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1.  The sequence and de novo assembly of the giant panda genome 
Li, Ruiqiang | Fan, Wei | Tian, Geng | Zhu, Hongmei | He, Lin | Cai, Jing | Huang, Quanfei | Cai, Qingle | Li, Bo | Bai, Yinqi | Zhang, Zhihe | Zhang, Yaping | Wang, Wen | Li, Jun | Wei, Fuwen | Li, Heng | Jian, Min | Li, Jianwen | Zhang, Zhaolei | Nielsen, Rasmus | Li, Dawei | Gu, Wanjun | Yang, Zhentao | Xuan, Zhaoling | Ryder, Oliver A. | Leung, Frederick Chi-Ching | Zhou, Yan | Cao, Jianjun | Sun, Xiao | Fu, Yonggui | Fang, Xiaodong | Guo, Xiaosen | Wang, Bo | Hou, Rong | Shen, Fujun | Mu, Bo | Ni, Peixiang | Lin, Runmao | Qian, Wubin | Wang, Guodong | Yu, Chang | Nie, Wenhui | Wang, Jinhuan | Wu, Zhigang | Liang, Huiqing | Min, Jiumeng | Wu, Qi | Cheng, Shifeng | Ruan, Jue | Wang, Mingwei | Shi, Zhongbin | Wen, Ming | Liu, Binghang | Ren, Xiaoli | Zheng, Huisong | Dong, Dong | Cook, Kathleen | Shan, Gao | Zhang, Hao | Kosiol, Carolin | Xie, Xueying | Lu, Zuhong | Zheng, Hancheng | Li, Yingrui | Steiner, Cynthia C. | Lam, Tommy Tsan-Yuk | Lin, Siyuan | Zhang, Qinghui | Li, Guoqing | Tian, Jing | Gong, Timing | Liu, Hongde | Zhang, Dejin | Fang, Lin | Ye, Chen | Zhang, Juanbin | Hu, Wenbo | Xu, Anlong | Ren, Yuanyuan | Zhang, Guojie | Bruford, Michael W. | Li, Qibin | Ma, Lijia | Guo, Yiran | An, Na | Hu, Yujie | Zheng, Yang | Shi, Yongyong | Li, Zhiqiang | Liu, Qing | Chen, Yanling | Zhao, Jing | Qu, Ning | Zhao, Shancen | Tian, Feng | Wang, Xiaoling | Wang, Haiyin | Xu, Lizhi | Liu, Xiao | Vinar, Tomas | Wang, Yajun | Lam, Tak-Wah | Yiu, Siu-Ming | Liu, Shiping | Zhang, Hemin | Li, Desheng | Huang, Yan | Wang, Xia | Yang, Guohua | Jiang, Zhi | Wang, Junyi | Qin, Nan | Li, Li | Li, Jingxiang | Bolund, Lars | Kristiansen, Karsten | Wong, Gane Ka-Shu | Olson, Maynard | Zhang, Xiuqing | Li, Songgang | Yang, Huanming | Wang, Jian | Wang, Jun
Nature  2009;463(7279):311-317.
Using next-generation sequencing technology alone, we have successfully generated and assembled a draft sequence of the giant panda genome. The assembled contigs (2.25 gigabases (Gb)) cover approximately 94% of the whole genome, and the remaining gaps (0.05 Gb) seem to contain carnivore-specific repeats and tandem repeats. Comparisons with the dog and human showed that the panda genome has a lower divergence rate. The assessment of panda genes potentially underlying some of its unique traits indicated that its bamboo diet might be more dependent on its gut microbiome than its own genetic composition. We also identified more than 2.7 million heterozygous single nucleotide polymorphisms in the diploid genome. Our data and analyses provide a foundation for promoting mammalian genetic research, and demonstrate the feasibility for using next-generation sequencing technologies for accurate, cost-effective and rapid de novo assembly of large eukaryotic genomes.
PMCID: PMC3951497  PMID: 20010809
2.  Lewis y Regulate Cell Cycle Related Factors in Ovarian Carcinoma Cell RMG-I in Vitro via ERK and Akt Signaling Pathways 
To investigate the effect of Lewis y overexpression on the expression of proliferation-related factors in ovarian cancer cells.
mRNA levels of cyclins, CDKs, and CKIs were measured in cells before and after transfection with the α1,2-fucosyltransferase gene by real-time PCR, and protein levels of cyclins, CDKs and CKIs were determined in cells before and after gene transfection by Western blot.
Lewis y overexpression led to an increase in both mRNA and protein expression levels of cyclin A, cyclin D1 and cyclin E in ovarian cancer cells, decrease in both mRNA and protein expression levels of p16 and p21, and decrease of p27 at only the protein expression level without change in its mRNA level. There were no differences in proteins and the mRNA levels of CDK2, CDK4 and CDK6 before and after gene transfection. Anti-Lewis y antibody, ERK and PI3K pathway inhibitors PD98059 and LY294002 reduced the difference in cyclin and CKI expression caused by Lewis y overexpression.
Lewis y regulates the expression of cell cycle-related factors through ERK/MAPK and PI3K/Akt signaling pathways to promote cell proliferation.
PMCID: PMC3269723  PMID: 22312289
Lewis(y) antigen; cell cycle; cyclin; cyclin-dependent kinases; cyclin-dependent kinase inhibitors
3.  High Expression of Lewis y Antigen and CD44 Is Correlated with Resistance to Chemotherapy in Epithelial Ovarian Cancers 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(2):e57250.
To measure Lewis y antigen and CD44 antigen expression in epithelial ovarian carcinoma and to correlate the levels of these antigens with clinical response to chemotherapy.
The study cases included 34 cases of ovarian carcinoma with resistance to chemotherapeutic drugs, 6 partially drug-sensitive cases, and 52 drug-sensitive cases (92 total).
The rates of expression of Lewis y antigen and CD44 antigen were significantly greater in the drug-resistant group than that in the partially-sensitive or sensitive groups. Surgical stage, residual tumor size and expression of CD44 and Lewis y antigen in ovarian carcinoma tissues were independent risk factors for chemotherapeutic drug resistance.
Over-expression of Lewis y and CD44 antigen are strong risk factors for chemotherapeutic drug resistance in ovarian carcinoma patients.
PMCID: PMC3585297  PMID: 23468946
4.  Down-Regulation of TRPM8 in Pulmonary Arteries of Pulmonary Hypertensive Rats 
Pulmonary hypertension (PH) is characterized by profound vascular remodeling and alterations in Ca2+ homeostasis in pulmonary arterial smooth muscle cells (PASMCs). Multiple transient receptor potential melastatin-related (TRPM) subtypes have been identified in vascular tissue. However, the changes in the expression and function of TRPM channels in pulmonary hypertension have not been characterized in detail.
We examined the expression of TRPM channels and characterized the functions of the altered TRPM channels in two widely used rat models of chronic hypoxia (CH)- and monocrotaline (MCT)-induced PH.
CH-exposed and MCT-treated rats developed severe PH and right ventricular hypertrophy, with a significant decrease in TRPM8 mRNA and protein expression in pulmonary arteries (PAs). The downregulation of TRPM8 was associated with significant reduction in menthol-induced cation-influx. Time-profiles showed that TRPM8 down-regulation occurred prior to the increase of right ventricular systolic pressure (RVSP) and right ventricular mass index (RVMI) in CH-exposed rats, but these changes were delayed in MCT–treated rats. The TRPM8 agonist menthol induced vasorelaxation in phenylephrine-precontracted PAs, and the vasorelaxing effects were significantly attenuated in PAs of both PH rat models, consistent with decreased TRPM8 expression.
Downregulation of TRPM8 may contribute to the enhanced vasoreactivity in PH.
PMCID: PMC4034698  PMID: 23817166
Transient receptor potential melastatin; Pulmonary hypertension; Calcium signaling; Monocrotaline; Chronic hypoxia; Menthol
5.  Association of ERCC1 and ERCC2 polymorphisms with colorectal cancer risk in a Chinese population 
Scientific Reports  2014;4:4112.
The ERCC1 and ERCC2 genes are important in repairing DNA damage and genomic instability, and are involved in the nucleotide excision repair pathway. We hypothesized that single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in ERCC1 and ERCC2 are associated with the risk of colorectal cancer in a Chinese population. To test this hypothesis, we genotyped four functional SNPs (ERCC1 Asn118Asn, C8092A, ERCC2 Asp312Asn, and Lys751Gln) in a case-control study with 213 colorectal cancer cases and 240 cancer-free controls. We found that the ERCC1 C8092A polymorphism AA and CA/AA variant genotypes were associated with a significantly increased risk of colorectal cancer, compared with the CC genotype (OR = 2.50, 95% CI = 1.10–5.70 for AA versus CC, and OR = 1.58, 95% CI = 1.08–2.30 for CA/AA versus CC). Furthermore, the effect appeared to be more prominent among men, smokers, drinkers, and patients with rectal cancer. However, no other SNPs were observed for any significant association with colorectal cancer risk. These results suggest that the ERCC1 C8092A polymorphism may contribute to colorectal cancer susceptibility in the Chinese population. Further large and functional studies are needed to confirm our findings.
PMCID: PMC3925949  PMID: 24531312
6.  The Low Chamber Pancreatic Cancer Cells Had Stem-Like Characteristics in Modified Transwell System: Is It a Novel Method to Identify and Enrich Cancer Stem-Like Cells? 
BioMed Research International  2014;2014:760303.
Cancer stem cells (CSCs) or cancer-initiating cells (CICs) play an important role in tumor initiation, progression, metastasis, chemoresistance, and recurrence. It is important to construct an effective method to identify and isolate CSCs for biotherapy of cancer. During the past years, many researchers had paid more attention to it; however, this method was still on seeking. Therefore, compared to the former methods that were used to isolate the cancer stem cell, in the present study, we tried to use modified transwell system to isolate and enrich CSCs from human pancreatic cancer cell lines (Panc-1). Our results clearly showed that the lower chamber cells in modified transwell system were easily forming spheres; furthermore, these spheres expressed high levels of stem cell markers (CD133/CD44/CD24/Oct-4/ESA) and exhibited chemoresistance, underwent epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition (EMT), and possessed the properties of self-renewal in vitro and tumorigenicity in vivo. Therefore, we speculated that modified transwell assay system, as a rapid and effective method, can be used to isolate and enrich CSCs.
PMCID: PMC3934619  PMID: 24689055
7.  miR-200b as a prognostic factor in breast cancer targets multiple members of RAB family 
miR-200b has been reported to be a tumor suppressor and a promising therapeutic target in cancer. miR-200b has been associated with epithelial-mesenchymal transition and chemo-resistance in cancer. The aim of this study is to investigate the expression of miR-200b, its prognostic roles and its potential targets in breast cancer.
qRT-PCR was used to detect miR-200b expression in breast cancer tissues and cell lines. In situ hybridization of miR-200b on tissue microarray including 134 breast cancer samples was used to evaluate its prognostic role. Novel targets of miR-200b in breast cancer were predicted and confirmed by luciferase reporter assay and western bloting. Immunohistochemical staining was used for protein detection. The biological effects of miR-200b in breast cancer cells were further confirmed by ectopic expression of its mimics followed by MTT assay and invasion test.
miR-200b was downregulated in breast cancer tissues and cell lines and its low-expression correlated with poor outcome in breast cancer patients. Members of RAB family, RAB21, RAB23, RAB18 and RAB3B were predicted to be the targets of miR-200b. The luciferase reporter assay was performed to certificate this prediction. The expressions of RAB21, RAB23, RAB18 and RAB3B were suppressed by transfection of miR-200b in breast cancer cells. Over-expression of miR-200b or knock-down of RAB21, RAB23, RAB18 and RAB3B inhibited breast cancer cell proliferation and invasion in vitro.
Our study provides evidence that miR-200b is a prognostic factor in breast cancer targeting multiple members of RAB family. MiR-200b could be a potential therapeutic target in breast cancer.
PMCID: PMC3898994  PMID: 24447584
miR-200b; RAB family; Breast cancer; Prognosis
8.  Disturbing miR-182 and -381 Inhibits BRD7 Transcription and Glioma Growth by Directly Targeting LRRC4 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(1):e84146.
Inactivated LRRC4 has been clinically detected in gliomas, and promoter hypermethylation has been implicated as the mechanism of inactivation in some of those tumors. Our previous researches indicated that LRRC4 is a target gene of miR-381, the interaction of miR-381 and LRRC4 is involved in glioma growth. In this study, we demonstrate that LRRC4 is a target gene of the other microRNA, miR-182. We found that the high expression of miR-182 and miR-381 in gliomas are involved in pathological malignant progression. The silencing of miR-182 and miR-381 inhibited the proliferation in vitro and growth of glioma cell with in vivo magnetic resonance imaging by intracranial transplanted tumor model in rats. We also demonstrated that BRD7, a transcriptional cofactor for p53, is highly expressed and negatively correlated with LRRC4 expression in gliomas. Disturbing miR-182 and miR-381 affected transcriptional regulation of the BRD7 gene. This finding was verified by ectopic overexpression of LRRC4 or restoration of endogenous LRRC4 expression by treatment with the DNA demethylating agent 5-Aza-dC. Taken together, miR-182 and miR-381 may be a useful therapeutic target for treatment of glioma.
PMCID: PMC3880275  PMID: 24404152
9.  A Large Cohort Study Reveals the Association of Elevated Peripheral Blood Lymphocyte-to-Monocyte Ratio with Favorable Prognosis in Nasopharyngeal Carcinoma 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(12):e83069.
Nasopharyngeal carcinoma (NPC) is an endemic neoplasm in southern China. Although NPC sufferers are sensitive to radiotherapy, 20–30% of patients finally progress with recurrence and metastases. Elevated lymphocyte-to-monocyte ratio (LMR) has been reported to be associated with favorable prognosis in some hematology malignancies, but has not been studied in NPC. The aim of this study was to evaluate whether LMR could predict the prognosis of NPC patients.
A retrospective cohort of 1,547 non-metastatic NPC patients was recruited between January 2005 and June 2008. The counts for peripheral lymphocyte and monocyte were retrieved, and the LMR was calculated. Receiver operating characteristic curve analysis, univariate and multivariate COX proportional hazards analyses were applied to evaluate the associations of LMR with overall survival (OS), disease-free survival (DFS), distant metastasis-free survival (DMFS) and loco-regional recurrence-free survival (LRRFS), respectively.
Univariate analysis revealed that higher LMR level (≥5.220) was significantly associated with superior OS, DFS and DMFS (P values <0.001). The higher lymphocyte count (≥2.145×109/L) was significantly associated with better OS (P = 0.002) and DMFS (P = 0.031), respectively, while the lower monocyte count (<0.475×109/L) was associated with better OS (P = 0.012), DFS (P = 0.011) and DMFS (P = 0.003), respectively. Multivariate Cox proportional hazard analysis showed that higher LMR level was a significantly independent predictor for superior OS (hazard ratio or HR  = 0.558, 95% confidence interval or 95% CI  = 0.417–0.748; P<0.001), DFS (HR  = 0.669, 95% CI  = 0.535–0.838; P<0.001) and DMFS (HR = 0.543, 95% CI  = 0.403–0.732; P<0.001), respectively. The advanced T and N stages were also independent indicators for worse OS, DFS, and DMFS, except that T stage showed borderline statistical significance for DFS (P = 0.053) and DMFS (P = 0.080).
The elevated pretreatment peripheral LMR level was a significant favorable factor for NPC prognosis and this easily accessed variable may serve as a potent marker to predict the outcomes of NPC patients.
PMCID: PMC3873908  PMID: 24386144
10.  Protein phosphorylation-acetylation cascade connects growth factor deprivation to autophagy 
Autophagy  2012;8(9):1385-1386.
Different from unicellular organisms, metazoan cells require the presence of extracellular growth factors to utilize environmental nutrients. However, the underlying mechanism was unclear. We have delineated a pathway, in which glycogen synthase kinase 3 (GSK3) in cells deprived of growth factors phosphorylates and activates the acetyltransferase KAT5/TIP60, which in turn stimulates the protein kinase ULK1 to elicit autophagy. Cells with the Kat5/Tip60 gene replaced with Kat5S86A that cannot be phosphorylated by GSK3 are resistant to serum starvation-induced autophagy. Acetylation sites on ULK1 were mapped to K162 and K606, and the acetylation-defective mutant ULK1K162,606R displays reduced kinase activity and fails to rescue autophagy in Ulk1−/− mouse embryonic fibroblasts, indicating that acetylation is vital to the activation of ULK1. The GSK3-KAT5-ULK1 cascade seems to be specific for cells to sense growth factors, as KAT5 phosphorylation is not enhanced under glucose deprivation. Distinct from the glucose starvation-autophagy pathway that is conserved in all eukaryotic organisms, the growth factor deprivation response pathway is perhaps unique to metazoan organisms.
PMCID: PMC3442885  PMID: 22717509
GSK3; Tip60; Ulk1; acetylation; autophagy; growth factor; phosphorylation
11.  Direct Interaction of Selenoprotein R with Clusterin and Its Possible Role in Alzheimer’s Disease 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(6):e66384.
Selenoprotein R (SelR) plays an important role in maintaining intracellular redox balance by reducing the R-form of methionine sulfoxide to methionine. As SelR is highly expressed in brain and closely related to Alzheimer′s disease (AD), its biological functions in human brain become a research focus. In this paper, the selenocysteine-coding TGA of SelR gene was mutated to cysteine-coding TGC and used to screen the human fetal brain cDNA library with a yeast two-hybrid system. Our results demonstrated that SelR interacts with clusterin (Clu), a chaperone protein. This protein interaction was further verified by fluorescence resonance energy transfer (FRET), coimmunoprecipitation (co-IP), and pull-down assays. The interacting domain of Clu was determined by co-IP to be a dynamic, molten globule structure spanning amino acids 315 to 381 with an amphipathic-helix. The interacting domain of SelR was investigated by gene manipulation, ligand replacement, protein over-expression, and enzyme activity measurement to be a tetrahedral complex consisting of a zinc ion binding with four Cys residues. Study on the mutual effect of SelR and Clu showed synergic property between the two proteins. Cell transfection with SelR gene increased the expression of Clu, while cell transfection with Clu promoted the enzyme activity of SelR. Co-overexpression of SelR and Clu in N2aSW cells, an AD model cell line, significantly decreased the level of intracellular reactive oxygen species. Furthermore, FRET and co-IP assays demonstrated that Clu interacted with β-amyloid peptide, a pathological protein of AD, which suggested a potential effect of SelR and Aβ with the aid of Clu. The interaction between SelR and Clu provides a novel avenue for further study on the mechanism of SelR in AD prevention.
PMCID: PMC3689823  PMID: 23805218
12.  Genomic Editing of the HIV-1 Coreceptor CCR5 in Adult Hematopoietic Stem and Progenitor Cells Using Zinc Finger Nucleases 
Molecular Therapy  2013;21(6):1259-1269.
The HIV-1 coreceptor CCR5 is a validated target for HIV/AIDS therapy. The apparent elimination of HIV-1 in a patient treated with an allogeneic stem cell transplant homozygous for a naturally occurring CCR5 deletion mutation (CCR5Δ32/Δ32) supports the concept that a single dose of HIV-resistant hematopoietic stem cells can provide disease protection. Given the low frequency of naturally occurring CCR5Δ32/Δ32 donors, we reasoned that engineered autologous CD34+ hematopoietic stem/progenitor cells (HSPCs) could be used for AIDS therapy. We evaluated disruption of CCR5 gene expression in HSPCs isolated from granulocyte colony-stimulating factor (CSF)-mobilized adult blood using a recombinant adenoviral vector encoding a CCR5-specific pair of zinc finger nucleases (CCR5-ZFN). Our results demonstrate that CCR5-ZFN RNA and protein expression from the adenoviral vector is enhanced by pretreatment of HSPC with protein kinase C (PKC) activators resulting in >25% CCR5 gene disruption and that activation of the mitogen-activated protein kinase kinase (MEK)/extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK) signaling pathway is responsible for this activity. Importantly, using an optimized dose of PKC activator and adenoviral vector we could generate CCR5-modified HSPCs which engraft in a humanized mouse model (albeit at a reduced level) and support multilineage differentiation in vitro and in vivo. Together, these data establish the basis for improved approaches exploiting adenoviral vector delivery in the modification of HSPCs.
PMCID: PMC3677314  PMID: 23587921
13.  Nobiletin Ameliorates the Deficits in Hippocampal BDNF, TrkB, and Synapsin I Induced by Chronic Unpredictable Mild Stress 
Background. Our previous study has demonstrated that nobiletin could reverse the behavioral alterations in stressed mice. However, the relation of its antidepressant-like action with neurotrophic molecular expression remains unknown. This study aimed to explore the antidepressant-like mechanism of nobiletin related to the neurotrophic system in rats exposed to chronic unpredictable mild stress (CUMS). Methods. Depressive-like anhedonia (assessed by sucrose preference) and serum corticosterone secretion were evaluated in the CUMS, followed by brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), its tropomyosin-related kinase receptor B (TrkB), and the downstream target synapsin I expressions in the hippocampus. Results. Anhedonia, which occurred within week 2, was rapidly ameliorated by nobiletin. While fluoxetine needed additional 2 weeks to improve the anhedonia. In addition, nobiletin administration for 5 weeks significantly ameliorated CUMS-induced increase in serum corticosterone levels. Furthermore, we also found that CUMS-induced deficits of hippocampal BDNF, TrkB, and synapsin I were ameliorated by nobiletin. Conclusions. Taken together, these findings suggest that nobiletin produces rapidly acting antidepressant-like responses in the CUMS and imply that BDNF-TrkB pathway may play an important role in the antidepressant-like effect of nobiletin.
PMCID: PMC3613093  PMID: 23573124
14.  A large and functionally diverse family of Fad2 genes in safflower (Carthamus tinctorius L.) 
BMC Plant Biology  2013;13:5.
The application and nutritional value of vegetable oil is highly dependent on its fatty acid composition, especially the relative proportion of its two major fatty acids, i.e oleic acid and linoleic acid. Microsomal oleoyl phosphatidylcholine desaturase encoded by FAD2 gene is known to introduce a double bond at the Δ12 position of an oleic acid on phosphatidylcholine and convert it to linoleic acid. The known plant FAD2 enzymes are encoded by small gene families consisting of 1-4 members. In addition to the classic oleate Δ12-desaturation activity, functional variants of FAD2 that are capable of undertaking additional or alternative acyl modifications have also been reported in a limited number of plant species. In this study, our objective was to identify FAD2 genes from safflower and analyse their differential expression profile and potentially diversified functionality.
We report here the characterization and functional expression of an exceptionally large FAD2 gene family from safflower, and the temporal and spatial expression profiles of these genes as revealed through Real-Time quantitative PCR. The diversified functionalities of some of the safflower FAD2 gene family members were demonstrated by ectopic expression in yeast and transient expression in Nicotiana benthamiana leaves. CtFAD2-1 and CtFAD2-10 were demonstrated to be oleate desaturases specifically expressed in developing seeds and flower head, respectively, while CtFAD2-2 appears to have relatively low oleate desaturation activity throughout the plant. CtFAD2-5 and CtFAD2-8 are specifically expressed in root tissues, while CtFAD2-3, 4, 6, 7 are mostly expressed in the cotyledons and hypocotyls in young safflower seedlings. CtFAD2-9 was found to encode a novel desaturase operating on C16:1 substrate. CtFAD2-11 is a tri-functional enzyme able to introduce a carbon double bond in either cis or trans configuration, or a carbon triple (acetylenic) bond at the Δ12 position.
In this study, we isolated an unusually large FAD2 gene family with 11 members from safflower. The seed expressed FAD2 oleate Δ12 desaturase genes identified in this study will provide candidate targets to manipulate the oleic acid level in safflower seed oil. Further, the divergent FAD2 enzymes with novel functionality could be used to produce rare fatty acids, such as crepenynic acid, in genetically engineered crop plants that are precursors for economically important phytoalexins and oleochemical products.
PMCID: PMC3554562  PMID: 23289946
15.  Comparative profiling of miRNA expression in developing seeds of high linoleic and high oleic safflower (Carthamus tinctorius L.) plants 
Vegetable oils high in oleic acid are considered to be advantageous because of their better nutritional value and potential industrial applications. The oleic acid content in the classic safflower oil is normally 10–15% while a natural mutant (ol) accumulates elevated oleic acid up to 70% in seed oil. As a part of our investigation into the molecular features of the high oleic (HO) trait in safflower we have profiled the microRNA (miRNA) populations in developing safflower seeds expressing the ol allele in comparison to the wild type high linoleic (HL) safflower using deep sequencing technology. The small RNA populations of the mid-maturity developing embryos of homozygous ol HO and wild type HL safflower had a very similar size distribution pattern, however, only ~16.5% of the unique small RNAs were overlapping in these two genotypes. From these two small RNA populations we have found 55 known miRNAs and identified two candidate novel miRNA families to be likely unique to the developing safflower seeds. Target genes with conserved as well as novel functions were predicted for the conserved miRNAs. We have also identified 13 miRNAs differentially expressed between the HO and HL safflower genotypes. The results may lay a foundation for unraveling the miRNA-mediated molecular processes that regulate oleic acid accumulation in the HO safflower mutant and developmental processes in safflower embryos in general.
PMCID: PMC3844856  PMID: 24348492
miRNA profiling; safflower; Carthamus tinctorius; high oleic; comparative analysis
16.  Osteogenic Scaffolds for Bone Reconstruction 
BioResearch Open Access  2012;1(3):137-144.
A highly osteogenic hybrid bioabsorbable scaffold was developed for bone reconstruction/augmentation. Through the use of a solid free-form fabrication technology, a bioabsorbable polycaprolactone (PCL) cage scaffold with a desired size and shape was produced and then filled with osteogenic bone graft particles, that is, morselized autologous bone chips. A rabbit total lamina defect model was chosen to demonstrate its efficacy in regenerating bone with a complicated anatomic shape. Both iliac bone and morselized iliac bone grafts were used in this study for comparison purposes. Serum osteocalcin and collagen type I cross-linked C-terminal telopeptide (CTx) determination showed that active bone remodeling occurred after bone grafts were implanted. X-ray images showed that the bony defects were completely filled with bone mass in all the groups with bone grafts. However, biomechanical tests showed that only the iliac bone and hybrid scaffold groups could restore the mechanical properties to the normal level after 10 weeks of implantation. A histology study showed that both iliac and hybrid scaffold groups had extensive new bone formation, and no adhesion and fibrosis were found. These results indicated that this osteogenic hybrid scaffold can be a good alternative to autologous iliac bone, because it does not need a second iliac bone-harvesting surgery, and thus the morbidity and the possible infections that are often associated with the bone harvesting surgery can be avoided.
PMCID: PMC3559231  PMID: 23515416
bioabsorbable; bone graft; bone tissue engineering; lamina reconstruction; polycaprolactone; scaffolds
17.  Human Innate Immune Responses to Hexamethylene Diisocyanate (HDI) and HDI-Albumin Conjugates 
Isocyanates, a leading cause of occupational asthma, are known to induce adaptive immune responses; however, innate immune responses, which generally precede and regulate adaptive immunity, remain largely uncharacterized.
Identify and characterize cellular, molecular and systemic innate immune responses induced by hexamethylene diisocyanate (HDI).
Human peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) were stimulated in vitro with HDI-albumin conjugates or control antigen, and changes in phenotype, gene, and protein expression were characterized by flow cytometry, microarray, Western blot and ELISA. Cell uptake of isocyanate was visualized microscopically using HDI-albumin conjugates prepared with fluorescently-labeled albumin. In vivo, human HDI exposure was performed via specific inhalation challenge, and subsequent changes in PBMCs and serum proteins were measured by flow cytometry and ELISA. Genotypes were determined by PCR.
Human monocytes take-up HDI-albumin conjugates and undergo marked changes in morphology and gene/protein expression in vitro. The most significant (p 0.007 – 0.05) changes in mircoarray gene expression were noted in lysosomal genes, especially peptidases and proton pumps involved in antigen processing. Chemokines that regulate monocyte/macrophage trafficking (MIF, MCP-1), and pattern recognition receptors that bind chitin (chitinases) and oxidized low-density lipoprotein (CD68) were also increased following isocyanate-albumin exposure. In vivo, HDI exposed subjects exhibited an acute increase in the percentage of PBMCs with the same HDI-albumin responsive phenotype characterized in vitro (HLA-DR+/CD11c+ with altered light scatter properties). An exposure-dependent decrease (46±11%; p<0.015) in serum concentrations of chitinase-3-like-1 was also observed, in individuals that lack the major (type 1) human chitinase (due to genetic polymorphism), but not in individuals possessing at least one functional chitinase-1 allele.
Previously unrecognized innate immune responses to HDI and HDI-albumin conjugates could influence the clinical spectrum of exposure reactions.
PMCID: PMC3131007  PMID: 18498542
Isocyanate; Innate; Monocyte; Macrophage; Chitinase; CD68; Albumin; MIF; Cathepsin; Exposure; Asthma
18.  Fluctuations of Epstein-Barr Virus Serological Antibodies and Risk for Nasopharyngeal Carcinoma: A Prospective Screening Study with a 20-Year Follow-Up 
PLoS ONE  2011;6(4):e19100.
The impact of variation of Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) antibody titers before the development of nasopharyngeal carcinoma (NPC) is still unclear. We analyzed the fluctuations of antibodies against EBV before histopathological diagnosis to assess the risk of NPC and aimed to provide a reliable basis for screening in high risk populations.
This study was based on a population-based screening program in Sihui County in Guangdong Province of China. A total of 18,986 subjects were recruited in 1987 and 1992, respectively. Baseline and repeated serological tests were performed for IgA antibodies against EBV capsid antigen (VCA/IgA) and early antigen (EA/IgA). Follow-up until the end of 2007 was accomplished through linkage with population and health registers. Cox proportional hazards regression model was used to estimate the relative risk of NPC in association with EBV antibodies. Time-dependent receiver operating characteristic curve (ROC) analysis was used to further evaluate the predictive ability.
A total of 125 NPCs occurred during an average of 16.9 years of follow-up. Using baseline information alone or together with repeated measurements, serological levels of VCA/IgA and EA/IgA were significantly associated with increased risks for NPC, with a striking dose-response relationship and most prominent during the first 5 years of follow-up. Considering the fluctuant types of serological titers observed during the first three tests, relative risk was highest among participants with ascending titers of EBV VCA/IgA antibodies with an adjusted hazard ratio (HR) of 21.3 (95% confidence interval [CI] 7.1 to 64.1), and lowest for those with decreasing titers (HR = 1.5, 95% CI 0.2 to 11.4), during the first 5 years of follow-up. Time-dependent ROC analysis showed that VCA/IgA had better predictive performance for NPC incidence than EA/IgA.
Our study documents that elevated EBV antibodies, particularly with ascending titers, are strongly associated with an increased risk for NPC.
PMCID: PMC3081347  PMID: 21544243
19.  Tian Xian Liquid (TXL) induces apoptosis in HT-29 colon cancer cell in vitro and inhibits tumor growth in vivo 
Chinese Medicine  2010;5:25.
Tian Xian Liquid (TXL) is a Chinese medicine decoction and has been used as an anticancer dietary supplement. The present study aims to investigate the effects of TXL on the apoptosis of HT-29 cells and tumor growth in vivo.
HT-29 colon cancer cells were treated with gradient dilution of TXL. The mitochondrial membrane potential was measured by JC-1 assay. The release of cytochrome c from mitochondrial and apoptosis-related proteins Bax, Bcl-2, cleaved caspase-3, 9 were examined by Western blot analysis. HT-29 cells were implanted in nude mice to examine the effects of TXL on tumor growth.
TXL inhibited HT-29 xenografted model and showed a strong and dose-dependent inhibitory effect on the proliferation of HT-29 cells. Mitochondrial membrane potential was reduced by TXL at the concentration of 0.5% above. For Western blot analysis, an increase in Bax expression and a decrease in Bcl-2 expression were observed in TXL-treated cells. TXL treatment increased the protein level of cleaved casepase-3 and caspase-9, and the release of cytochrome c in cytoplasm was up-regulated as well.
TXL significantly inhibits cell proliferation in the HT-29 cells and HT-29 xenografted model via the mitochondrial cell death pathway.
PMCID: PMC2918619  PMID: 20663169
20.  Strong dependence between functional domains in a dual-function snoRNA infers coupling of rRNA processing and modification events 
Nucleic Acids Research  2010;38(10):3376-3387.
Most small nucleolar RNAs (snoRNAs) guide rRNA nucleotide modifications, some participate in pre-rRNA cleavages, and a few have both functions. These activities involve direct base-pairing of the snoRNA with pre-rRNA using different domains. It is not known if the modification and processing functions occur independently or in a coordinated manner. We address this question by mutational analysis of a yeast box H/ACA snoRNA that mediates both processing and modification. This snoRNA (snR10) contains canonical 5′- and 3′-hairpin structures with a guide domain for pseudouridylation in the 3′ hairpin. Our functional mapping results show that: (i) processing requires the 5′ hairpin exclusively, in particular a 7-nt element; (ii) loss of the 3′ hairpin or pseudouridine does not affect rRNA processing; (iii) a single nucleotide insertion in the guide domain shifts modification to an adjacent uridine in rRNA, and severely impairs both processing and cell growth; and (iv) the deleterious effects of the insertion mutation depend on the presence of the processing element in the 5′ hairpin, but not modification of the novel site. Together, the results suggest that the snoRNA hairpins function in a coordinated manner and that their interactions with pre-rRNA could be coupled.
PMCID: PMC2879522  PMID: 20144950
21.  Lewis Y Promotes Growth and Adhesion of Ovarian Carcinoma-Derived RMG-I Cells by Upregulating Growth Factors 
Lewis y (LeY) antigen is a difucosylated oligosaccharide carried by glycoconjugates on the cell surface. Overexpression of LeY is frequently observed in epithelial-derived cancers and has been correlated to the pathological staging and prognosis. However, the effects of LeY on ovarian cancer are not yet clear. Previously, we transfected the ovarian cancer cell line RMG-I with the α1,2-fucosyltransferase gene to obtain stable transfectants, RMG-I-H, that highly express LeY. In the present study, we examined the proliferation, tumorigenesis, adhesion and invasion of the cell lines with treatment of LeY monoclonal antibody (mAb). Additionally, we examined the expression of TGF-β1, VEGF and b-FGF in xenograft tumors. The results showed that the proliferation and adhesion in vitro were significantly inhibited by treatment of RMG-I-H cells with LeY mAb. When subcutaneously inoculated in nude mice, RMG-I-H cells produced large tumors, while mock-transfected cells RMG-I-C and the parental cells RMG-I produced small tumors. Moreover, the tumor formation by RMG-I-H cells was inhibited by preincubating the cells with LeY mAb. Notably, the expression of TGF-β1, VEGF and b-FGF all increased in RMG-I-H cells. In conclusion, LeY plays an important role in promoting cell proliferation, tumorigenecity and adhesion, and these effects may be related to increased levels of growth factors. The LeY antibody shows potential application in the treatment of LeY-positive tumors.
PMCID: PMC2996800  PMID: 21152298
Lewis y; ovarian cancer; proliferation; tumorigenecity; adhesion; inhibition
22.  Progression of Brainstem Glioma in Young and Adult Rats 
Journal of neurosurgery  2008;109(5):849-855.
Brainstem gliomas are common in children and have the worst prognosis of any brain tumor in children. On the other hand, brainstem gliomas are rare in adult, and clinical studies have suggested different biological behavior between young and adult. The present study was designed to develop an orthotropic C6 brainstem glioma model in young and adult rats, and to investigate the tumor biological behavior in the two age groups.
C6 glioma cells were stereotactically implanted into the pons of young or adult male rats. Neurological presentation and survival time were recorded. Tumor proliferation and apoptosis in brainstem gliomas of young and adult rats were determined by immunohistochemical staining of Ki-67 and TUNEL assay, respectively.
Striking difference were found between young and adult brainstem glioma in the onset of neurological signs, duration of symptoms, survival time, tumor growth pattern, as well as tumor proliferation and apoptosis. Relatively focal tumors were observed in adult rats harboring brainstem glioma, while diffusive tumors were found in young rats. Furthermore, brainstem gliomas in adult rats were less proliferative and had more apoptosis than those in young rats.
The present study demonstrated that C6 brainstem glioma model in young and adult rats closely imitates human brainstem glioma in neurological findings and histopathology. Our findings suggest that the different growth pattern and invasiveness of brainstem glioma between children and adult could be due to the different host cellular environments between the two age groups, hence, warrant further investigation of the different host-response between childhood and adult brainstem glioma in human.
PMCID: PMC2693119  PMID: 18976074
Brainstem; glioma; progression; animal model
23.  Signal-dependent Regulation of Transcription by Histone Deacetylase 7 Involves Recruitment to Promyelocytic Leukemia Protein Nuclear Bodies 
Molecular Biology of the Cell  2008;19(7):3020-3027.
Promyelocytic leukemia protein (PML) nuclear bodies (NBs) are dynamic subnuclear compartments that play roles in several cellular processes, including apoptosis, transcriptional regulation, and DNA repair. Histone deacetylase (HDAC) 7 is a potent corepressor that inhibits transcription by myocyte enhancer factor 2 (MEF2) transcription factors. We show here that endogenous HDAC7 and PML interact and partially colocalize in PML NBs. Tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-α treatment recruits HDAC7 to PML NBs and enhances association of HDAC7 with PML in human umbilical vein endothelial cells. Consequently, TNF-α promotes dissociation of HDAC7 from MEF2 transcription factors and the promoters of MEF2 target genes such as matrix metalloproteinase (MMP)-10, leading to accumulation of MMP-10 mRNA. Conversely, knockdown of PML enhances the association between HDAC7 and MEF2 and decreases MMP-10 mRNA accumulation. Accordingly, ectopic expression of PML recruits HDAC7 to PML NBs and leads to activation of MEF2 reporter activity. Notably, small interfering RNA knockdown of PML decreases basal and TNF-α-induced MMP-10 mRNA accumulation. Our results reveal a novel mechanism by which PML sequesters HDAC7 to relieve repression and up-regulate gene expression.
PMCID: PMC2441690  PMID: 18463162
24.  Degradation of the Tumor Suppressor PML by Pin1 Contributes to the Cancer Phenotype of Breast Cancer MDA-MB-231 Cells▿  
Molecular and Cellular Biology  2007;28(3):997-1006.
Promyelocytic leukemia protein (PML) is an important regulator due to its role in numerous cellular processes including apoptosis, viral infection, senescence, DNA damage repair, and cell cycle regulation. Despite the role of PML in many cellular functions, little is known about the regulation of PML itself. We show that PML stability is regulated through interaction with the peptidyl-prolyl cis-trans isomerase Pin1. This interaction is mediated through four serine-proline motifs in the C terminus of PML. Binding to Pin1 results in degradation of PML in a phosphorylation-dependent manner. Furthermore, our data indicate that sumoylation of PML blocks the interaction, thus preventing degradation of PML by this pathway. Functionally, we show that in the MDA-MB-231 breast cancer cell line modulating levels of Pin1 affects steady-state levels of PML. Furthermore, degradation of PML due to Pin1 acts both to protect these cells from hydrogen peroxide-induced death and to increase the rate of proliferation. Taken together, our work defines a novel mechanism by which sumoylation of PML prevents Pin1-dependent degradation. This interaction likely occurs in numerous cell lines and may be a pathway for oncogenic transformation.
PMCID: PMC2223389  PMID: 18039859
Neuroscience letters  2007;415(3):237-241.
The present study was undertaken to determine if the neuroprotective effect of 17β-estradiol (E2) when administrated after ischemia is dose-dependent and if the therapeutic window for estrogen can be prolonged. Ischemic injury was induced by permanent middle cerebral artery occlusion (p-MCAO). Administration of E2 at 30 minutes after ischemia resulted in a reduction in lesion volume. A higher dose of E2 extended the therapeutic window to 6 hour after cerebral ischemia in 33% of the rats. These findings suggest that postischemic treatment with estrogen affords protection against ischemic damage and that it acts within a clinically useful therapeutic window.
PMCID: PMC1936945  PMID: 17331646
Estrogen; Cerebral-ischemia; Neuroprotection

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