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1.  Aluminium tolerance in rice is antagonistic with nitrate preference and synergistic with ammonium preference 
Annals of Botany  2012;111(1):69-77.
Background and Aims
Acidic soils are dominated chemically by more ammonium and more available, so more potentially toxic, aluminium compared with neutral to calcareous soils, which are characterized by more nitrate and less available, so less toxic, aluminium. However, it is not known whether aluminium tolerance and nitrogen source preference are linked in plants.
Methods
This question was investigated by comparing the responses of 30 rice (Oryza sativa) varieties (15 subsp. japonica cultivars and 15 subsp. indica cultivars) to aluminium, various ammonium/nitrate ratios and their combinations under acidic solution conditions.
Key Results
indica rice plants were generally found to be aluminium-sensitive and nitrate-preferring, while japonica cultivars were aluminium-tolerant and relatively ammonium-preferring. Aluminium tolerance of different rice varieties was significantly negatively correlated with their nitrate preference. Furthermore, aluminium enhanced ammonium-fed rice growth but inhibited nitrate-fed rice growth.
Conclusions
The results suggest that aluminium tolerance in rice is antagonistic with nitrate preference and synergistic with ammonium preference under acidic solution conditions. A schematic diagram summarizing the interactions of aluminium and nitrogen in soil–plant ecosystems is presented and provides a new basis for the integrated management of acidic soils.
doi:10.1093/aob/mcs234
PMCID: PMC3523647  PMID: 23118122
Aluminium; ammonium; correlation; Indica; Japonica; nitrate; rice
2.  Bat Lyssaviruses, Northern Vietnam 
Emerging Infectious Diseases  2014;20(1):161-163.
doi:10.3201/eid2001.130813
PMCID: PMC3884725  PMID: 24377728
bats; rabies; lyssaviruses; viruses; serology; Vietnam
3.  Pulmonary tumors associated with the JC virus T-antigen in a transgenic mouse model 
Oncology Reports  2013;30(6):2603-2608.
Many attempts to demonstrate the oncogenic role of the JC virus (JCV) have been partially successful in producing brain tumors, either by direct inoculation of JCV into the brain or in transgenic models in rodents. We previously reported the presence of JCV DNA with a relatively high incidence in pulmonary and digestive organs. However, we could not prove the oncogenic role of JCV. We prepared a transgene composed of the K19 promoter, specific to bronchial epithelium with the JCV T-antigen and established transgenic (TG) mice. Pulmonary tumors were detected without any metastasis in 2 out of 15 (13.3%) 16-month-old K19/JCV T-antigen TG mice. Using immunohistochemistry (IHC), these tumors showed JCV T-antigen, p53 and CK 19 expression, but not expression of nuclear and cytoplasmic β-catenin and insulin receptor substrate 1 (IRS1). IHC revealed the same expression pattern as in the bronchial epithelium of the TG mice. One tumor, which was examined with laser capture microdissection and molecular biological tools, demonstrated an EGFR mutation but not a K-ras mutation. We propose that the pulmonary tumors were derived from the JCV T-antigen in a TG mouse model. These findings shed light on pulmonary carcinogenesis.
doi:10.3892/or.2013.2782
PMCID: PMC3839992  PMID: 24100939
JC virus; T-antigen; pulmonary tumors; transgenic mice
5.  Genetic Diversity and Geographic Distribution of Genetically Distinct Rabies Viruses in the Philippines 
Background
Rabies continues to be a major public health problem in the Philippines, where 200–300 human cases were reported annually between 2001 and 2011. Understanding the phylogeography of rabies viruses is important for establishing a more effective and feasible control strategy.
Methods
We performed a molecular analysis of rabies viruses in the Philippines using rabied animal brain samples. The samples were collected from 11 of 17 regions, which covered three island groups (Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao). Partial nucleoprotein (N) gene sequencing was performed on 57 samples and complete glycoprotein (G) gene sequencing was performed on 235 samples collected between 2004 and 2010.
Results
The Philippine strains of rabies viruses were included in a distinct phylogenetic cluster, previously named Asian 2b, which appeared to have diverged from the Chinese strain named Asian 2a. The Philippine strains were further divided into three major clades, which were found exclusively in different island groups: clades L, V, and M in Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao, respectively. Clade L was subdivided into nine subclades (L1–L9) and clade V was subdivided into two subclades (V1 and V2). With a few exceptions, most strains in each subclade were distributed in specific geographic areas. There were also four strains that were divided into two genogroups but were not classified into any of the three major clades, and all four strains were found in the island group of Luzon.
Conclusion
We detected three major clades and two distinct genogroups of rabies viruses in the Philippines. Our data suggest that viruses of each clade and subclade evolved independently in each area without frequent introduction into other areas. An important implication of these data is that geographically targeted dog vaccination using the island group approach may effectively control rabies in the Philippines.
Author Summary
Rabies continues to be a major public health problem in the Philippines. We conducted a molecular epidemiological study of rabies using the complete glycoprotein (G) gene from 235 animal brain samples collected in the Philippines between 2004 and 2010. We identified three major clades and two distinct genogroups in the Philippines. The three major clades L, V, and M were found specifically in the Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao island groups, respectively. Additionally, two minor genogroups were located in the Luzon island group. These data suggest that although human mediated transmission may have occurred, these virus clades evolved independently after a single introduction into each island group. All of the analyzed Philippine strains were clustered into Asian 2b, which diverged from the Chinese strain Asian 2a. No recent introduction of rabies into the Philippines from other countries was apparent. The elimination of rabies by 2020 is a national goal in the Philippines, necessitating urgent development of a more effective and feasible strategy for controlling rabies. Our findings indicate that a geographically targeted dog vaccination campaign may effectively control rabies in island nations such as the Philippines.
doi:10.1371/journal.pntd.0002144
PMCID: PMC3617229  PMID: 23593515
6.  Altered specificity of single-chain antibody fragments bound to pandemic H1N1-2009 influenza virus after conversion of the phage-bound to the soluble form 
BMC Research Notes  2012;5:483.
Background
In 2009, a novel influenza A/H1N1 virus (H1N1pdm) quickly spread worldwide and co-circulated with then-existing seasonal H1N1 virus (sH1N1). Distinguishing between these 2 viruses was necessary to better characterize the epidemiological properties of the emergent virus, including transmission patterns, pathogenesis, and anti-influenza drug resistance. This situation prompted us to develop a point-of-care virus differentiation system before entering the 2009–2010 influenza season. Aiming to establish H1N1pdm-specific detection tools rapidly, we employed phage display libraries to select H1N1pdm-specific single-chain variable fragments (scFvs).
Findings
Human single-fold scFv libraries (Tomlinson I + J) underwent selection for the ability to bind H1N1pdm virus particles. Three rounds of panning brought 1152 phage-bound scFvs, of which 58 clones reacted with H1N1pdm specifically or preferentially over sH1N1 in an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA). After conversion of the scFvs to soluble form, 7 clones demonstrating high/stable expression were finally obtained. However, all the soluble scFvs except No. 29 were found to have lost their specificity/preference for H1N1pdm in ELISA. The specificity/preference of No. 29 was also confirmed by immunofluorescence assay and immunoprecipitation, and the viral nucleoprotein was identified by ELISA as its target protein. The change in specificity associated with scFv conversion from phage-bound to soluble form could be due to loss of phage scaffold pIII protein, which likely provides structural support for the scFv antigen-binding site. It is also possible that the similar antigenic properties of H1N1pdm and sH1N1 led to the observed alterations in scFv specificity.
Discussion
Using a phage display library, we obtained 7 soluble scFv clones reactive against H1N1pdm; however, only 1 showed specificity/preference toward H1N1pdm. Our results confirmed that using phage display libraries was highly advantageous for the rapid development of molecules to detect target antigens. However, our results also indicated that this strategy might not have been effective for selecting H1N1pdm-specific antibodies during the 2009 pandemic, where the co-circulating sH1N1 virus shared similar antigenic properties. This suggests that it might be advisable to use a synthetic scFv phage display library by strategically considering the characteristics of target antigens and the potential situations.
doi:10.1186/1756-0500-5-483
PMCID: PMC3492028  PMID: 22943792
Influenza; Pandemic; Diagnosis; Single-chain variable fragment (scFv); Altered specificity
7.  Adult onset cardiac dilatation in a transgenic mouse line with Galβ1,3GalNAc α2,3-sialyltransferase II (ST3Gal-II) transgenes: a new model for dilated cardiomyopathy 
Sugar chain abnormalities in glycolipids and glycoproteins are associated with various diseases. Here, we report an adult onset cardiac dilatation in a transgenic mouse line with Galβ1,3GalNAc α2,3-sialyltransferase II (ST3Gal-II) transgenes. The transgenic hearts at the end-stage, at around 7 months old, were enlarged, with enlarged cavities and thin, low-tensile walls, typical of dilated cardiomyopathy. Although no apparent change was found in heart gangliosides, glycosylation of heart proteins was altered. Interestingly, sugar moieties not directly related to the ST3Gal-II catalytic reaction were also changed. Significant increases in calreticulin and calnexin were observed in hearts of the transgenic mice. These results suggest that expression of ST3Gal-II transgenes induces abnormal protein glycosylation, which disorganizes the endoplasmic/sarcoplasmic reticulum quality control system and elevates the calreticulin/calnexin level, resulting in suppression of cardiac function. The transgenic mice showed 100% incidence of adult onset cardiac dilatation, suggesting great potential as a new model for dilated cardiomyopathy.
doi:10.2183/pjab.87.550
PMCID: PMC3313694  PMID: 21986317
ST3Gal-II; cardiac dilatation; calreticulin; calnexin; cardiomyopathy; ER stress

Results 1-7 (7)