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1.  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
2.  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
3.  miRTarBase update 2014: an information resource for experimentally validated miRNA-target interactions 
Nucleic Acids Research  2013;42(D1):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 Critical Role of Protein Arginine Methyltransferase prmt8 in Zebrafish Embryonic and Neural Development Is Non-Redundant with Its Paralogue prmt1 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(3):e55221.
Protein arginine methyltransferase (PRMT) 1 is the most conserved and widely distributed PRMT in eukaryotes. PRMT8 is a vertebrate-restricted paralogue of PRMT1 with an extra N-terminal sequence and brain-specific expression. We use zebrafish (Danio rerio) as a vertebrate model to study PRMT8 function and putative redundancy with PRMT1. The transcripts of zebrafish prmt8 were specifically expressed in adult zebrafish brain and ubiquitously expressed from zygotic to early segmentation stage before the neuronal development. Whole-mount in situ hybridization revealed ubiquitous prmt8 expression pattern during early embryonic stages, similar to that of prmt1. Knockdown of prmt8 with antisense morpholino oligonucleotide phenocopied prmt1-knockdown, with convergence/extension defects at gastrulation. Other abnormalities observed later include short body axis, curled tails, small and malformed brain and eyes. Catalytically inactive prmt8 failed to complement the morphants, indicating the importance of methyltransferase activity. Full-length prmt8 but not prmt1 cRNA can rescue the phenotypic changes. Nevertheless, cRNA encoding Prmt1 fused with the N-terminus of Prmt8 can rescue the prmt8 morphants. In contrast, N-terminus- deleted but not full-length prmt8 cRNA can rescue the prmt1 morphants as efficiently as prmt1 cRNA. Abnormal brain morphologies illustrated with brain markers and loss of fluorescent neurons in a transgenic fish upon prmt8 knockdown confirm the critical roles of prmt8 in neural development. In summery, our study is the first report showing the expression and function of prmt8 in early zebrafish embryogenesis. Our results indicate that prmt8 may play important roles non-overlapping with prmt1 in embryonic and neural development depending on its specific N-terminus.
PMCID: PMC3595262  PMID: 23554853
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.  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
7.  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

Results 1-7 (7)