both Saccharomyces cerevisiae cells and human diploid fibroblasts. Our results support the notion that Tax aberrantly targets and activates APCCdc20p, leading to unscheduled degradation of Pds1p/securin and Clb2p/cyclin B1, a delay or failure in mitotic entry and progression, and faulty chromosome transmission. The chromosomal instability resulting from a Tax-induced deficiency in securin and cyclin B1 provides an explanation for the highly aneuploid nature of adult T-cell leukemia cells.
PMCID: PMC165734  PMID: 12861013
25.  A New Type of Adenovirus Vector That Utilizes Homologous Recombination To Achieve Tumor-Specific Replication 
Journal of Virology  2002;76(21):10994-11002.
We have developed a new class of adenovirus vectors that selectively replicate in tumor cells. The vector design is based on our recent observation that a variety of human tumor cell lines support DNA replication of adenovirus vectors with deletions of the E1A and E1B genes, whereas primary human cells or mouse liver cells in vivo do not. On the basis of this tumor-selective replication, we developed an adenovirus system that utilizes homologous recombination between inverted repeats to mediate precise rearrangements within the viral genome resulting in replication-dependent activation of transgene expression in tumors (Ad.IR vectors). Here, we used this system to achieve tumor-specific expression of adenoviral wild-type E1A in order to enhance viral DNA replication and spread within tumor metastases. In vitro DNA replication and cytotoxicity studies demonstrated that the mechanism of E1A-enhanced replication of Ad.IR-E1A vectors is efficiently and specifically activated in tumor cells, but not in nontransformed human cells. Systemic application of the Ad.IR-E1A vector into animals with liver metastases achieved transgene expression exclusively in tumors. The number of transgene-expressing tumor cells within metastases increased over time, indicating viral spread. Furthermore, the Ad.IR-E1A vector demonstrated antitumor efficacy in subcutaneous and metastatic models. These new Ad.IR-E1A vectors combine elements that allow for tumor-specific transgene expression, efficient viral replication, and spread in liver metastases after systemic vector application.
PMCID: PMC136641  PMID: 12368342

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