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1.  The Compound Chinese Medicine “Kang Fu Ling” Protects against High Power Microwave-Induced Myocardial Injury 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(7):e101532.
The prevention and treatment of Microwave-caused cardiovascular injury remains elusive. This study investigated the cardiovascular protective effects of compound Chinese medicine “Kang Fu Ling” (KFL) against high power microwave (HPM)-induced myocardial injury and the role of the mitochondrial permeability transition pore (mPTP) opening in KFL protection.
Male Wistar rats (100) were divided into 5 equal groups: no treatment, radiation only, or radiation followed by treatment with KFL at 0.75, 1.5, or 3 g/kg/day. Electrocardiography was used to Electrophysiological examination. Histological and ultrastructural changes in heart tissue and isolated mitochondria were observed by light microscope and electron microscopy. mPTP opening and mitochondrial membrane potential were detected by confocal laser scanning microscopy and fluorescence analysis. Connexin-43 (Cx-43) and endothelial nitric oxide synthase (eNOS) were detected by immunohistochemistry. The expression of voltage-dependent anion channel (VDAC) was detected by western blotting.
At 7 days after radiation, rats without KFL treatment showed a significantly lower heart rate (P<0.01) than untreated controls and a J point shift. Myocyte swelling and rearrangement were evident. Mitochondria exhibited rupture, and decreased fluorescence intensity, suggesting opening of mPTP and a consequent reduction in mitochondrial membrane potential. After treatment with 1.5 g/kg/day KFL for 7 d, the heart rate increased significantly (P<0.01), and the J point shift was reduced flavorfully (P<0.05) compared to untreated, irradiated rats; myocytes and mitochondria were of normal morphology. The fluorescence intensities of dye-treated mitochondria were also increased, suggesting inhibition of mPTP opening and preservation of the mitochondrial membrane potential. The microwave-induced decrease of Cx-43 and VDAC protein expression was significantly reversed.
Microwave radiation can cause electrophysiological, histological and ultrastructural changes in the heart. KFL at 1.5 g/kg/day had the greatest protective effect on these cardiovascular events. mPTP plays an important role in the protective effects of KFL against microwave-radiation-induced myocardial injury.
PMCID: PMC4081591  PMID: 24992449
2.  Reduction of Phosphorylated Synapsin I (Ser-553) Leads to Spatial Memory Impairment by Attenuating GABA Release after Microwave Exposure in Wistar Rats 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(4):e95503.
Abnormal release of neurotransmitters after microwave exposure can cause learning and memory deficits. This study investigated the mechanism of this effect by exploring the potential role of phosphorylated synapsin I (p-Syn I).
Wistar rats, rat hippocampal synaptosomes, and differentiated (neuronal) PC12 cells were exposed to microwave radiation for 5 min at a mean power density of 30 mW/cm2. Sham group rats, synaptosomes, and cells were otherwise identically treated and acted as controls for all of the following post-exposure analyses. Spatial learning and memory in rats was assessed using the Morris Water Maze (MWM) navigation task. The protein expression and presynaptic distribution of p-Syn I and neurotransmitter transporters were examined via western blotting and immunoelectron microscopy, respectively. Levels amino acid neurotransmitter release from rat hippocampal synaptosomes and PC12 cells were measured using high performance liquid chromatograph (HPLC) at 6 hours after exposure, with or without synapsin I silencing via shRNA transfection.
In the rat experiments, there was a decrease in spatial memory performance after microwave exposure. The expression of p-Syn I (ser-553) was decreased at 3 days post-exposure and elevated at later time points. Vesicular GABA transporter (VGAT) was significantly elevated after exposure. The GABA release from synaptosomes was attenuated and p-Syn I (ser-553) and VGAT were both enriched in small clear synaptic vesicles, which abnormally assembled in the presynaptic terminal after exposure. In the PC12 cell experiments, the expression of p-Syn I (ser-553) and GABA release were both attenuated at 6 hours after exposure. Both microwave exposure and p-Syn I silencing reduced GABA release and maximal reduction was found for the combination of the two, indicating a synergetic effect.
p-Syn I (ser-553) was found to play a key role in the impaired GABA release and cognitive dysfunction that was induced by microwave exposure.
PMCID: PMC3990695  PMID: 24743689
3.  Neural Cell Apoptosis Induced by Microwave Exposure Through Mitochondria-dependent Caspase-3 Pathway 
To determine whether microwave (MW) radiation induces neural cell apoptosis, differentiated PC12 cells and Wistar rats were exposed to 2.856GHz for 5min and 15min, respectively, at an average power density of 30 mW/cm2. JC-1 and TUNEL staining detected significant apoptotic events, such as the loss of mitochondria membrane potential and DNA fragmentation, respectively. Transmission electron microscopy and Hoechst staining were used to observe chromatin ultrastructure and apoptotic body formation. Annexin V-FITC/PI double staining was used to quantify the level of apoptosis. The expressions of Bax, Bcl-2, cytochrome c, cleaved caspase-3 and PARP were examined by immunoblotting or immunocytochemistry. Caspase-3 activity was measured using an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. The results showed chromatin condensation and apoptotic body formation in neural cells 6h after microwave exposure. Moreover, the mitochondria membrane potential decreased, DNA fragmentation increased, leading to an increase in the apoptotic cell percentage. Furthermore, the ratio of Bax/Bcl-2, expression of cytochrome c, cleaved caspase-3 and PARP all increased. In conclusion, microwave radiation induced neural cell apoptosis via the classical mitochondria-dependent caspase-3 pathway. This study may provide the experimental basis for further investigation of the mechanism of the neurological effects induced by microwave radiation.
PMCID: PMC3970093  PMID: 24688304
Apoptosis; Caspase-3; Microwave; Mitochondria; PC12 cells.
4.  Allosteric opening of the polypeptide-binding site when an Hsp70 binds ATP 
The 70kD heat shock proteins (Hsp70s) are ubiquitous molecular chaperones essential for cellular protein folding and proteostasis. Each Hsp70 has two functional domains: a nucleotide-binding domain (NBD) that binds and hydrolyzes ATP, and a substrate-binding domain (SBD) that binds extended polypeptides. NBD and SBD interact little when in ADP; however, ATP binding allosterically couples the polypeptide- and ATP-binding sites. ATP binding promotes polypeptide release; polypeptide rebinding stimulates ATP hydrolysis. This allosteric coupling is poorly understood. Here we present the crystal structure of an intact Hsp70 from Escherichia coli in an ATP-bound state at 1.96 Å resolution. NBD-ATP adopts a unique conformation, forming extensive interfaces with a radically changed SBD that has its α-helical lid displaced and the polypeptide-binding channel of its β-subdomain restructured. These conformational changes together with our biochemical tests provide a long-sought structural explanation for allosteric coupling in Hsp70 activity.
PMCID: PMC3772632  PMID: 23708608
5.  Inner activation gate in S6 contributes to the state-dependent binding of cAMP in full-length HCN2 channel 
Recently, applications of the patch-clamp fluorometry (PCF) technique in studies of cyclic nucleotide–gated (CNG) and hyperpolarization-activated, cyclic nucleotide–regulated (HCN) channels have provided direct evidence for the long-held notion that ligands preferably bind to and stabilize these channels in an open state. This state-dependent ligand–channel interaction involves contributions from not only the ligand-binding domain but also other discrete structural elements within the channel protein. This insight led us to investigate whether the pore of the HCN channel plays a role in the ligand–whole channel interaction. We used three well-characterized HCN channel blockers to probe the ion-conducting passage. The PCF technique was used to simultaneously monitor channel activity and cAMP binding. Two ionic blockers, Cs+ and Mg2+, effectively block channel conductance but have no obvious effect on cAMP binding. Surprisingly, ZD7288, an open channel blocker specific for HCN channels, significantly reduces the activity-dependent increase in cAMP binding. Independent biochemical assays exclude any nonspecific interaction between ZD7288 and isolated cAMP-binding domain. Because ZD7228 interacts with the inner pore region, where the activation gate is presumably located, we did an alanine scanning of the intracellular end of S6, from T426 to A435. Mutations of three residues, T426, M430, and H434, which are located at regular intervals on the S6 α-helix, enhance cAMP binding. In contrast, mutations of two residues in close proximity, F431A and I432A, dampen the response. Our results demonstrate that movements of the structural elements near the activation gate directly affect ligand binding affinity, which is a simple mechanistic explanation that could be applied to the interpretation of ligand gating in general.
PMCID: PMC3382721  PMID: 22689828
6.  A Blue Native-PAGE analysis of membrane protein complexes in Clostridium thermocellum 
BMC Microbiology  2011;11:22.
Clostridium thermocellum is a Gram-positive thermophilic anaerobic bacterium with the unusual capacity to convert cellulosic biomass into ethanol and hydrogen. Identification and characterization of protein complexes in C. thermocellum are important toward understanding its metabolism and physiology.
A two dimensional blue native/SDS-PAGE procedure was developed to separate membrane protein complexes of C. thermocellum. Proteins spots were identified by MALDI-TOF/TOF Mass spectrometry. 24 proteins were identified representing 13 distinct protein complexes, including several putative intact complexes. Interestingly, subunits of both the F1-F0-ATP synthase and the V1-V0-ATP synthase were detected in the membrane sample, indicating C. thermocellum may use alternative mechanisms for ATP generation.
Two dimensional blue native/SDS-PAGE was used to detect membrane protein complexes in C. thermocellum. More than a dozen putative protein complexes were identified, revealing the simultaneous expression of two sets of ATP synthase. The protocol developed in this work paves the way for further functional characterization of these protein complexes.
PMCID: PMC3039559  PMID: 21269440
7.  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

Results 1-7 (7)