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1.  Liposome-based polymer complex as a novel adjuvant: enhancement of specific antibody production and isotype switch 
The aim of vaccination is to induce appropriate immunity against pathogens. Antibody-mediated immunity is critical for protection against many virus diseases, although it is becoming more evident that coordinated, multifunctional immune responses lead to the most effective defense. Specific antibody (Ab) isotypes are more efficient at protecting against pathogen invasion in different locations in the body. For example, compared to other Ab isotypes, immunoglobulin (Ig) A provides more protection at mucosal areas. In this study, we developed a cationic lipopolymer (liposome-polyethylene glycol-polyethyleneimine complex [LPPC]) adjuvant that strongly adsorbs antigens or immunomodulators onto its surface to enhance or switch immune responses. The results demonstrate that LPPC enhances uptake ability, surface marker expression, proinflammatory cytokine release, and antigen presentation in mouse phagocytes. In contrast to Freund’s adjuvant, LPPC preferentially activates Th1- immunity against antigens in vivo. With lipopolysaccharides or CpG oligodeoxynucleotides, LPPC dramatically enhances the IgA or IgG2A proportion of total Ig, even in hosts that have developed Th2 immunities and high IgG1 serum titers. Taken together, the results demonstrate that the LPPC adjuvant not only increases the immunogenicity of antigens but also modulates host immunity to produce an appropriate Ab isotype by combining with immunomodulators.
PMCID: PMC3277439  PMID: 22346354
liposome-PEG-PEI complex; adjuvant; class switch; immunomodulator; vaccine
2.  Functional Production of a Soluble and Secreted Single-Chain Antibody by a Bacterial Secretion System 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(5):e97367.
Single-chain variable fragments (scFvs) serve as an alternative to full-length monoclonal antibodies used in research and therapeutic and diagnostic applications. However, when recombinant scFvs are overexpressed in bacteria, they often form inclusion bodies and exhibit loss of function. To overcome this problem, we developed an scFv secretion system in which scFv was fused with osmotically inducible protein Y (osmY), a bacterial secretory carrier protein, for efficient protein secretion. Anti-EGFR scFv (αEGFR) was fused with osmY (N- and C-termini) and periplasmic leader sequence (pelB) to generate αEGFR-osmY, osmY-αEGFR, and pelB-αEGFR (control), respectively. In comparison with the control, both the osmY-fused αEGFR scFvs were soluble and secreted into the LB medium. Furthermore, the yield of soluble αEGFR-osmY was 20-fold higher, and the amount of secreted protein was 250-fold higher than that of osmY-αEGFR. In addition, the antigen-binding activity of both the osmY-fused αEGFRs was 2-fold higher than that of the refolded pelB-αEGFR from inclusion bodies. Similar results were observed with αTAG72-osmY and αHer2-osmY. These results suggest that the N-terminus of osmY fused with scFv produces a high yield of soluble, functional, and secreted scFv, and the osmY-based bacterial secretion system may be used for the large-scale industrial production of low-cost αEGFR protein.
PMCID: PMC4019604  PMID: 24824752
3.  miRTarBase update 2014: an information resource for experimentally validated miRNA-target interactions 
Nucleic Acids Research  2013;42(Database issue):D78-D85.
MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are small non-coding RNA molecules capable of negatively regulating gene expression to control many cellular mechanisms. The miRTarBase database ( provides the most current and comprehensive information of experimentally validated miRNA-target interactions. The database was launched in 2010 with data sources for >100 published studies in the identification of miRNA targets, molecular networks of miRNA targets and systems biology, and the current release (2013, version 4) includes significant expansions and enhancements over the initial release (2010, version 1). This article reports the current status of and recent improvements to the database, including (i) a 14-fold increase to miRNA-target interaction entries, (ii) a miRNA-target network, (iii) expression profile of miRNA and its target gene, (iv) miRNA target-associated diseases and (v) additional utilities including an upgrade reminder and an error reporting/user feedback system.
PMCID: PMC3965058  PMID: 24304892
4.  The Methanol Extract of Angelica sinensis Induces Cell Apoptosis and Suppresses Tumor Growth in Human Malignant Brain Tumors 
Glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) is a highly vascularized and invasive neoplasm. The methanol extract of Angelica sinensis (AS-M) is commonly used in traditional Chinese medicine to treat several diseases, such as gastric mucosal damage, hepatic injury, menopausal symptoms, and chronic glomerulonephritis. AS-M also displays potency in suppressing the growth of malignant brain tumor cells. The growth suppression of malignant brain tumor cells by AS-M results from cell cycle arrest and apoptosis. AS-M upregulates expression of cyclin kinase inhibitors, including p16, to decrease the phosphorylation of Rb proteins, resulting in arrest at the G0-G1 phase. The expression of the p53 protein is increased by AS-M and correlates with activation of apoptosis-associated proteins. Therefore, the apoptosis of cancer cells induced by AS-M may be triggered through the p53 pathway. In in vivo studies, AS-M not only suppresses the growth of human malignant brain tumors but also significantly prolongs patient survival. In addition, AS-M has potent anticancer effects involving cell cycle arrest, apoptosis, and antiangiogenesis. The in vitro and in vivo anticancer effects of AS-M indicate that this extract warrants further investigation and potential development as a new antibrain tumor agent, providing new hope for the chemotherapy of malignant brain cancer.
PMCID: PMC3844186  PMID: 24319475
5.  A fusion protein composed of receptor binding domain of vascular endothelial growth factor-A and constant region fragment of antibody: angiogenesis antagonistic activity 
Cytotechnology  2011;63(3):285-293.
Vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) promotes the growth of solid tumor mainly via VEGF receptor-1 and receptor-2, which are expressed preferentially in proliferating endothelial cells. Therefore, a strategy for simultaneous blockage of both VEGF receptors may have a useful therapeutic effect in tumor growth. In this study, we utilized a fusion protein which is composed of receptor binding domain of VEGF-A (RBDV) and the constant region fragment (Fc) of a human immunoglobulin G1 (IgG1), to interfere with the growth of human umbilical vein endothelial cells (HUVECs) via VEGF receptors. The results showed that RBDV-IgG1 Fc was able to bind with both VEGF receptor-1 and receptor-2. In addition, RBDV-IgG1 Fc could decrease VEGF-induced proliferation and tube formation among HUVECs. Moreover, the cytotoxic test showed RBDV-IgG1 Fc could also enhance the cytotoxic activity of human natural killing cells. The data are suggesting that the fusion protein, RBDV-IgG1 Fc, may have potential as an angiogenesis antagonist for future tumor therapy.
PMCID: PMC3081053  PMID: 21461946
Vascular endothelial growth factor; Receptor binding domain of VEGF-A; Immunoglobulin; Fusion protein; Human umbilical vein endothelial cells
6.  Enhancement of anti-murine colon cancer immunity by fusion of a SARS fragment to a low-immunogenic carcinoembryonic antigen 
It is widely understood that tumor cells express tumor-associated antigens (TAAs), of which many are usually in low immunogenicity; for example, carcinoembryonic antigen (CEA) is specifically expressed on human colon cancer cells and is viewed as a low-immunogenic TAA. How to activate host immunity against specific TAAs and to suppress tumor growth therefore becomes important in cancer therapy development.
To enhance the immune efficiency of CEA in mice that received, we fused a partial CEA gene with exogenous SARS-CoV fragments. Oral vaccination of an attenuated Salmonella typhimurium strain transformed with plasmids encoding CEA-SARS-CoV fusion gene into BALB/c mice elicited significant increases in TNF-α and IL-10 in the serum. In addition, a smaller tumor volume was observed in CT26/CEA-bearing mice who received CEA-SARS-CoV gene therapy in comparison with those administered CEA alone.
The administration of fusing CEA-SARS-CoV fragments may provide a promising strategy for strengthening the anti-tumor efficacy against low-immunogenic endogenous tumor antigens.
PMCID: PMC3298716  PMID: 22304896
immunotherapy; tumor-derived peptide; tumor vaccine; low-immunogenicity
7.  Utilization of IκB–EGFP Chimeric Gene as an Indicator to Identify Microbial Metabolites with NF-κB Inhibitor Activity 
Biological Procedures Online  2010;12:131-138.
NF-κB regulates several important expressions, such as cytokine release, anti-apoptosis, adhesion molecule expression, and cell cycle processing. Several NF-κB inhibitors have been discovered as an anti-tumor or anti-inflammatory drug. The activity of NF-κB transcription factor is negatively regulated by IκB binding. In this study, IκB assay system was established and IκB–EGFP fusion protein was used as an indicator to monitor the effects of substances on the IκB degradation. The results indicated that the chosen hydroquinone could inhibit the IκB degradation and cause the cell de-attachment from the bottom of culture plate. In addition, this system could also monitor the IκB degradation of microbial metabolite of natural mixtures of propolis. Thus, the IκB assay system may be a good system for drug discovery related to microbial metabolite.
PMCID: PMC3055915  PMID: 21406073
Microbial metabolite; Antioxidant; IκB; EGFP; Hydroquinone; Propolis
8.  A New Microsphere-Based Immunoassay for Measuring the Activity of Transcription Factors 
There are several traditional and well-developed methods for analyzing the activity of transcription factors, such as EMSA, enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay, and reporter gene activity assays. All of these methods have their own distinct disadvantages, but none can analyze the changes in transcription factors in the few cells that are cultured in the wells of 96-well titer plates. Thus, a new microsphere-based immunoassay to measure the activity of transcription factors (MIA-TF) was developed. In MIA-TF, NeutrAvidin-labeled microspheres were used as the solid phase to capture biotin-labeled double-strand DNA fragments which contain certain transcription factor binding elements. The activity of transcription factors was detected by immunoassay using a transcription factor-specific antibody to monitor the binding with the DNA probe. Next, analysis was performed by flow cytometry. The targets hypoxia-inducible factor-1α (HIF-1α) and nuclear factor-kappa B (NF-κB) were applied and detected in this MIA-TF method; the results that we obtained demonstrated that this method could be used to monitor the changes of NF-κB or HIF within 50 or 100 ng of nuclear extract. Furthermore, MIA-TF could detect the changes in NF-κB or HIF in cells that were cultured in wells of a 96-well plate without purification of the nuclear protein, an important consideration for applying this method to high-throughput assays in the future. The development of MIA-TF would support further progress in clinical analysis and drug screening systems. Overall, MIA-TF is a method with high potential to detect the activity of transcription factors.
PMCID: PMC3055901  PMID: 21406071
transcription factor; microsphere-based immunoassay; NF-κB; HIF-1
9.  Characterization of canine monocyte-derived dendritic cells with phenotypic and functional differentiation 
For therapeutic purposes, large numbers of dendritic cells (DCs) are essential. In this study, we used 2% autologous canine plasma, granulocyte/macrophage colony-stimulating factor (GM-CSF), fms-like tyrosine kinase 3 ligand (Flt3L), and interleukin 4 (IL-4) in generating monocyte-derived DCs from peripheral blood mononuclear cells of dogs. The plasma enriched the population of CD14-positive monocytes by greatly enhancing the efficiency of monocyte adherence, the proportion of adherent cells increasing from 6.6% with 10% fetal bovine serum to 15.3% with 2% autologous canine plasma. Culturing the adherent monocytes for 6 d with human GM-CSF, canine IL-4, and human Flt3L significantly increased the yield of DCs, more than 90% of which were CD14-negative. Because, in the presence of lipopolysaccharide (LPS), monocytes that were CD14-positive expressed tumor necrosis factor α much more than DCs with low levels of CD14, it is important to decrease the numbers of CD14-positive cells in generating monocyte-derived DCs. With flow cytometry and real-time reverse-transcriptase-mediated polymerase chain reaction assays, we found that in canine immature DCs (iDCs) the expression of DLA class II molecules, CD1a, CD11c, CD40, and CD86 was high and the expression of CD80, CD83, and CD14 either low or negative. During maturation (stimulated by LPS), the expression of CD1a, CD40, CD83, and CD80 was upregulated. However, the expression of DLA class II molecules, CD11c, and CD86 was not increased in mature DCs. Incubating the iDCs with LPS decreased antigen uptake and increased the cells’ immunostimulatory capacity (assessed by the allogeneic mixed-lymphocyte reaction), indicating that LPS accelerates the functional maturation of DCs. This protocol may facilitate the use of DCs in cellular immunotherapy.
PMCID: PMC1899861  PMID: 17695590
10.  SARS-associated Coronavirus Infection in Teenagers 
Emerging Infectious Diseases  2004;10(2):382-383.
PMCID: PMC3322917  PMID: 15043016

Results 1-10 (10)