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1.  Turning a Scorpion Toxin into an Antitumor Miniprotein 
Journal of the American Chemical Society  2008;130(41):10.1021/ja8042036.
PMCID: PMC3810402  PMID: 18798622
2.  Latrunculin A Treatment Prevents Abnormal Chromosome Segregation for Successful Development of Cloned Embryos 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(10):e78380.
Somatic cell nuclear transfer to an enucleated oocyte is used for reprogramming somatic cells with the aim of achieving totipotency, but most cloned embryos die in the uterus after transfer. While modifying epigenetic states of cloned embryos can improve their development, the production rate of cloned embryos can also be enhanced by changing other factors. It has already been shown that abnormal chromosome segregation (ACS) is a major cause of the developmental failure of cloned embryos and that Latrunculin A (LatA), an actin polymerization inhibitor, improves F-actin formation and birth rate of cloned embryos. Since F-actin is important for chromosome congression in embryos, here we examined the relation between ACS and F-actin in cloned embryos. Using LatA treatment, the occurrence of ACS decreased significantly whereas cloned embryo-specific epigenetic abnormalities such as dimethylation of histone H3 at lysine 9 (H3K9me2) could not be corrected. In contrast, when H3K9me2 was normalized using the G9a histone methyltransferase inhibitor BIX-01294, the Magea2 gene—essential for normal development but never before expressed in cloned embryos—was expressed. However, this did not increase the cloning success rate. Thus, non-epigenetic factors also play an important role in determining the efficiency of mouse cloning.
PMCID: PMC3813513  PMID: 24205216
3.  OptiVol fluid index predicts acute decompensation of heart failure with a high rate of unexplained events 
Intrathoracic impedance monitoring has emerged as a promising new technique for the detection of impending heart failure (HF). Although false positive episodes have been reported in case reports and clinical trials, the efficacy and false positive rate in real-world practice remain unclear.
The aim of this study is to investigate the utility and reliability of the OptiVol alert feature in clinical practice.
We continuously recruited patients who underwent implantable cardioverter-defibrillator (ICD) or cardiac resynchronization therapy with defibrillator (CRT-D) implantation with feature of intrathoracic impedance monitoring system in our center from Sep. 2010 to Oct. 2012. Regular in-office follow-up were required of all patients and the following information was collected at each visit: medical history, device interrogation, N-terminal pro-brain natriuretic peptide (NT-proBNP) measurement and an echocardiogram. Worsening HF was defined as hospitalization or the presentation of signs or symptoms of HF.
Forty three patients (male: 76.7%, mean age: 57 ± 15 years, left ventricular ejection fraction (LVEF): 33% ± 14%) were included in this observational study. Fifty four alert events and 14 adjudicated worsening HF were detected within 288 ±163 days follow-up. Eleven (20.4%) alert episodes were associated with acute cardiac decompensation in 9 patients with a positive predictive value of 78.6%. Forty three audible alerts showed no connection to worsening HF. The unexplained alerts rate was 79.6% and 1.27 per person-year. Thirty seven alarm alerts were detected in patients with EF < 45%, among which 9 accompanied with HF, 17 alerts detected in patients with LVEF ≥ 45% and 2 associated with HF. There was no significant difference between the two groups (9/37 vs. 2/17; P = 0.47).
Patients with normal or nearly normal left ventricular systolic function also exhibited considerable alert events. The OptiVol fluid index predicted worsening cardiac events with a high unexplained detection rate, and any alert must therefore be analyzed with great caution. Efforts to improve the specificity of this monitoring system represent a significant aspect of future studies.
PMCID: PMC3796699  PMID: 24133513
Heart failure; Intrathoracic impedance measurement; OptiVol fluid index; Left ventricular ejection fraction
4.  Huang Qi Jian Zhong Pellet Attenuates TNBS-Induced Colitis in Rats via Mechanisms Involving Improvement of Energy Metabolism 
Huang Qi Jian Zhong Pellet (HQJZ) is a famous Chinese medicine formula for treatment of various gastrointestinal tract diseases. This study investigated the role of HQJZ in 2,4,6-trinitrobenzene sulfonic acid- (TNBS-) induced colitis and its underlying mechanism. Colonic mucosal injury was induced by TNBS in the Sprague-Dawley rats. In the HQJZ treatment group, HQJZ was administered (2 g/kg) for 14 days starting from day 1 after TNBS infusion. Colonic mucosal injury occurred obviously 1 day after TNBS challenge and did not recover distinctively until day 15, including an increase in macro- and microscopic scores, a colonic weight index, a decrease in colonic length, a number of functional capillaries, and blood flow. Inverted intravital microscopy and ELISA showed colonic microcirculatory disturbances and inflammatory responses after TNBS stimulation, respectively. TNBS decreased occludin, RhoA, and ROCK-I, while increasing Rac-1, PAK-1, and phosphorylated myosin light chain. In addition, ATP content and ATP5D expression in colonic mucosa decreased after TNBS challenge. Impressively, treatment with HQJZ significantly attenuated all of the alterations evoked by TNBS, promoting the recovery of colonic injury. The present study demonstrated HQJZ as a multitargeting management for colonic mucosal injury, which set in motion mechanisms involving improvement of energy metabolism.
PMCID: PMC3690262  PMID: 23840258
5.  Effects of surface wettability and contact time on protein adhesion to biomaterial surfaces 
Biomaterials  2007;28(22):3273-3283.
Atomic force microscopy (AFM) was used to directly measure the adhesion forces between three test proteins and low density polyethylene (LDPE) surfaces treated by glow discharge plasma to yield various levels of water wettability. The adhesion of proteins to the LDPE substrates showed a step dependence on the wettability of surfaces as measured by the water contact angle (θ). For LDPE surfaces with θ > ∼60–65°, stronger adhesion forces were observed for bovine serum albumin, fibrinogen and human FXII than for the surfaces with θ < 60°. Smaller adhesion forces were observed for FXII than for the other two proteins on all surfaces although trends were identical. Increasing the contact time from 0 to 50 s for each protein–surface combination increased the adhesion force regardless of surface wettability. Time varying adhesion data was fit to an exponential model and free energies of protein unfolding were calculated. This data, viewed in light of previously published studies, suggests a 2-step model of protein denaturation, an early stage on the order of seconds to minutes where the outer surface of the protein interacts with the substrate and a second stage involving movement of hydrophobic amino acids from the protein core to the protein/surface interface.
Impact statement
The work described in this manuscript shows a stark transition between protein adherent and protein non-adherent materials in the range of water contact angles 60–65°, consistent with known changes in protein adsorption and activity. Time-dependent changes in adhesion force were used to calculate unfolding energies relating to protein–surface interactions. This analysis provides justification for a 2-step model of protein denaturation on surfaces.
PMCID: PMC3671914  PMID: 17466368
AFM; Protein; Adhesion; Wettability
6.  Imaging receptor for advanced glycation end product expression in mouse model of hind limb ischemia 
EJNMMI Research  2013;3:37.
The purpose of this study is to image the effect of diabetes on expression of receptor for advanced glycation endproducts (RAGE) in limb ischemia in live animals.
Male wild-type C57BL/6 mice were either made diabetic or left as control. Two months later, diabetic and non-diabetic mice underwent left femoral artery ligation. The right leg served as lesion control. Five days later, mice were injected with 15.1 ± 4.4 MBq 99mTc-anti-RAGE F(ab’)2 and 4 to 5 h later (blood pool clearance) underwent SPECT/CT imaging. At the completion of imaging, mice were euthanized, hind limbs counted and sectioned, and scans reconstructed. Regions of interest were drawn on serial transverse sections comprising the hind limbs and activity in millicuries summed and divided by the injected dose (ID). Quantitative histology was performed for RAGE staining and angiogenesis.
Uptake of 99mTc-anti-RAGE F(ab')2 as %ID × 10−3 was higher in the left (ischemic) limbs for the diabetic mice (n = 8) compared to non-diabetic mice (n = 8) (1.20 ± 0.44% vs. 0.49 ± 0.40%; P = 0.0007) and corresponded to less angiogenesis in the diabetic mice. Uptake was also higher in the right limbs of diabetic compared to non-diabetic animals (0.82 ± 0.33% vs. 0.40 ± 0.14%; P = 0.0004).
These data show the feasibility of imaging and quantifying the effect of diabetes on RAGE expression in limb ischemia.
PMCID: PMC3662588  PMID: 23663412
Limb ischemia; Diabetes; RAGE; Molecular imaging; Radionuclides
Journal of biomechanics  2007;40(13):2865-2871.
Mechanical stimulation of osteoblasts by fluid flow promotes a variety of pro-differentiation effects and improving the efficiency of these mechanical signals could encourage specific differentiation pathways. One way this could be accomplished is by altering mechanical properties of osteoblasts. In this study, murine osteoblastic MC3T3-E1 cells were cultured on surfaces covered with nanometer-sized islands to examine the hypothesis that the elastic modulus of osteoblastic cells is affected by nanoscale topography. Nanoislands were produced by polymer demixing of polystyrene and poly(bromostyrene), which leads to a segregated polymer system and formation of nanometer sized topographical features. The elastic modulus of MC3T3-E1 cells was determined using atomic force microscopy in conjunction with the Hertz mathematical model. Osteoblastic cells cultured on nanotopographic surfaces (11-38 nm high islands) had a different distribution of cellular modulus values, e.g., the distribution shifted towards higher modulus values, relative to cells on flat control surfaces. There were also differences in cell modulus distribution between two flat controls as surface chemistry was changed between polystyrene and glass. Taken together, our results demonstrate that both surface nanotopography and chemistry affect the mechanical properties of cells and may provide new methods for altering the response of cells to external mechanical signals.
PMCID: PMC3607429  PMID: 17467715
osteoblast; elastic modulus; nanotopography; atomic force microscopy; Hertz model
8.  Preparation and characterization of flexible nanoliposomes loaded with daptomycin, a novel antibiotic, for topical skin therapy 
The purpose of this study was to investigate flexible nanoliposomes for mediating topical delivery of daptomycin, and to document permeation rates and bacteriostatic activity towards skin infections. Response surface methodology was used to optimize the daptomycin-loaded flexible nanoliposomes (DAP-FL), and the amount of drug loaded into the particles was evaluated as the investigation index. The optimal lipid ratio was lecithin to sodium cholate 17:1 (w/w) and the lipid to drug ratio was 14:1 (w/w). The hydration temperature was set at 37°C and the duration of treatment with ultrasound was 20 minutes. The DAP-FL obtained had a small mean particle size (55.4 nm) with a narrow size distribution (polydispersity index 0.15). The mean entrapment efficiency was 87.85% ± 2.15% and the mean percent drug loading was 5.61% ± 0.14%. Using skin mounted between the donor and receptor compartments of a modified Franz diffusion cell, the percentage and quantity of cumulative daptomycin permeation from DAP-FL within 12 hours were measured at 96.28% ± 0.70% and (132.23 ± 17.73) μg/cm2 *5 = 661.15 ± 88.65 μg/cm2, directly, showing rapid and efficient antibacterial activity against Staphylococcus aureus. Following local administration of DAP-FL, daptomycin was detected in multilayer tissues within the skin and underlying structures in the dorsal skin of the mouse. Effective therapeutic concentrations were maintained for several hours, and significantly inhibited bacterial growth and injury-induced biofilms. These results demonstrate that the DAP-FL can enhance the ability of daptomycin to permeate the skin efficiently, where it has a powerful antibacterial action and activity against biofilms. This novel formulation of daptomycin has potential as a new approach in the clinical application of daptomycin.
PMCID: PMC3615926  PMID: 23569376
daptomycin; liposomes; response surface methodology; biofilm
9.  Tumor-targeted liposomal drug delivery mediated by a diseleno bond-stabilized cyclic peptide 
Peptide ligands have played an important role in tumor-targeted drug delivery as targeting moieties. The in vivo fate of peptide-mediated drug delivery systems and the following antitumor effects may greatly depend on the stability of the peptide ligand. In the current study, a tumor-targeting cyclic peptide screened by phage display, Lyp-1 (a peptide that specifically binds to tumor and endothelial cells of tumor lymphatics in certain tumors), was structurally modified by replacement of the original intramolecular disulfide bond with a diseleno bond. The produced analog Syp-1 (seleno derivative of Lyp-1) maintained specific binding ability to the target protein p32 (Kd = 18.54 nM), which is similar to that of Lyp-1 (Kd = 10.59 nM), indicated by surface plasmon resonance assay. Compared with Lyp-1, Syp-1 showed significantly improved stability against serum. After the peptide attached onto the surface of fluorophore-encapsulating liposomes, the more efficient tumor uptake of liposomal fluorophore mediated by Syp-1 was observed. Furthermore, Syp-1 modified liposomal doxorubicin presented the most potent tumor growth inhibitory ability among all the therapeutic groups, with a low half maximal inhibitory concentration of 588 nM against MDA-MB-435 cells in vitro and a high tumor inhibition rate of 73.5% in vivo. These findings clearly indicated that Syp-1 was a stable and effective tumor targeting ligand and suggest that the sulfur-to-selenium replacement strategy may help stabilize the phage-displayed cyclic peptide containing disulfide-bond under physiological conditions and strongly support the validity of peptide-mediated drug targeting.
PMCID: PMC3598503  PMID: 23515368
tumor targeting; liposome; cyclic peptide; selenopeptide
10.  N-Methyl-D-Aspartate Receptor-Dependent Denitrosylation of Neuronal Nitric Oxide Synthase Increase the Enzyme Activity 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(12):e52788.
Our laboratory once reported that neuronal nitric oxide synthase (nNOS) S-nitrosylation was decreased in rat hippocampus during cerebral ischemia-reperfusion, but the underlying mechanism was unclear. In this study, we show that nNOS activity is dynamically regulated by S-nitrosylation. We found that overexpressed nNOS in HEK293 (human embryonic kidney) cells could be S-nitrosylated by exogenous NO donor GSNO and which is associated with the enzyme activity decrease. Cys331, one of the zinc-tetrathiolate cysteines, was identified as the key site of nNOS S-nitrosylation. In addition, we also found that nNOS is highly S-nitrosylated in resting rat hippocampal neurons and the enzyme undergos denitrosylation during the process of rat brain ischemia/reperfusion. Intrestingly, the process of nNOS denitrosylation is coupling with the decrease of nNOS phosphorylation at Ser847, a site associated with nNOS activation. Further more, we document that nNOS denitrosylation could be suppressed by pretreatment of neurons with MK801, an antagonist of NMDAR, GSNO, EGTA, BAPTA, W-7, an inhibitor of calmodulin as well as TrxR1 antisense oligonucleotide (AS-ODN) respectively. Taken together, our data demonstrate that the denitrosylation of nNOS induced by calcium ion influx is a NMDAR-dependent process during the early stage of ischemia/reperfusion, which is majorly mediated by thioredoxin-1 (Trx1) system. nNOS dephosphorylation may be induced by the enzyme denitrosylation, which suggest that S-nitrosylation/denitrosylation of nNOS may be an important mechanism in regulating the enzyme activity.
PMCID: PMC3532120  PMID: 23285183
11.  Silica-coated flexible liposomes as a nanohybrid delivery system for enhanced oral bioavailability of curcumin 
We investigated flexible liposomes as a potential oral drug delivery system. However, enhanced membrane fluidity and structural deformability may necessitate liposomal surface modification when facing the harsh environment of the gastrointestinal tract. In the present study, silica-coated flexible liposomes loaded with curcumin (CUR-SLs) having poor water solubility as a model drug were prepared by a thin-film method with homogenization, followed by the formation of a silica shell by the sol-gel process. We systematically investigated the physical properties, drug release behavior, pharmacodynamics, and bioavailability of CUR-SLs. CUR-SLs had a mean diameter of 157 nm and a polydispersity index of 0.14, while the apparent entrapment efficiency was 90.62%. Compared with curcumin-loaded flexible liposomes (CUR-FLs) without silica-coatings, CUR-SLs had significantly higher stability against artificial gastric fluid and showed more sustained drug release in artificial intestinal fluid as determined by in vitro release assays. The bioavailability of CUR-SLs and CUR-FLs was 7.76- and 2.35-fold higher, respectively, than that of curcumin suspensions. Silica coating markedly improved the stability of flexible liposomes, and CUR-SLs exhibited a 3.31-fold increase in bioavailability compared with CUR-FLs, indicating that silica-coated flexible liposomes may be employed as a potential carrier to deliver drugs with poor water solubility via the oral route with improved bioavailability.
PMCID: PMC3519006  PMID: 23233804
silica; flexible liposome; oral bioavailability; curcumin
12.  Genome-Wide Expression Analysis in Down Syndrome: Insight into Immunodeficiency 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(11):e49130.
Down syndrome (DS) is caused by triplication of Human chromosome 21 (Hsa21) and associated with an array of deleterious phenotypes, including mental retardation, heart defects and immunodeficiency. Genome-wide expression patterns of uncultured peripheral blood cells are useful to understanding of DS-associated immune dysfunction. We used a Human Exon microarray to characterize gene expression in uncultured peripheral blood cells derived from DS individuals and age-matched controls from two age groups: neonate (N) and child (C). A total of 174 transcript clusters (gene-level) with eight located on Hsa21 in N group and 383 transcript clusters including 56 on Hsa21 in C group were significantly dysregulated in DS individuals. Microarray data were validated by quantitative polymerase chain reaction. Functional analysis revealed that the dysregulated genes in DS were significantly enriched in two and six KEGG pathways in N and C group, respectively. These pathways included leukocyte trans-endothelial migration, B cell receptor signaling pathway and primary immunodeficiency, etc., which causally implicated dysfunctional immunity in DS. Our results provided a comprehensive picture of gene expression patterns in DS at the two developmental stages and pointed towards candidate genes and molecular pathways potentially associated with the immune dysfunction in DS.
PMCID: PMC3498323  PMID: 23155455
13.  IDH2 mutations are frequent in angioimmunoblastic T-cell lymphoma 
Blood  2012;119(8):1901-1903.
Mutations in isocitrate dehydrogenase 1 (IDH1) and isocitrate dehydrogenase 2 (IDH2) occur in most grade 2 and 3 gliomas, secondary glioblastomas, and a subset of acute myelogenous leukemias, but have not been detected in other tumor types. The mutations occur at specific arginine residues, and result in the acquisition of a novel enzymatic activity that converts 2-oxoglutarate to D-2-hydroxyglutarate. This study reports IDH1 and IDH2 genotyping results from a set of lymphomas which included a large set of peripheral T-cell lymphomas (PTCL). IDH2 mutations were identified in approximately 20% of angioimmunoblastic T-cell lymphomas (AITL), but not in other PTCL entities. These results were confirmed in an independent set of AITL patients, where the IDH2 mutation rate was approximately 45%. This is the second common genetic lesion identified in AITL after TET2, and extends the number of neoplastic diseases where IDH1 and IDH2 mutations may play a role.
PMCID: PMC3293643  PMID: 22215888
Aged; Female; Gene Frequency; Genotype; Humans; Immunoblastic Lymphadenopathy; enzymology; genetics; pathology; Isocitrate Dehydrogenase; genetics; Kaplan-Meier Estimate; Lymphoma, T-Cell; enzymology; genetics; pathology; Lymphoma, T-Cell, Peripheral; enzymology; genetics; pathology; Male; Mutation; Mutation Rate; Prognosis
Journal of Cellular Physiology  2011;226(9):2350-2359.
We previously demonstrated that oscillatory fluid flow activates MC3T3-E1 osteoblastic cell calcium signaling pathways via a mechanism involving ATP releases and P2Y2 puringeric receptors. However, the molecular mechanisms by which fluid flow initiates cellular responses are still unclear. Accumulating evidence suggests that lipid rafts, one of the important membrane structural components, may play an important role in transducing extracellular fluid shear stress to intracellular responses. Due to the limitations of current techniques, there is no direct approach to study the role of lipid rafts in transmitting fluid shear stress. In this study, we targeted two important membrane components associated with lipid rafts, cholesterol and glycosylphosphatidylinositol-anchored proteins, to disrupt the integrity of cell membrane structures. We first demonstrated that membrane cholesterol depletion with the treatment of methyl-β-cyclodextrin inhibits oscillatory fluid flow induced intracellular calcium mobilization and ERK1/2 phosphorylation in MC3T3-E1 osteoblastic cells. Secondly, we used a novel approach to decrease the levels of glycosylphosphatidylinositol-anchored proteins on cell membranes by overexpressing glycosylphosphatidylinositol specific phospholipase D in MC3T3-E1 osteoblastic cells. This resulted in significant inhibition of intracellular calcium mobilization and ERK1/2 phosphorylation in response to oscillatory fluid flow. Finally, we demonstrated that cholesterol depletion inhibited oscillatory fluid flow induced ATP releases, which were responsible for the activation of calcium signaling pathways in MC3T3-E1 osteoblastic cells. Our findings suggest that cholesterol and GPI-anchored proteins, two membrane structural components related to lipid rafts, may play an important role in osteoblastic cell mechanotransduction.
PMCID: PMC3071886  PMID: 21660958
Osteoblastic mechanotransduction; Oscillatory fluid flow shear stress; Osteoblast; Cholesterol depletion; GPI-anchored proteins
15.  Ergosterol Peroxide Isolated from Ganoderma lucidum Abolishes MicroRNA miR-378-Mediated Tumor Cells on Chemoresistance 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(8):e44579.
Due to an altered expression of oncogenic factors and tumor suppressors, aggressive cancer cells have an intrinsic or acquired resistance to chemotherapeutic agents. This typically contributes to cancer recurrence after chemotherapy. microRNAs are short non-coding RNAs that are involved in both cell self-renewal and cancer development. Here we report that tumor cells transfected with miR-378 acquired properties of aggressive cancer cells. Overexpression of miR-378 enhanced both cell survival and colony formation, and contributed to multiple drug resistance. Higher concentrations of chemotherapeutic drugs were needed to induce death of miR-378-transfected cells than to induce death of control cells. We found that the biologically active component isolated from Ganoderma lucidum could overcome the drug-resistance conferred by miR-378. We purified and identified the biologically active component of Ganoderma lucidum as ergosterol peroxide. We demonstrated that ergosterol peroxide produced greater activity in inducing death of miR-378 cells than the GFP cells. Lower concentrations of ergosterol peroxide were needed to induce death of the miR-378-transfected cells than in the control cells. With further clinical development, ergosterol peroxide represents a promising new reagent that can overcome the drug-resistance of tumor cells.
PMCID: PMC3431381  PMID: 22952996
16.  Autonomic neurocristopathy-associated mutations in PHOX2B dysregulate Sox10 expression  
The Journal of Clinical Investigation  2012;122(9):3145-3158.
The most common forms of neurocristopathy in the autonomic nervous system are Hirschsprung disease (HSCR), resulting in congenital loss of enteric ganglia, and neuroblastoma (NB), childhood tumors originating from the sympathetic ganglia and adrenal medulla. The risk for these diseases dramatically increases in patients with congenital central hypoventilation syndrome (CCHS) harboring a nonpolyalanine repeat expansion mutation of the Paired-like homeobox 2b (PHOX2B) gene, but the molecular mechanism of pathogenesis remains unknown. We found that introducing nonpolyalanine repeat expansion mutation of the PHOX2B into the mouse Phox2b locus recapitulates the clinical features of the CCHS associated with HSCR and NB. In mutant embryos, enteric and sympathetic ganglion progenitors showed sustained sex-determining region Y (SRY) box10 (Sox10) expression, with impaired proliferation and biased differentiation toward the glial lineage. Nonpolyalanine repeat expansion mutation of PHOX2B reduced transactivation of wild-type PHOX2B on its known target, dopamine β-hydroxylase (DBH), in a dominant-negative fashion. Moreover, the introduced mutation converted the transcriptional effect of PHOX2B on a Sox10 enhancer from repression to transactivation. Collectively, these data reveal that nonpolyalanine repeat expansion mutation of PHOX2B is both a dominant-negative and gain-of-function mutation. Our results also demonstrate that Sox10 regulation by PHOX2B is pivotal for the development and pathogenesis of the autonomic ganglia.
PMCID: PMC3428093  PMID: 22922260
17.  Functional Interaction of Human Neutrophil Peptide-1 with the cell wall precursor Lipid II 
FEBS letters  2010;584(8):1543-1548.
Defensins constitute a major class of cationic antimicrobial peptides in mammals and vertebrates, acting as effectors of innate immunity against infectious microorganisms. It is generally accepted that defensins are[d1] bactericidal by disrupting the anionic microbial membrane. Here, we provide evidence that membrane activity of human α-defensins does not correlate with antibacterial killing. We[d2] further show that the α-defensin Human Neutrophil Peptide 1 (HNP-1) binds to the cell wall precursor lipid II and that reduction of lipid II levels in the bacterial membrane significantly reduces bacterial killing. The interaction between defensins and Lipid II suggests the inhibition of cell wall synthesis as a novel antibacterial mechanism of this important class of host defense peptides.
PMCID: PMC3417325  PMID: 20214904
human neutrophil peptide 1; defensin; lipid II
18.  Behavior and Distribution of Heavy Metals Including Rare Earth Elements, Thorium, and Uranium in Sludge from Industry Water Treatment Plant and Recovery Method of Metals by Biosurfactants Application 
In order to investigate the behavior, distribution, and characteristics of heavy metals including rare earth elements (REEs), thorium (Th), and uranium (U) in sludge, the total and fractional concentrations of these elements in sludge collected from an industry water treatment plant were determined and compared with those in natural soil. In addition, the removal/recovery process of heavy metals (Pb, Cr, and Ni) from the polluted sludge was studied with biosurfactant (saponin and sophorolipid) elution by batch and column experiments to evaluate the efficiency of biosurfactant for the removal of heavy metals. Consequently, the following matters have been largely clarified. (1) Heavy metallic elements in sludge have generally larger concentrations and exist as more unstable fraction than those in natural soil. (2) Nonionic saponin including carboxyl group is more efficient than sophorolipid for the removal of heavy metals in polluted sludge. Saponin has selectivity for the mobilization of heavy metals and mainly reacts with heavy metals in F3 (the fraction bound to carbonates) and F5 (the fraction bound to Fe-Mn oxides). (3) The recovery efficiency of heavy metals (Pb, Ni, and Cr) reached about 90–100% using a precipitation method with alkaline solution.
PMCID: PMC3368164  PMID: 22693485
19.  A left handed solution to peptide inhibition of the p53-MDM2 interaction** 
Throwing tumors a left hook punch: The oncoprotein MDM2 negatively regulates the activity and stability of the tumor suppressor protein p53, and is an important molecular target for anticancer therapy. Mirror image phage display identifies a high-affinity D-peptide ligand of MDM2 that can be developed into a potent and protease-resistant p53 activator with potential antitumor activity.
PMCID: PMC3359147  PMID: 20449836
p53; tumor suppressor; MDM2; D-peptides; drug discovery
20.  MiR-128 Inhibits Tumor Growth and Angiogenesis by Targeting p70S6K1 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(3):e32709.
MicroRNAs are a class of small noncoding RNAs that function as critical gene regulators through targeting mRNAs for translational repression or degradation. In this study, we showed that miR-128 expression levels were decreased in glioma, and identified p70S6K1 as a novel direct target of miR-128. Overexpression of miR-128 suppressed p70S6K1 and its downstream signaling molecules such as HIF-1 and VEGF expression, and attenuated cell proliferation, tumor growth and angiogenesis. Forced expression of p70S6K1 can partly rescue the inhibitory effect of miR-128 in the cells. Taken together, these findings will shed light to the role and mechanism of miR-128 in regulating glioma tumor angiogenesis via miR-128/p70S6K1 axis, and miR-128 may serve as a potential therapeutic target in glioma in the future.
PMCID: PMC3307714  PMID: 22442669
21.  Sodium aescinate ameliorates liver injury induced by methyl parathion in rats 
Methyl parathion, a highly cytotoxic insecticide, has been used in agricultural pest control for several years. The present study investigated the protective effect of sodium aescinate (SA, the sodium salt of aescin) against liver injury induced by methyl parathion. Forty male Sprague-Dawley rats were randomly divided into 5 groups of 8 animals: the control group; the methyl parathion (15 mg/kg) poisoning (MP) group; and the MP plus SA at doses of 0.45, 0.9 and 1.8 mg/kg groups. Alanine aminotransferase (ALT), aspartate aminotransferase (AST) and acetylcholinesterase (AChE) in the plasma were assayed. Nitric oxide (NO) and antioxidative parameters were measured. Histopathological examination of the liver was also performed. The results revealed that SA had no effect on AChE. Treatment with SA decreased the activities of ALT and AST, and the levels of malondialdehyde and NO. Treatment with SA also increased the level of glutathione and the activities of superoxide dismutase and glutathione peroxidase. SA administration also ameliorated liver injury induced by methyl parathion poisoning. The findings indicate that SA protects against liver injury induced by methyl parathion and that the mechanism of action is related to the antioxidative and anti-inflammatory effects of SA.
PMCID: PMC3438729  PMID: 22969975
sodium aescinate; methyl parathion; liver injury; acute poisoning
22.  Fluorescence Cell Imaging and Manipulation Using Conventional Halogen Lamp Microscopy 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(2):e31638.
Technologies for vitally labeling cells with fluorescent dyes have advanced remarkably. However, to excite fluorescent dyes currently requires powerful illumination, which can cause phototoxic damage to the cells and increases the cost of microscopy. We have developed a filter system to excite fluorescent dyes using a conventional transmission microscope equipped with a halogen lamp. This method allows us to observe previously invisible cell organelles, such as the metaphase spindle of oocytes, without causing phototoxicity. Cells remain healthy even after intensive manipulation under fluorescence observation, such as during bovine, porcine and mouse somatic cell cloning using nuclear transfer. This method does not require expensive epifluorescence equipment and so could help to reduce the science gap between developed and developing countries.
PMCID: PMC3275630  PMID: 22347500
23.  Steady and fluctuant methods of inhibition of acetylcholinesterase differentially regulate neurotrophic factors in the hippocampus of juvenile mice 
The present study was designed to evaluate the effects of steady and fluctuant inhibition of acetylcholinesterase (AChE) activity on neurotrophic factors in the hippocampus of juvenile mice. Steady inhibition of AChE activity was induced by an intramuscular injection of huperizine A (HupA) sustained-release microspheres. Fluctuant inhibition of AChE activity was induced by an intragastric administration of HupA tablets. Six days after cessation of steady AChE inhibition, there was a significant increase in the levels of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) and nerve growth factor (NGF). In contrast, fluctuant AChE inhibition had no effect on BDNF and NGF levels. Additionally, neither steady nor fluctuant inhibition of AChE activity altered the choline acetyltransferase activity or spatial learning in juvenile mice. These findings indicate that steady and fluctuant methods of inhibition of AChE have different effects on the levels of BDNF and NGF in the hippocampus. In addition, the effects of AChE inhibitors may not improve learning in normal juvenile animals.
PMCID: PMC3438584  PMID: 22969880
steady inhibition; fluctuant inhibition; acetylcholinesterase inhibitor; neurotrophic factor
24.  Metabolic Patterns and Biotransformation Activities of Resveratrol in Human Glioblastoma Cells: Relevance with Therapeutic Efficacies 
PLoS ONE  2011;6(11):e27484.
Trans-resveratrol rather than its biotransformed monosulfate metabolite exerts anti-medulloblastoma effects by suppressing STAT3 activation. Nevertheless, its effects on human glioblastoma cells are variable due to certain unknown reason(s).
Methodology/Principal Findings
Citing resveratrol-sensitive UW228-3 medulloblastoma cell line and primarily cultured rat brain cells/PBCs as controls, the effect of resveratrol on LN-18 human glioblastoma cells and its relevance with metabolic pattern(s), brain-associated sulfotransferase/SULT expression and the statuses of STAT3 signaling and protein inhibitor of activated STAT3 (PIAS3) were elucidated by multiple experimental approaches. Meanwhile, the expression patterns of three SULTs (SULT1A1, 1C2 and 4A1) in human glioblastoma tumors were profiled immunohistochemically. The results revealed that 100 µM resveratrol-treated LN-18 generated the same metabolites as UW228-3 cells, while additional metabolite in molecular weight of 403.0992 in negative ion mode was found in PBCs. Neither growth arrest nor apoptosis was found in resveratrol-treated LN-18 and PBC cells. Upon resveratrol treatment, the levels of SULT1A1, 1C2 and 4A1 expression in LN-18 cells were more up-regulated than that expressed in UW228-3 cells and close to the levels in PBCs. Immunohistochemical staining showed that 42.0%, 27.1% and 19.6% of 149 glioblastoma cases produced similar SULT1A1, 1C2 and 4A1 levels as that of tumor-surrounding tissues. Unlike the situation in UW228-3 cells, STAT3 signaling remained activated and its protein inhibitor PIAS3 was restricted in the cytosol of resveratrol-treated LN-18 cells. No nuclear translocation of STAT3 and PIAS3 was observed in resveratrol-treated PBCs. Treatment with STAT3 chemical inhibitor, AG490, committed majority of LN-18 and UW228-3 cells but not PBCs to apoptosis within 48 hours.
LN-18 glioblastoma cells are insensitive to resveratrol due to the more inducible brain-associated SULT expression, insufficiency of resveratrol to suppress activated STAT3 signaling and the lack of PIAS3 nuclear translocation. The findings from PBCs suggest that an effective anticancer dose of resveratrol exerts little side effect on normal brain cells.
PMCID: PMC3214056  PMID: 22096581
25.  (E)-2′-[(3,5-Di-tert-butyl-2-hy­droxy­benzyl­idene)amino]-1,1′-binaphthalen-2-ol methanol monosolvate 
The title compound, C35H35NO2·CH4O, was obtained by the reaction of rac-2-amino-2-hy­droxy-1,1-binaphthyl and 3,5-di-tert-butyl-2-hy­droxy­benzaldehyde in absolute methanol. In the Schiff base mol­ecule, the two naphthyl bicycles are twisted by 71.15 (5)°. One hy­droxy group is involved in intra­molecular O—H⋯N hydrogen bond, while the methanol solvent mol­ecule is linked to another hy­droxy group via an inter­molecular O—H⋯O hydrogen bond.
PMCID: PMC3247328  PMID: 22219946

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