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author:("Shi, xuanwei")
1.  An adaptive support driven reweighted L1-regularization algorithm for fluorescence molecular tomography 
Biomedical Optics Express  2014;5(11):4039-4052.
Fluorescence molecular tomography (FMT) is a promising in vivo functional imaging modality in preclinical study. When solving the ill-posed FMT inverse problem, L1 regularization can preserve the details and reduce the noise in the reconstruction results effectively. Moreover, compared with the regular L1 regularization, reweighted L1 regularization is recently reported to improve the performance. In order to realize the reweighted L1 regularization for FMT, an adaptive support driven reweighted L1-regularization (ASDR-L1) algorithm is proposed in this work. This algorithm has two integral parts: an adaptive support estimate and the iteratively updated weights. In the iteratively reweighted L1-minimization sub-problem, different weights are equivalent to different regularization parameters at different locations. Thus, ASDR-L1 can be considered as a kind of spatially variant regularization methods for FMT. Physical phantom and in vivo mouse experiments were performed to validate the proposed algorithm. The results demonstrate that the proposed reweighted L1-reguarization algorithm can significantly improve the performance in terms of relative quantitation and spatial resolution.
PMCID: PMC4242037  PMID: 25426329
(100.3010) Image reconstruction techniques; (100.3190) Inverse problems; (110.6955) Tomographic imaging; (170.3660) Light propagation in tissues; (170.3880) Medical and biological imaging; (290.1990) Diffusion
2.  Regulation of leukemia-initiating cell activity by the ubiquitin ligase FBXW7 
Cell  2013;153(7):1552-1566.
Sequencing efforts led to the identification of somatic mutations that could affect self-renewal and differentiation of cancer-initiating cells. One such recurrent mutation targets the binding pocket of the ubiquitin ligase FBXW7. Missense FBXW7 mutations are prevalent in various tumors, including T-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia (T-ALL). To study the effects of such lesions, we generated animals carrying regulatable Fbxw7 mutant alleles. We show here that these mutations specifically bolster cancer-initiating cell activity in collaboration with Notch1 oncogenes, but spare normal hematopoietic stem cell function. We were also able to show that FBXW7 mutations specifically affect the ubiquitylation and half-life of c-Myc protein, a key T-ALL oncogene. Using animals carrying c-Myc fusion alleles, we connected Fbxw7 function to c-Myc abundance and correlated c-Myc expression to leukemia-initiating activity. Finally, we demonstrated that small molecule-mediated suppression of MYC activity leads to T-ALL remission, suggesting a novel effective therapeutic strategy.
PMCID: PMC4146439  PMID: 23791182
3.  The Polycomb complex PRC2 supports aberrant self-renewal in a mouse model of MLL-AF9;NrasG12D acute myeloid leukemia 
Oncogene  2012;32(7):930-938.
The Trithorax and Polycomb groups of chromatin regulators are critical for cell-lineage specification during normal development; functions that often become deregulated during tumorigenesis. As an example, oncogenic fusions of the Trithorax-related protein MLL can initiate aggressive leukemias by altering the transcriptional circuitry governing hematopoietic cell differentiation, a process that is known to require additional epigenetic pathways to implement. Here we used shRNA screening to identify chromatin regulators uniquely required in a mouse model of MLL-fusion acute myeloid leukemia, which revealed a role for the Polycomb Repressive Complex 2 (PRC2) in maintenance of this disease. shRNA-mediated suppression of PRC2 subunits Eed, Suz12, or Ezh1/Ezh2 led to proliferation-arrest and differentiation of leukemia cells, with a minimal impact on growth of several non-transformed hematopoietic cell lines. The requirement for PRC2 in leukemia is partly due to its role in direct transcriptional repression of genes that limit the self-renewal potential of hematopoietic cells, including Cdkn2a. In addition to implicating a role for PRC2 in the pathogenesis of MLL-fusion leukemia, our results suggest, more generally, that Trithorax and Polycomb group proteins can cooperate with one another to maintain aberrant lineage programs in cancer.
PMCID: PMC4102143  PMID: 22469984
chromatin; leukemia; epigenetics; MLL; PRC2
4.  Low dose MK-801 reduces social investigation in mice 
To characterize MK-801’s effect on social behavior in mice, we examined adult male ICR mice for interaction with companion mice (juvenile male). Test mice were injected with either saline or MK-801 (0.1 mg/kg), and were tested 30 min later for their social behavior during a 5-min session. A second encounter took place 30 min later, with either a familiar companion mouse (the same as in the initial encounter) or a novel mouse. In saline controls, second encounter with a familiar companion mouse showed reduced social investigative behaviors (anogenital sniffing and staying together), indicating habituation toward a familiar mouse. Second encounter with a novel companion mouse did not show habituation in social investigative behaviors. Pretreatment with MK-801 reduced anogenital sniffing during the first encounter. At the second encounter, these mice displayed non-discriminative habituation of social investigative behaviors, with reduced anogenital sniffing and staying together, regardless of whether the companion mouse was a familiar or a novel one. These results indicate that MK-801 affected exploratory activities of mice, resulting in both reduced social investigative behaviors during first encounter with a companion mouse, and diminished discriminative capacities for a familiar vs. a novel companion mouse during subsequent encounter.
PMCID: PMC3762873  PMID: 18577395
Social interaction; Social recognition; MK-801; Anogenital sniffing; Mice
5.  Small-molecule inhibition of BRD4 as a new potent approach to eliminate leukemic stem- and progenitor cells in acute myeloid leukemia (AML) 
Oncotarget  2012;3(12):1588-1599.
Acute myeloid leukemia (AML) is a life-threatening stem cell disease characterized by uncontrolled proliferation and accumulation of myeloblasts. Using an advanced RNAi screen-approach in an AML mouse model we have recently identified the epigenetic ‘reader’ BRD4 as a promising target in AML. In the current study, we asked whether inhibition of BRD4 by a small-molecule inhibitor, JQ1, leads to growth-inhibition and apoptosis in primary human AML stem- and progenitor cells. Primary cell samples were obtained from 37 patients with freshly diagnosed AML (n=23) or refractory AML (n=14). BRD4 was found to be expressed at the mRNA and protein level in unfractionated AML cells as well as in highly enriched CD34+/CD38− and CD34+/CD38+ stem- and progenitor cells in all patients examined. In unfractionated leukemic cells, submicromolar concentrations of JQ1 induced major growth-inhibitory effects (IC50 0.05-0.5 μM) in most samples, including cells derived from relapsed or refractory patients. In addition, JQ1 was found to induce apoptosis in CD34+/CD38− and CD34+/CD38+ stem- and progenitor cells in all donors examined as evidenced by combined surface/Annexin-V staining. Moreover, we were able to show that JQ1 synergizes with ARA-C in inducing growth inhibition in AML cells. Together, the BRD4-targeting drug JQ1 exerts major anti-leukemic effects in a broad range of human AML subtypes, including relapsed and refractory patients and all relevant stem- and progenitor cell compartments, including CD34+/CD38− and CD34+/CD38+ AML cells. These results characterize BRD4-inhibition as a promising new therapeutic approach in AML which should be further investigated in clinical trials.
PMCID: PMC3681497  PMID: 23249862
AML; leukemic stem cells; BRD4; JQ1; targeted therapy
6.  BET bromodomain inhibition as a therapeutic strategy to target c-Myc 
Cell  2011;146(6):904-917.
MYC contributes to the pathogenesis of a majority of human cancers, yet strategies to modulate the function of the c-Myc oncoprotein do not exist. Toward this objective, we have targeted MYC transcription by interfering with chromatin-dependent signal transduction to RNA polymerase, specifically by inhibiting the acetyl-lysine recognition domains (bromodomains) of putative co-activator proteins implicated in transcriptional initiation and elongation. Using a selective small-molecule bromodomain inhibitor, JQ1, we identify BET bromodomain proteins as regulatory factors for c-Myc. BET inhibition by JQ1 downregulates MYC transcription, followed by genome-wide downregulation of Myc-dependent target genes. In experimental models of multiple myeloma, a Myc-dependent hematologic malignancy, JQ1 produces a potent antiproliferative effect associated with cell cycle arrest and cellular senescence. Efficacy of JQ1 in three murine models of multiple myeloma establishes the therapeutic rationale for BET bromodomain inhibition in this disease and other malignancies characterized by pathologic activation of c-Myc.
PMCID: PMC3187920  PMID: 21889194
7.  RNAi screen identifies Brd4 as a therapeutic target in acute myeloid leukaemia 
Nature  2011;478(7370):524-528.
Epigenetic pathways can regulate gene expression by controlling and interpreting chromatin modifications. Cancer cells are characterized by altered epigenetic landscapes, and commonly exploit the chromatin regulatory machinery to enforce oncogenic gene expression programs1. Although chromatin alterations are, in principle, reversible and often amenable to drug intervention, the promise of targeting such pathways therapeutically has been limited by an incomplete understanding of cancer-specific dependencies on epigenetic regulators. Here we describe a non-biased approach to probe epigenetic vulnerabilities in acute myeloid leukaemia (AML), an aggressive haematopoietic malignancy that is often associated with aberrant chromatin states2. By screening a custom library of small hairpin RNAs (shRNAs) targeting known chromatin regulators in a genetically defined AML mouse model, we identify the protein bromodomain-containing 4 (Brd4) as being critically required for disease maintenance. Suppression of Brd4 using shRNAs or the small-molecule inhibitor JQ1 led to robust antileukaemic effects in vitro and in vivo, accompanied by terminal myeloid differentiation and elimination of leukaemia stem cells. Similar sensitivities were observed in a variety of human AML cell lines and primary patient samples, revealing that JQ1 has broad activity in diverse AML subtypes. The effects of Brd4 suppression are, at least in part, due to its role in sustaining Myc expression to promote aberrant self-renewal, which implicates JQ1 as a pharmacological means to suppress MYC in cancer. Our results establish small-molecule inhibition of Brd4 as a promising therapeutic strategy in AML and, potentially, other cancers, and highlight the utility of RNA interference (RNAi) screening for revealing epigenetic vulnerabilities that can be exploited for direct pharmacological intervention.
PMCID: PMC3328300  PMID: 21814200
8.  Markers of Tumor-Initiating Cells Predict Chemoresistance in Breast Cancer 
PLoS ONE  2010;5(12):e15630.
Evidence is lacking whether the number of breast tumor-initiating cells (BT-ICs) directly correlates with the sensitivity of breast tumors to chemotherapy. Here, we evaluated the association between proportion of BT-ICs and chemoresistance of the tumors.
Immunohistochemical staining(IHC) was used to examine the expression of aldehyde dehydrogenase 1 (ALDH1) and proliferating cell nuclear antigen, and TUNEL was used to detect the apoptosis index. The significance of various variables in patient survival was analyzed using a Cox proportional hazards model. The percentage of BT-ICs in breast cancer cell lines and primary breast tumors was determined by ALDH1 enzymatic assay, CD44+/CD24− phenotype and mammosphere formation assay.
ALDH1 expression determined by IHC in primary breast cancers was associated with poor clinical response to neoadjuvant chemotherapy and reduced survival in breast cancer patients. Breast tumors that contained higher proportion of BT-ICs with CD44+/CD24− phenotype, ALDH1 enzymatic activity and sphere forming capacity were more resistant to neoadjuvant chemotherapy. Chemoresistant cell lines AdrR/MCF-7 and SK-3rd, had increased number of cells with sphere forming capacity, CD44+/CD24− phenotype and side-population. Regardless the proportion of T-ICs, FACS-sorted CD44+/CD24− cells that derived from primary tumors or breast cancer lines were about 10–60 fold more resistant to chemotherapy relative to the non- CD44+/CD24− cells and their parental cells. Furthermore, our data demonstrated that MDR1 (multidrug resistance 1) and ABCG2 (ATP-binding cassette sub-family G member 2) were upregulated in CD44+/CD24− cells. Treatment with lapatinib or salinomycin reduced the proportion of BT-ICs by nearly 50 fold, and thus enhanced the sensitivity of breast cancer cells to chemotherapy by around 30 fold.
These data suggest that the proportion of BT-ICs is associated with chemotherapeutic resistance of breast cancer. It highlights the importance of targeting T-ICs, rather than eliminating the bulk of rapidly dividing and terminally differentiated cells, in novel anti-cancer strategies.
PMCID: PMC3004932  PMID: 21187973
9.  Roles of arabidopsis WRKY18, WRKY40 and WRKY60 transcription factors in plant responses to abscisic acid and abiotic stress 
BMC Plant Biology  2010;10:281.
WRKY transcription factors are involved in plant responses to both biotic and abiotic stresses. Arabidopsis WRKY18, WRKY40, and WRKY60 transcription factors interact both physically and functionally in plant defense responses. However, their role in plant abiotic stress response has not been directly analyzed.
We report that the three WRKYs are involved in plant responses to abscisic acid (ABA) and abiotic stress. Through analysis of single, double, and triple mutants and overexpression lines for the WRKY genes, we have shown that WRKY18 and WRKY60 have a positive effect on plant ABA sensitivity for inhibition of seed germination and root growth. The same two WRKY genes also enhance plant sensitivity to salt and osmotic stress. WRKY40, on the other hand, antagonizes WRKY18 and WRKY60 in the effect on plant sensitivity to ABA and abiotic stress in germination and growth assays. Both WRKY18 and WRKY40 are rapidly induced by ABA, while induction of WRKY60 by ABA is delayed. ABA-inducible expression of WRKY60 is almost completely abolished in the wrky18 and wrky40 mutants. WRKY18 and WRKY40 recognize a cluster of W-box sequences in the WRKY60 promoter and activate WRKY60 expression in protoplasts. Thus, WRKY60 might be a direct target gene of WRKY18 and WRKY40 in ABA signaling. Using a stable transgenic reporter/effector system, we have shown that both WRKY18 and WRKY60 act as weak transcriptional activators while WRKY40 is a transcriptional repressor in plant cells.
We propose that the three related WRKY transcription factors form a highly interacting regulatory network that modulates gene expression in both plant defense and stress responses by acting as either transcription activator or repressor.
PMCID: PMC3023790  PMID: 21167067
10.  Vitamin A depletion alters sensitivity of motor behavior to MK-801 in C57BL/6J mice 
Vitamin A and its derivatives (retinoids) are crucial for the development, maintenance and morphogenesis of the central nervous system (CNS). Although motor impairment has been reported in postnatal vitamin A depletion rodents, the effect of vitamin A depletion on homeostasis maintaining capability in response to external interference is not clear.
In the current study, we measured the effect of vitamin A depletion on motor ability and pain sensitivity under two different conditions: 1. prior to any injection and 2. after the injection of an N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) receptor antagonist (MK-801).
Vitamin A depletion mice showed decreased body weight, enhanced locomotor activity, increased rearing and less tail flick latency. Vitamin A depletion also induced hypersensitivity of stereotypy, ataxia, rearing, and tail flick latency to MK-801, but hyposensitivity of locomotion to MK-801.
These findings suggest that vitamin A depletion affect broad basal behavior and disrupt homeostasis maintaining capability in response to glutamate perturbation. We provide a useful animal model for assessing the role of vitamin A depletion in regulating animal behavior, and for detecting how neurotransmitter pathways might be involved in vitamin A depletion related behavioral abnormalities.
PMCID: PMC2832782  PMID: 20180994

Results 1-10 (10)