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1.  Polyunsaturated Fatty Acid Intake and Risk of Lung Cancer: A Meta-Analysis of Prospective Studies 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(6):e99637.
Studies have reported inconsistent results for the existence of an association between polyunsaturated fatty acid (PUFA) intake and risk of lung cancer. The purpose of this study is to summarize the evidence regarding this relationship using a dose response meta-analytic approach.
Methodology and Principal Findings
We searched the PubMed, EmBase, and Cochrane Library electronic databases for related articles published through July 2013. Only prospective studies that reported effect estimates with 95% confidence intervals (CIs) of lung cancer incidence for greater than 2 categories of PUFA intake were included. We did random-effects meta-analyses of study-specific incremental estimates to determine the risk of lung cancer associated with a 5 g per day increase in PUFA intake. Overall, we included 8 prospective cohort studies reporting data on 1,268,442 individuals. High PUFA intake had little or no effect on lung cancer risk (risk ratio [RR], 0.91; 95% CI, 0.78–1.06; P = 0.230). Furthermore, the dose-response meta-analysis also suggested that a 5 g per day increase in PUFA has no significant effect on the risk of lung cancer (RR, 0.98; 95%CI: 0.96–1.01; P = 0.142). Finally, the findings of dose response curve suggested that PUFA intake of up to 15 g/d seemed to increase the risk of lung cancer. Furthermore, PUFA intake greater than 15 g/d was associated with a small beneficial effect and borderline statistical significance. Subgroup analyses for 5 g per day increment in PUFA indicated that the protective effect of PUFA was more evident in women (RR, 0.94; 95% CI, 0.87–1.01; P = 0.095) than in men (RR, 1.00; 95% CI, 0.98–1.02; P = 0.784).
Our study indicated that PUFA intake had little or no effect on lung cancer risk. PUFA intake might play an important role in lung cancer prevention in women.
PMCID: PMC4055702  PMID: 24925369
2.  Effects of luteinizing hormone and androgen on the development of rat progenitor Leydig cells in vitro and in vivo 
Asian Journal of Andrology  2013;15(5):685-691.
Progenitor Leydig cells are derived from stem cells. The proliferation and differentiation of progenitor Leydig cells significantly contributes to Leydig cell number during puberty. However, the regulation of these processes remains unclear. The objective of the present study was to determine whether luteinizing hormone (LH) or androgen contributes to the proliferation and differentiation of progenitor Leydig cells. Fourteen-day-old male Sprague–Dawley rats were treated for 7 days with NalGlu, which is a gonadotropin-releasing hormone antagonist, to reduce the secretion of LH in the pituitary and thus, androgen in the testis. Rats were co-administered with LH or 7α-methyl-nortestosterone (MENT), which is an androgen resistant to metabolism by 5α-reductase 1 in progenitor Leydig cells, and the subsequent effects of LH or androgen were measured. 3H-Thymidine was also intravenously injected into rats to study thymidine incorporation in progenitor Leydig cells. Progenitor Leydig cells were examined. NalGlu administration reduced progenitor Leydig cell proliferation by 83%. In addition, LH or MENT treatment restored Leydig cell proliferative capacity to 73% or 50% of control, respectively. The messenger RNA levels of proliferation-related genes were measured using real-time PCR. The expression levels of Igf1, Lifr, Pdgfra, Bcl2, Ccnd3 and Pcna were upregulated by MENT, and those of Pdgfra, Ccnd3 and Pcna were upregulated by LH. Both LH and MENT stimulated the differentiation of progenitor Leydig cells in vitro. We concluded that both LH and MENT were involved in regulating the development of progenitor Leydig cells.
PMCID: PMC3881652  PMID: 23792342
luteinizing hormone; progenitor Leydig cell; proliferation; testosterone
3.  Biotin tagging coupled with amino acid-coded mass tagging (BioCAT) for efficient and precise screening of interaction proteome in mammalian cells 
Proteomics  2009;9(24):5414-5424.
In mammalian cells, when tandem affinity purification (TAP) approach is employed, the existence of untagged endogenous target protein and repetitive washing steps together result in overall low yield of purified/stable complexes and the loss of weakly and transiently interacting partners of biological significance. To avoid the trade-offs involving in methodological sensitivity, precision, and throughput here we introduce an integrated method, biotin tagging coupled with amino acid-coded mass tagging (BioCAT) for highly sensitive and accurate screening of mammalian protein-protein interactions (PPIs). Without the need of establishing a stable cell line, using a short peptide tag which could be specifically biotinylated in vivo, the biotin-tagged target/bait protein was then isolated along with its associates efficiently by streptavidin magnetic microbeads in a single step. In a pulled-down complex amino acid-coded mass tagging (AACT) serves as ‘in-spectra’ quantitative markers to distinguish those bait-specific interactors from non-specific background proteins under stringent criteria. Applying this BioCAT approach, we first biotin-tagged in vivo a multi-functional protein family member, 14-3-3ε, which was expressed at close to endogenous level. Starting with approximately 20 millions of 293T cells which were significantly less than what needed for a TAP run, 266 specific interactors of 14-3-3ε were identified in high confidence.
PMCID: PMC4302342  PMID: 19834888
Affinity purification; Amino acid-coded mass tagging; Biotin tagging; Protein-protein interaction; 14-3-3ε
4.  GABAB Receptor Antagonist CGP46381 Inhibits Form-Deprivation Myopia Development in Guinea Pigs 
BioMed Research International  2015;2015:207312.
The aim was to investigate the effects of the GABAB receptor antagonist, CGP46381, on form-deprivation myopia (FDM) in guinea pigs. Twenty-four guinea pigs had monocular visual deprivation induced using a diffuser for 11 days (day 14 to 25). The deprived eyes were treated with daily subconjunctival injections (100 μl) of either 2% CGP46381, 0.2% CGP46381, or saline or received no injection. The fellow eyes were left untreated. Another six animals received no treatment. At the start and end of the treatment period, ocular refractions were measured using retinoscopy and vitreous chamber depth (VCD) and axial length (AL) using A-scan ultrasound. All of the deprived eyes developed relative myopia (treated versus untreated eyes, P < 0.05). The amount of myopia was significantly affected by the drug treatment (one-way ANOVA, P < 0.0001). The highest dose tested, 2% CGP46381, significantly inhibited myopia development compared to saline (2% CGP46381: −1.08 ± 0.40 D, saline: −4.33 ± 0.67 D, P < 0.01). The majority of these effects were due to less AL (2% CGP46381: 0.03 ± 0.01 mm, saline: 0.13 ± 0.02 mm, P < 0.01) and VCD (2% CGP46381: 0.02 ± 0.01 mm, saline: 0.08 ± 0.01 mm, P < 0.01) elongation. The lower dose tested, 0.2% CGP46381, did not significantly inhibit FDM (P > 0.05). Subconjunctival injections of CGP46381 inhibit FDM development in guinea pigs in a dose-dependent manner.
PMCID: PMC4306252  PMID: 25649745
5.  Association of LOXL1 Polymorphisms With Pseudoexfoliation, Glaucoma, Intraocular Pressure, and Systemic Diseases in a Greek Population. The Thessaloniki Eye Study 
To investigate the association of the two single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in the lysyl oxidase-like 1 (LOXL1) gene with pseudoexfoliation syndrome (PEX), pseudoexfoliative glaucoma (PEXG), and primary open-angle glaucoma (POAG) in a Greek population–based setting, from the Thessaloniki Eye study.
A total of 233 subjects with successful DNA extraction, PCR amplification, and genotyping were included in the genetic analysis of G153D and R141L SNPs of LOXL1 gene and classified into four groups: controls (n = 93); subjects with PEX (n = 40); POAG (n = 66); and PEXG (n = 34). Multinomial logistic regression was used to test their association with LOXL1 SNPs with adjustment for covariates. The association of LOXL1 with IOP (in untreated subjects) and with systemic diseases was explored.
Both LOXL1 SNPs were present in high frequencies in controls and cases. The G153D was strongly associated with both PEX (odds ratio [OR] = 23.2, P = 0.003 for allele G) and PEXG (OR = 24.75, P = 0.003 for allele G) and was not associated with POAG (P = 0.451). In contrast, the R141L was not associated with PEX (P = 0.81), PEXG (P = 0.063), or POAG (P = 0.113). No association of the G153D with either intraocular pressure (IOP) or systemic diseases was found.
In the Thessaloniki Eye Study, the G153D SNP of LOXL1 gene was strongly associated with both PEX and PEXG, whereas the R141L was not associated. No association of the LOXL1 with IOP or with systemic diseases was found. These findings further support the hypothesis that the LOXL1 gene contributes to onset of PEXG through PEX. Gene variants of LOXL1 do not help to identify those with PEX at increased risk for glaucoma development.
In the Thessaloniki Eye Study, the G153D SNP of LOXL1 was associated with PEX and PEXG, whether the R141L was or not. No association was found for the LOXL1 with intraocular pressure and systemic diseases.
PMCID: PMC4095722  PMID: 24917141
LOXL1; pseudoexfoliation; pseudoexfoliative glaucoma
6.  Specific Phosphorylation of Histone Demethylase KDM3A Determines Target Gene Expression in Response to Heat Shock 
PLoS Biology  2014;12(12):e1002026.
Phosphorylation of histone demethylase KDM3A in response to thermal stress enables its specific recruitment to target genes by Stat1.
Histone lysine (K) residues, which are modified by methyl- and acetyl-transferases, diversely regulate RNA synthesis. Unlike the ubiquitously activating effect of histone K acetylation, the effects of histone K methylation vary with the number of methyl groups added and with the position of these groups in the histone tails. Histone K demethylases (KDMs) counteract the activity of methyl-transferases and remove methyl group(s) from specific K residues in histones. KDM3A (also known as JHDM2A or JMJD1A) is an H3K9me2/1 demethylase. KDM3A performs diverse functions via the regulation of its associated genes, which are involved in spermatogenesis, metabolism, and cell differentiation. However, the mechanism by which the activity of KDM3A is regulated is largely unknown. Here, we demonstrated that mitogen- and stress-activated protein kinase 1 (MSK1) specifically phosphorylates KDM3A at Ser264 (p-KDM3A), which is enriched in the regulatory regions of gene loci in the human genome. p-KDM3A directly interacts with and is recruited by the transcription factor Stat1 to activate p-KDM3A target genes under heat shock conditions. The demethylation of H3K9me2 at the Stat1 binding site specifically depends on the co-expression of p-KDM3A in the heat-shocked cells. In contrast to heat shock, IFN-γ treatment does not phosphorylate KDM3A via MSK1, thereby abrogating its downstream effects. To our knowledge, this is the first evidence that a KDM can be modified via phosphorylation to determine its specific binding to target genes in response to thermal stress.
Author Summary
Histone methylation regulates gene expression and can have drastic consequences for health if the process is defective. Histone lysine demethylases (KDMs) counteract the activity of methyl-transferases and remove methyl group(s) from histones. KDM3A is a H3K9me2/1 demethylase that performs diverse functions via the regulation of its target genes, which are involved in spermatogenesis, metabolism, and cell differentiation. However, the mechanisms underlying KDM3A regulation of specific genes at specific times are largely unknown. Here we found that a physiological stress—elevated temperature—induces KDM3A phosphorylation in human cells via the MSK1 kinase. This phosphorylated form of KDM3A directly interacts with the transcription factor Stat1, which enables Stat1 to recruit KDM3A to Stat1-binding sequences at the promoters of specific target genes. KDM3A then acts to demethylate H3K9me2/1 at these targets, thereby causing specific gene expression in response to the thermal stress. We conclude that heat shock can affect the expression of many genes in human cells via a novel activation mechanism that is centered around the phosphorylation of KDM3A.
PMCID: PMC4275180  PMID: 25535969
7.  Classification of Posterior Polymorphous Corneal Dystrophy as a Corneal Ectatic Disorder Following Confirmation of Associated Significant Corneal Steepening 
JAMA ophthalmology  2013;131(12):1583-1590.
Identification of steep corneal curvatures in a significant percentage of patients with posterior polymorphous corneal dystrophy (PPCD) confirms this previously reported association, and suggests a role for ZEB1 in keratocyte function.
To determine whether PPCD is characterized by significant corneal steepening.
Cross-sectional study
University-based and private ophthalmology practices
Thirty-eight individuals (27 affected and 11 unaffected) from 23 families with PPCD
Slit lamp examination and corneal topographic imaging were performed for individuals with PPCD and unaffected family members. Saliva or blood was collected from each individual for DNA isolation and ZEB1 sequencing. Corneal ZEB1 expression was measured using immunohistochemistry.
Main Outcome Measures
Percentage of individuals affected with PPCD and controls with average keratometry value >48.0D in each eye; mean keratometry value averaged for both eyes of individuals with PPCD and controls; correlation of ZEB1 mutation with keratometry value
ZEB1 coding region mutations were identified in 7 of the 27 affected individuals. Ten of the 38 individuals (26.3%) had average keratometry values >48.0D OU: 10/27 (37.0%) individuals with PPCD (6/7 with ZEB1 mutations (85.7%) and 4/20 without ZEB1 mutations (20.0%)) and 0/11 unaffected individuals (p=0.037 for unaffected vs. affected; p=0.004 for PPCD with vs. without ZEB1 mutation). The mean keratometry value of each eye of affected individuals (48.2D) was significantly greater than unaffected family members (44.1D) (p value = 0.029). Affected individuals with ZEB1 mutations demonstrated a mean keratometry value of 53.3D, significantly greater than affected individuals without ZEB1 mutations (46.5D; p value = 0.004). Fluorescence immunohistochemistry demonstrated ZEB1 expression in keratocyte nuclei.
Conclusions and Relevance
Abnormally steep corneal curvatures are identified in 37% of all individuals with PPCD and 86% of affected individuals with PPCD secondary to ZEB1 mutations. ZEB1 is present in keratocyte nuclei, suggesting a role for ZEB1 in keratocyte function. Therefore, ZEB1 may play a role in both corneal stromal and endothelial development and function, and PPCD should be considered both an endothelial dystrophy and an ectatic disorder.
PMCID: PMC3888803  PMID: 24113819
posterior polymorphous corneal dystrophy; steep corneal curvature; ZEB1
8.  Scalable Privacy-Preserving Data Sharing Methodology for Genome-Wide Association Studies 
The protection of privacy of individual-level information in genome-wide association study (GWAS) databases has been a major concern of researchers following the publication of “an attack” on GWAS data by Homer et al. [1]. Traditional statistical methods for confidentiality and privacy protection of statistical databases do not scale well to deal with GWAS data, especially in terms of guarantees regarding protection from linkage to external information. The more recent concept of differential privacy, introduced by the cryptographic community, is an approach that provides a rigorous definition of privacy with meaningful privacy guarantees in the presence of arbitrary external information, although the guarantees may come at a serious price in terms of data utility. Building on such notions, Uhler et al. [2] proposed new methods to release aggregate GWAS data without compromising an individual's privacy. We extend the methods developed in [2] for releasing differentially-private χ2-statistics by allowing for arbitrary number of cases and controls, and for releasing differentially-private allelic test statistics. We also provide a new interpretation by assuming the controls’ data are known, which is a realistic assumption because some GWAS use publicly available data as controls. We assess the performance of the proposed methods through a risk-utility analysis on a real data set consisting of DNA samples collected by the Wellcome Trust Case Control Consortium and compare the methods with the differentially-private release mechanism proposed by Johnson and Shmatikov [3].
PMCID: PMC4221263  PMID: 24509073
differential privacy; genome-wide association study (GWAS); Pearson χ2-test; allelic test; contingency table; single-nucleotide polymorphism (SNP)
9.  Association of the vitamin D binding protein polymorphisms with the risk of type 2 diabetes mellitus: a meta-analysis 
BMJ Open  2014;4(11):e005617.
Previous studies on the association between vitamin D binding protein (DBP) polymorphisms and the risk of type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) have produced conflicting results. The purpose of this meta-analysis was to examine whether DBP polymorphisms are associated with the risk of T2DM.
Systematic review and meta-analysis.
All eligible studies were searched and acquired from the Cochrane, Pubmed, ISI, CNKI (Chinese) and Wanfang (Chinese) databases. ORs with corresponding 95% CIs were computed to estimate the association between DBP polymorphisms and T2DM. In addition, heterogeneity test, meta-regression and sensitivity analysis were also conducted.
Six studies, which included 1191 cases and 882 controls, met the inclusion criteria and were included in the meta-analysis. The results showed that no significant associations were found between codon 416 and codon 420 polymorphisms in the DBP and the risk of T2DM in the overall analyses. In stratified analysis, significant associations between the codon 420 polymorphism and T2DM were found in Asians (allele Lys vs Thr: OR (95% CI) 1.49 (1.19 to 1.85), genotype Lys/Thr versus Thr/Thr: OR (95% CI) 1.80 (1.36 to 2.38), and Lys/Thr+Lys/Lys versus Thr/Thr: OR (95% CI) 1.81 (1.37 to 2.39), respectively) but not in Caucasians. For the codon 416, the significant association with T2DM was also detected in Asians (genotype Glu/Asp+Glu/Glu vs Asp/Asp: OR (95% CI) 1.36 (1.04 to 1.78)) but not in Caucasians.
This meta-analysis demonstrated that the DBP polymorphism was moderately associated with increased susceptibility to T2DM in Asians, but a similar association was not found in Caucasians. It suggested that ethnicity might be the potential factor associated with heterogeneity.
PMCID: PMC4225232  PMID: 25371416
10.  3-Hydroxyphthalic Anhydride-Modified Human Serum Albumin as a Microbicide Candidate Against HIV Type 1 Entry by Targeting Both Viral Envelope Glycoprotein gp120 and Cellular Receptor CD4 
AIDS Research and Human Retroviruses  2013;29(11):1455-1464.
We previously reported that 3-hydroxyphthalic anhydride-modified human serum albumin (HP-HSA) as an anti-HIV microbicide could potently inhibit infection by a broad spectrum of HIV-1 strains; however, its mechanism of action is still elusive. Here, we aimed to identify the target(s) of HP-HSA. HIV-1 envelope glycoprotein (Env)-mediated cell–cell fusion assays were conducted using noninfectious CHO-WT cells or infectious HIV-1IIIB-infected H9 cells as effector cells and MT-2 as target cells. The cell-to-cell transmission and single-round HIV-1 infection assays were performed by measuring luciferase activity. Binding of HP-HSA to CD4 or gp120 was determined by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) and flow cytometry, while binding of HP-HSA to the coreceptor CXCR4 or CCR5 was detected by cell-based ELISA. HP-HSA strongly inhibited HIV-1 Env-mediated cell–cell fusion and blocked infection by HIV-1 pseudoviruses bearing Env of HIV-1HXB2 (X4 strain) or HIV-1SF162 (R5 strain). HP-HSA was also effective in blocking HIV-1BaL transmission from infected to uninfected cells. HP-HSA could strongly bind to HIV-1 Env gp120 and cellular receptor CD4. These results suggest that HP-HSA inhibits HIV-1 entry into the target cell by interacting with viral Env gp120 and/or the cellular CD4 receptor, making it a promising microbicide candidate for preventing HIV-1 sexual transmission.
PMCID: PMC3809378  PMID: 23711095
11.  Characterization of CaHsp70-1, a Pepper Heat-Shock Protein Gene in Response to Heat Stress and Some Regulation Exogenous Substances in Capsicum annuum L. 
Pepper (Capsicum annuum L.) is sensitive to heat stress (HS). Heat shock proteins 70 (Hsp70s) play a crucial role in protecting plant cells against HS and control varies characters in different plants. However, CaHsp70-1 gene was not well characterized in pepper. In this study, CaHsp70-1 was cloned from the pepper thermotolerant line R9, which encoded a protein of 652 amino acids, with a molecular weight of 71.54 kDa and an isoelectric point of 5.20. CaHsp70-1 belongs to the cytosolic Hsp70 subgroup, and best matched with tomato SlHsp70. CaHsp70-1 was highly induced in root, stem, leaf and flower in R9 with HS treatment (40 °C for 2 h). In both thermosensitive line B6 and thermotolerant line R9, CaHsp70-1 significantly increased after 0.5 h of HS (40 °C), and maintained in a higher level after 4 h HS. The expression of CaHsp70-1 induced by CaCl2, H2O2 and putrescine (Put) under HS were difference between B6 and R9 lines. The different expression patterns may be related to the differences in promoters of CaHsp70-1 from the two lines. These results suggest that CaHsp70-1 as a member of cytosolic Hsp70 subgroup, may be involved in HS defense response via a signal transduction pathway contained Ca2+, H2O2 and Put.
PMCID: PMC4264136  PMID: 25356507
Capsicum annuum L.; CaHsp70-1; heat stress; gene expression
12.  Detection of a novel avian influenza A (H7N9) virus in humans by multiplex one-step real-time RT-PCR assay 
BMC Infectious Diseases  2014;14(1):541.
A novel avian influenza A (H7N9) virus emerged in eastern China in February 2013. 413 confirmed human cases, including 157 deaths, have been recorded as of July 31, 2014.
Clinical specimens, including throat swabs, sputum or tracheal aspirates, etc., were obtained from patients exhibiting influenza-like illness (ILIs), especially from those having pneumonia and a history of occupational exposure to poultry and wild birds. RNA was extracted from these samples and a multiplex one-step real-time RT-PCR assay was developed to specifically detect the influenza A virus (FluA). PCR primers targeted the conserved M and Rnase P (RP) genes, as well as the hemagglutinin and neuraminidase genes of the H7N9 virus.
The multiplex assay specifically detected the avian H7N9 virus, and no cross-reaction with other common respiratory pathogens was observed. The detection limit of the assay was approximately 0.05 50% tissue culture infective doses (TCID50), or 100 copies per reaction. Positive detection of the H7N9 virus in sputum/tracheal aspirates was higher than in throat swabs during the surveillance of patients with ILIs. Additionally, detection of the matrix (M) and Rnase P genes aided in the determination of the novel avian H7N9 virus and ensured the quality of the clinical samples.
These results demonstrate that the multiplex assay detected the novel avian H7N9 virus with high specificity and sensitivity, which is essential for the early diagnosis and treatment of infected patients.
PMCID: PMC4286936  PMID: 25298249
Avian influenza; H7N9; Detection; Rnase P; Multiplex real-time RT-PCR
13.  Aberrantly expressed long noncoding RNAs in human intervertebral disc degeneration: a microarray related study 
In addition to the well-known short noncoding RNAs such as microRNAs (miRNAs), increasing evidence suggests that long noncoding RNAs (lncRNAs) act as key regulators in a wide aspect of biologic processes. Dysregulated expression of lncRNAs has been demonstrated being implicated in a variety of human diseases. However, little is known regarding the role of lncRNAs with regards to intervertebral disc degeneration (IDD). In the present study we aimed to determine whether lncRNAs are differentially expressed in IDD.
An lncRNA-mRNA microarray analysis of human nucleus pulposus (NP) was employed. Bioinformatics prediction was also applied to delineate the functional roles of the differentially expressed lncRNAs. Several lncRNAs and mRNAs were chosen for quantitative real-time PCR (qRT-PCR) validation.
Microarray data profiling indicated that 116 lncRNAs (67 up and 49 down) and 260 mRNAs were highly differentially expressed with an absolute fold change greater than ten. Moreover, 1,052 lncRNAs and 1,314 mRNAs were differentially expressed in the same direction in at least four of the five degenerative samples with fold change greater than two. Kyoto Encyclopedia of Genes and Genomes (KEGG) pathway analysis for the differentially expressed mRNAs indicated a number of pathways, such as extracellular matrix (ECM)-receptor interaction. A coding-noncoding gene co-expression (CNC) network was constructed for the ten most significantly changed lncRNAs. Annotation terms of the coexpressed mRNAs were related to several known degenerative alterations, such as chondrocyte differentiation. Moreover, lncRNAs belonging to a particular subgroup were identified. Functional annotation for the corresponding nearby coding genes showed that these lncRNAs were mainly associated with cell migration and phosphorylation. Interestingly, we found that Fas-associated protein factor-1 (FAF1), which potentiates the Fas-mediated apoptosis and its nearby enhancer-like lncRNA RP11-296A18.3, were highly expressed in the degenerative discs. Subsequent qRT-PCR results confirmed the changes.
This is the first study to demonstrate that aberrantly expressed lncRNAs play a role in the development of IDD. Our study noted that up-regulated RP11-296A18.3 highly likely induced the over-expression of FAF1, which eventually promoted the aberrant apoptosis of disc cells. Such findings further broaden the understanding of the etiology of IDD.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s13075-014-0465-5) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC4201740  PMID: 25280944
14.  Whole exome sequencing reveals minimal differences between cell line and whole blood derived DNA 
Genomics  2013;102(4):10.1016/j.ygeno.2013.05.005.
Two common sources of DNA for whole exome sequencing (WES) are whole blood (WB) and immortalized lymphoblastoid cell line (LCL). However, it is possible that LCLs have a substantially higher rate of mutation than WB, causing concern for their use in sequencing studies. We compared results from paired WB and LCL DNA samples for 16 subjects, using LCLs of low passage number (<5). Using a standard analysis pipeline we detected a large number of discordant genotype calls (approximately 50 per subject) that we segregated into categories of “confidence” based on read-level quality metrics. From these categories and validation by Sanger sequencing, we estimate that the vast majority of the candidate differences were false positives and that our categories were effective in predicting valid sequence differences, including LCLs with putative mosaicism for the non-reference allele (3–4 per exome). These results validate the use of DNA from LCLs of low passage number for exome sequencing.
PMCID: PMC3812417  PMID: 23743231
graphical diagnostics; lymphoblastoid cell line; mosaicism; sequence variant call; strand bias; somatic mutation
15.  The Over-Expression of Two Transcription Factors, ABS5/bHLH30 and ABS7/MYB101, Leads to Upwardly Curly Leaves 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(9):e107637.
Proper leaf development is essential for plant growth and development, and leaf morphogenesis is under the control of intricate networks of genetic and environmental cues. We are interested in dissecting these regulatory circuits genetically and report here the isolation of two Arabidopsis dominant mutants, abnormal shoot5-1D (abs5-1D) and abs7-1D identified through activation tagging screens. Both abs5-1D and abs7-1D display an intriguing upwardly curly leaf phenotype. Molecular cloning showed that the elevated expression of a bHLH transcription factor ABS5/T5L1/bHLH30 or a MYB transcription factor ABS7/MYB101 is the cause for the abnormal leaf phenotypes found in abs5-1D or abs7-1D, respectively. Protoplast transient expression assays confirmed that both ABS5/T5L1 and ABS7/MYB101 are targeted to the nucleus. Interestingly, the expression domains of auxin response reporter DR5::GUS were abnormal in leaves of abs5-1D and ABS5/T5L1 over-expression lines. Moreover, cotyledon venation analysis showed that more areoles and free-ending veins are formed in abs5-1D. We found that the epidermis-specific expressions of ABS5/T5L1 or ABS7/MYB101 driven by the Arabidopsis Meristem Layer 1 promoter (PAtML1) were sufficient to recapitulate the curly leaf phenotype of abs5-1D or abs7-1D. In addition, PAtML1::ABS5 lines exhibited similar changes in DR5::GUS expression patterns as those found in 35S-driven ABS5/T5L1 over-expression lines. Our work demonstrated that enhanced expressions of two transcription factors, ABS5/T5L1 and ABS7/MYB101, are able to alter leaf lamina development and reinforce the notion that leaf epidermis plays critical roles in regulating plant organ morphogenesis.
PMCID: PMC4182325  PMID: 25268707
16.  Influence of Reducing Agents on Biosafety and Biocompatibility of Gold Nanoparticles 
Applied Biochemistry and Biotechnology  2014;174(7):2458-2470.
Extensive biomedical applications of nanoparticles are mainly determined by their safety and compatibility in biological systems. The aim of this study was to compare the biosafety and biocompatibility of gold nanoparticles (GNPs) prepared with HEPES buffer, which is popular for cell culture, and sodium citrate, a frequent reducing agent. From experimental results on the body weight and organ coefficients of acute oral toxicity tests, it could be observed that HEPES-prepared GNPs are biologically safer than citric-prepared GNPs at the same dose of 500 μg/kg. The in vitro cell viability was higher for HEPES-prepared GNPs than citric-prepared GNPs at 5.0- and 10.0-ug/mL concentrations. More reactive oxygen species (ROS) were generated in the cell suspension when supplemented with citric-prepared GNPs than HEPES-prepared GNPs when their concentrations were higher than 20 μg/mL. The results stated that HEPES-prepared GNPs had better biosafety and biocompatibility than citric-prepared GNPs. This study not only revealed the influence of reducing agent on biosafety and biocompatibility of nanomaterials but also provided accumulative evidence for nanomaterials in biomedical applications.
Graphical AbstractSpherical HEPES-prepared GNPs were prepared, and their biocompatibility and biosafety were compared with those of citrate-prepared GNPs under in vitro and in vivo conditions. Experimental results indicated that HEPES-prepared GNPs had better biosafety and biocompatibility than citric-prepared GNPs. This study indicated that the choice of the reducing agent could be a key factor for the improvement of biological responses of nanoparticles.
PMCID: PMC4237916  PMID: 25267352
Biosafety; Biocompatibility; Gold nanoparticles; Reducing agent; HEPES
17.  Association between B Vitamins Supplementation and Risk of Cardiovascular Outcomes: A Cumulative Meta-Analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(9):e107060.
Observational studies suggest that B vitamin supplementation reduces cardiovascular risk in adults, but this association remains controversial. This study aimed to summarize the evidence from randomized controlled trials (RCTs) investigating B vitamin supplementation for the primary or secondary prevention of major adverse cardiovascular outcomes and to perform a cumulative meta-analysis to determine the evidence base.
Methodology and Principal Findings
In April 2013, we searched PubMed, Embase, and the Cochrane Library to identify relevant RCTs. We included RCTs investigating the effect of B vitamin supplementation on cardiovascular outcome. Relative risk (RR) was used to measure the effect using a random-effect model. Statistical heterogeneity scores were assessed using the Q statistic. We included data on 57,952 individuals from 24 RCTs: 12 primary prevention trials and 12 secondary prevention trials. In 23 of these trials, 10,917 major adverse cardiovascular events (MACE) occurred; in 20 trials, 7,203 deaths occurred; in 15 trials, 3,422 cardiac deaths occurred; in 19 trials, 3,623 myocardial infarctions (MI) occurred; and in 18 trials, 2,465 strokes occurred. B vitamin supplementation had little or no effect on the incidence of MACE (RR, 0.98; 95% confidence interval [CI]: 0.93–1.03; P = 0.37), total mortality (RR, 1.01; 95% CI: 0.97–1.05; P = 0.77), cardiac death (RR, 0.96; 95% CI: 0.90–1.02; P = 0.21), MI (RR, 0.99; 95% CI: 0.93–1.06; P = 0.82), or stroke (RR, 0.94; 95% CI: 0.85–1.03; P = 0.18).
B vitamin supplementation, when used for primary or secondary prevention, is not associated with a reduction in MACE, total mortality, cardiac death, MI, or stroke.
PMCID: PMC4169527  PMID: 25238614
18.  Histone H3 Lysine 36 Methyltransferase Whsc1 Promotes the Association of Runx2 and p300 in the Activation of Bone-Related Genes 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(9):e106661.
The orchestration of histone modifiers is required to establish the epigenomic status that regulates gene expression during development. Whsc1 (Wolf-Hirschhorn Syndrome candidate 1), a histone H3 lysine 36 (H3K36) trimethyltransferase, is one of the major genes associated with Wolf-Hirshhorn syndrome, which is characterized by skeletal abnormalities. However, the role of Whsc1 in skeletal development remains unclear. Here, we show that Whsc1 regulates gene expression through Runt-related transcription factor (Runx) 2, a transcription factor central to bone development, and p300, a histone acetyltransferase, to promote bone differentiation. Whsc1−/− embryos exhibited defects in ossification in the occipital bone and sternum. Whsc1 knockdown in pre-osteoblast cells perturbed histone modification patterns in bone-related genes and led to defects in bone differentiation. Whsc1 increased the association of p300 with Runx2, activating the bone-related genes Osteopontin (Opn) and Collagen type Ia (Col1a1), and Whsc1 suppressed the overactivation of these genes via H3K36 trimethylation. Our results suggest that Whsc1 fine-tunes the expression of bone-related genes by acting as a modulator in balancing H3K36 trimethylation and histone acetylation. Our results provide novel insight into the mechanisms by which this histone methyltransferase regulates gene expression.
PMCID: PMC4154728  PMID: 25188294
19.  Effect and safety of dual anti-human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 therapy compared to monotherapy in patients with human epidermal growth factor receptor 2-positive breast cancer: a systematic review 
BMC Cancer  2014;14(1):625.
Dual anti-human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2) therapies have been shown to improve outcomes of HER2-positive breast cancer patients. We undertook a systematic review to compare treatment outcomes for patients who received single or combined anti-HER2 therapies.
We identified randomized control trials that compared dual anti-HER2 therapy and anti-HER2 monotherapy in patients with HER2-positive breast cancer. Outcomes included pathologic complete response (pCR), overall survival (OS), progression-free survival (PFS), and adverse events. Included in the analysis were seven trials that recruited 2,609 patients.
In the neoadjuvant setting, the pooled pCR rate in the dual anti-HER2 therapy and monotherapy groups in combination with chemotherapy was 54.8% and 36%, respectively. This difference was statistically significant (relative risk, 1.56; 95% confidence interval (CI), 1.23–1.97; p < 0.001). In the metastatic setting, dual anti-HER2 therapy demonstrated significant benefits in both PFS (hazard ratio (HR), 0.71; 95% CI, 0.62–0.81; p < 0.001) and OS (HR, 0.68; 95% CI, 0.57–0.82; p < 0.001). Subgroup analyses indicated that the addition of chemotherapy to dual anti-HER2 therapy could greatly improve pCR in the neoadjuvant settings. However, in the metastatic setting, similar PFS and OS were found in patients receiving dual anti-HER2 therapy with or without chemotherapy. Dual anti-HER2 therapy was associated with more frequent adverse events than monotherapy, but no statistical differences were observed in cardiac toxicity.
This systematic review provides a summary of all the data currently available, and confirms the benefits and risks of dual anti-HER2 therapy for HER2-positive breast cancer.
PMCID: PMC4161893  PMID: 25164542
anti-HER2 therapy; HER2-positive breast cancer; Systematic review
20.  Identification of a novel structure in heparin generated by potassium permanganate oxidation 
Carbohydrate polymers  2010;82(3):699-705.
The worldwide heparin contamination crisis in 2008 led health authorities to take fundamental steps to better control heparin manufacture, including implementing appropriate analytical and bio-analytical methods to ensure production and release of high quality heparin sodium product. Consequently, there is an increased interest in the identification and structural elucidation of unusually modified structures that may be present in heparin. Our study focuses on the structural elucidation of species that give rise to a signal observed at 2.10 ppm in the N-acetyl region of the 1H NMR spectrum of some pharmaceutical grade heparin preparations. Structural elucidation experiments were carried out using homonuclear (COSY, TOSCY and NOESY) and heteronuclear (HSQC, HSQC-DEPT, HMQC-COSY, HSQC-TOCSY, and HMBC) 2D NMR spectroscopy on both heparin as well as heparin-like model compounds. Our results identify a novel type of oxidative modification of the heparin chain that results from a specific step in the manufacturing process used to prepare heparin.
PMCID: PMC4138061  PMID: 25147414
1H NMR; Heparin; Oxidation; Permanganate; Reducing end; N-Acetylglucosamine; HSQC
21.  Association Between Retinal Nerve Fiber Layer Thickness and Abnormalities of Vision in People With Human Immunodeficiency Virus Infection 
American journal of ophthalmology  2012;153(4):734-742.e1.
To investigate relationships between contrast sensitivity (CS), color vision, and retinal nerve fiber layer (RNFL) among people with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection; to evaluate the effect of time since diagnosis of HIV infection on RNFL thickness.
Noninterventional cross-sectional study.
We evaluated 102 eyes of 57 HIV-infected individuals without ocular opportunistic infections. Peripapillary RNFL thickness was determined with spectraldomain optical coherence tomography in 4 quadrants. CS was measured with the Pelli-Robson technique (expressed as logCS); color vision was measured with the Lanthony desaturated 15-hue technique (expressed as color confusion index [C-index], with higher scores indicating worse color vision). Correlations between values were assessed using Spearman correlation coefficients.
Median RNFL thickness (average of 4 quadrants) was 102.9 μm (range, 75.0–134.7 μm). Median logCS was 1.90 (range, 1.25–1.95). Median C-index was 1.58 (range, 0.96–4.07). Temporal RNFL thickness was correlated with logCS (r = 0.295, P = .003) and C-index (r = −0.338, P = .0005). Time since diagnosis of HIV infection was shorter for those with thick average RNFL than for those with thin average RNFL (P = .18).
Both worse CS and worse color vision are correlated with thinning of the temporal RNFL, with possible threshold effects. Increased prevalences of abnormal CS and abnormal color vision in this population are therefore likely attributable to neuroretinal compromise. This pattern of structural and functional losses may reflect preferential damage to small-caliber axons in the maculopapillary bundle, possibly associated with mitochondrial dysfunction, providing a potential disease mechanism for HIV-associated “neuroretinal disorder.”
PMCID: PMC4121665  PMID: 22245459
22.  Atrial Fibrillation Pacing Decreases Intravascular Shear Stress in a New Zealand White Rabbit Model: Implications in Endothelial Function 
Atrial fibrillation (AF) is characterized by multiple rapid and irregular atrial depolarization leading to rapid ventricular responses exceeding 100 beats per minute (bpm). We hypothesized that rapid and irregular pacing reduced intravascular shear stress (ISS) with implication to modulating endothelial responses. To simulate AF, we paced the left atrial appendage of New Zealand White (NZW) rabbits (n=4) at rapid and irregular intervals. Surface electrical cardiograms (ECG) were recorded for atrial and ventricular rhythm, and intravascular convective heat transfer was measured by micro thermal sensors, from which ISS was inferred. Rapid and irregular pacing decreased arterial systolic and diastolic pressures (baseline: 99/75 mmHg; rapid regular pacing: 92/73; rapid irregular pacing: 90/68; P < 0.001, n=4), temporal gradients (∂τ/∂t from 1275 ± 80 to 1056 ± 180 dyne/cm2·s), and reduced ISS (from baseline at 32.0 ± 2.4 to 22.7 ± 3.5 dyne/cm2). Computational fluid dynamics (CFD) code demonstrated that experimentally inferred ISS provided a close approximation to the computed wall shear stress (WSS) at a given catheter to vessel diameter ratio, shear stress range, and catheter position. In an in vitro flow system in which time-averaged shear stress was maintained at τavg=23 ±4 dyn·cm−2·s−1, we further demonstrated that rapid pulse rates at 150 bpm down-regulated endothelial nitric oxide (NO), promoted superoxide (O2·−) production, and increased monocyte binding to endothelial cells. These findings suggest that rapid pacing reduces ISS and ∂τ/∂t, and rapid pulse rates modulate endothelial responses.
PMCID: PMC3548016  PMID: 22983703
Atrial Fibrillation; Shear Stress; Endothelial Cells; NO; ROS; Monocyte Binding
23.  Novel Compound Heterozygous Mutations in MYO7A Associated with Usher Syndrome 1 in a Chinese Family 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(7):e103415.
Usher syndrome is an autosomal recessive disease characterized by sensorineural hearing loss, age-dependent retinitis pigmentosa (RP), and occasionally vestibular dysfunction. The most severe form is Usher syndrome type 1 (USH1). Mutations in the MYO7A gene are responsible for USH1 and account for 29–55% of USH1 cases. Here, we characterized a Chinese family (no. 7162) with USH1. Combining the targeted capture of 131 known deafness genes, next-generation sequencing, and bioinformatic analysis, we identified two deleterious compound heterozygous mutations in the MYO7A gene: a reported missense mutation c.73G>A (p.G25R) and a novel nonsense mutation c.462C>A (p.C154X). The two compound variants are absent in 219 ethnicity-matched controls, co-segregates with the USH clinical phenotypes, including hearing loss, vestibular dysfunction, and age-dependent penetrance of progressive RP, in family 7162. Therefore, we concluded that the USH1 in this family was caused by compound heterozygous mutations in MYO7A.
PMCID: PMC4117490  PMID: 25080338
24.  Validation of a Janus role of methotrexate-based PEGylated chitosan nanoparticles in vitro 
Nanoscale Research Letters  2014;9(1):363.
Recently, methotrexate (MTX) has been used to target to folate (FA) receptor-overexpressing cancer cells for targeted drug delivery. However, the systematic evaluation of MTX as a Janus-like agent has not been reported before. Here, we explored the validity of using MTX playing an early-phase cancer-specific targeting ligand cooperated with a late-phase therapeutic anticancer agent based on the PEGylated chitosan (CS) nanoparticles (NPs) as drug carriers. Some advantages of these nanoscaled drug delivery systems are as follows: (1) the NPs can ensure minimal premature release of MTX at off-target site to reduce the side effects to normal tissue; (2) MTX can function as a targeting ligand at target site prior to cellular uptake; and (3) once internalized by the target cell, the NPs can function as a prodrug formulation, releasing biologically active MTX inside the cells. The (MTX + PEG)-CS-NPs presented a sustained/proteases-mediated drug release. More importantly, compared with the PEG-CS-NPs and (FA + PEG)-CS-NPs, the (MTX + PEG)-CS-NPs showed a greater cellular uptake. Furthermore, the (MTX + PEG)-CS-NPs demonstrated a superior cytotoxicity compare to the free MTX. Our findings therefore validated that the MTX-loaded PEGylated CS-NPs can simultaneously target and treat FA receptor-overexpressing cancer cells.
PMCID: PMC4118220  PMID: 25114653
Methotrexate; Chitosan; Drug delivery system; Tumor; Nanoparticles
25.  The dark phase intraocular pressure elevation and retinal ganglion cell degeneration in a rat model of experimental glaucoma☆ 
Experimental eye research  2013;112:21-28.
Intraocular pressure (IOP) elevation is considered as a major risk factor causing the progression of vision deterioration in glaucoma. Although it is known that the IOP level changes widely throughout the day and night, how the dark or light phase IOP elevation contributes to retinal ganglion cell (RGC) degeneration is still largely unclear. To examine the profile of IOP, modified laser photocoagulation was applied to the trabecular meshwork of Brown Norway rats and both light and dark phase IOPs were monitored approximately 1–2 times a week. The relationship between IOP elevation and RGC degeneration was investigated while RGC body loss was analyzed with Rbpms immunolabeling on retinal wholemount and axonal injury in the optic nerve was semi-quantified. The baseline awake dark and light IOPs were 30.4 ± 2.7 and 20.2 ± 2.1 mmHg respectively. The average dark IOP was increased to 38.2 ± 3.2 mmHg for five weeks after the laser treatment on 270° trabecular meshwork. However, there was no significant loss of RGC body and axonal injury. After laser treatment on 330° trabecular meshwork, the dark and light IOPs were significantly increased to 43.8 ± 4.6 and 23 ± 3.7 mmHg respectively for 5 weeks. The cumulative dark and light IOP elevations were 277 ± 86 and 113 ± 50 mmHg days respectively while the cumulative total (light and dark) IOP elevation was 213 ± 114 mmHg days. After 5 weeks, regional RGC body loss of 29.5 ± 15.5% and moderate axonal injury were observed. Axonal injury and loss of RGC body had a high correlation with the cumulative total IOP elevation (R2 = 0.60 and 0.65 respectively). There was an association between the cumulative dark IOP elevation and RGC body loss (R2 = 0.37) and axonal injury (R2 = 0.51) whereas the associations between neuronal damages and the cumulative light IOP elevation were weak (for RGC body loss, R2 = 0.01; for axonal injury, R2 = 0.26). Simple linear regression model analysis showed statistical significance for the relationships between the total cumulative IOP elevation and RGC body loss (P = 0.009), and axonal injury (P = 0.016). To examine the role of light and dark IOP elevation in RGC body loss and axonal injury, analyses for the association between different light/dark IOP factors and percentage of RGC body loss/axonal injury grading were performed and only the association between the cumulative dark IOP elevation and axonal injury showed statistical significance (P = 0.033). The findings demonstrated that the cumulative total (light and dark) IOP elevation is a risk factor to RGC degeneration in a rat model of experimental glaucoma using modified partial laser photocoagulation at 330° trabecular meshwork. Further investigations are required to understand the role of longer term light and dark phase IOP elevation contributing to the progression of degeneration in different compartments of RGCs.
PMCID: PMC3752778  PMID: 23603611
glaucoma; intraocular pressure; retinal ganglion cell; optic nerve; axonal injury; photocoagulation; rat

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