Background Drinking alcohol has a long tradition in Chinese culture. However, data on the prevalence and patterns of alcohol consumption in China, and its main correlates, are limited.
Methods During 2004–08 the China Kadoorie Biobank recruited 512 891 men and women aged 30–79 years from 10 urban and rural areas of China. Detailed information on alcohol consumption was collected using a standardized questionnaire, and related to socio-demographic, physical and behavioural characteristics in men and women separately.
Results Overall, 76% of men and 36% of women reported drinking some alcohol during the past 12 months, with 33% of men and 2% of women drinking at least weekly; the prevalence of weekly drinking in men varied from 7% to 51% across the 10 study areas. Mean consumption was 286 g/week and was higher in those with less education. Most weekly drinkers habitually drank spirits, although this varied by area, and beer consumption was highest among younger drinkers; 37% of male weekly drinkers (12% of all men) reported weekly heavy drinking episodes, with the prevalence highest in younger men. Drinking alcohol was positively correlated with regular smoking, blood pressure and heart rate. Among male weekly drinkers, each 20 g/day alcohol consumed was associated with 2 mmHg higher systolic blood pressure. Potential indicators of problem drinking were reported by 24% of male weekly drinkers.
Conclusion The prevalence and patterns of drinking in China differ greatly by age, sex and geographical region. Alcohol consumption is associated with a number of unfavourable health behaviours and characteristics.
Alcohol; drinking; cohort study; descriptive analysis; China
Ridaforolimus (AP23573, MK-8669 or deforolimus) is an inhibitor of mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR), an important regulator in the cell survival pathway. This open-label, single center phase I study aimed to investigate the pharmacokinetic (PK) and safety profiles of ridaforolimus in Chinese patients with treatment-refractory advanced or relapsed solid tumors. The PK data generated from these Chinese patients were further compared with those previously reported in Caucasian and Japanese patient populations.
The patients were given an oral dose of 40 mg of ridaforolimus on Day 1 of the study. On Day 8, patients were initiated on a treatment regimen that comprised a once daily dose of 40 mg of ridaforolimus for five consecutive days, followed by a 2-day off-drug interval. Patients repeated this regimen until disease progression or intolerance. Blood samples were collected at specific times pre- and post-treatment to establish the PK profile of ridaforolimus in all patients.
Fifteen patients were given at least one dose of 40 mg of ridaforolimus. The median absorption lag-time was 2 hours, the median Tmax was 4 hours and the mean elimination half-life was 53 hours. The accumulation ratio for AUC0-24hr was 1.3 on day 19 (steady state)/day 1 (after a single dose). The most common drug-related adverse events (AEs) that occurred in ≥40% of patients were stomatitis, proteinuria, leukopenia, hyperglycemia, and pyrexia. Grade 3/4 drug-related AEs were anemia, stomatitis, fatigue, thrombocytopenia, constipation, gamma glutamyltransferase increase, and proteinuria. All 11 evaluable patients achieved stable disease.
Oral ridaforolimus at a daily dose of 40 mg were generally well tolerated in Chinese patients with advanced or refractory solid tumors. Adverse events and PK profiles of ridaforolimus in this study were similar to those from Caucasian and Japanese patients reported previously.
MTOR inhibitor; Phase I study; Pharmacokinetic analysis; Adverse event
the bone marrow and the intestine are the major sites of ionizing radiation (IR)-induced injury. Our previous study demonstrated that CpG-oligodeoxynucleotide (ODN) treatment mitigated IR-induced bone marrow injury, but its effect on the intestine is not known. In this study, we sought to determine if CpG-ODN have protective effect on IR-induced intestine injury, and if so, to determine the mechanism of its effect.
Methods and Findings
Mice were treated with CpG-ODN after IR. The body weight and survival were daily monitored for 30 days consecutively after exposure. The number of surviving intestinal crypt was assessed by the microcolony survival assay. The number and the distribution of proliferating cell in crypt were evaluated by TUNEL assay and BrdU assay. The expression of Bcl-2, Bax and caspase-3 in crypt were analyzed by Immunohistochemistry assay. The findings showed that the treatment for irradiated mice with CpG-ODN diminished body weight loss, improved 30 days survival, enhanced intestinal crypts survival and maintained proliferating cell population and regeneration in crypt. The reason might involve that CpG-ODN up-regulated the expression of Bcl-2 protein and down-regulated the expression of Bax protein and caspase-3 protein.
CpG-ODN was effective in protection of IR-induced intestine injury by enhancing intestinal crypts survival and maintaining proliferating cell population and regeneration in crypt. The mechanism might be that CpG-ODN inhibits proliferating cell apoptosis through regulating the expression of apoptosis-related protein, such as Bax, Bcl-2 and caspase-3.
To investigate the potential usage of biological delivery membranes containing mitomycin C (MMC) or 5-fluorouracil (5-FU) in the construction of glaucoma-filtering blebs, and to evaluate their safety and efficacy.
Chitosan was selected as the biological membrane carrier to prepare sustained-released membranes. Twelve micrograms of 5-FU or MMC was covalently conjugated onto the membranes by solvent volatilization. Rabbits underwent glaucoma filtration surgery and were randomly allocated into one of the four treatment regimens: glaucoma filtration operation with no implantation of chitosan membrane group (as control), drug-free chitosan membrane implantation group (blank/placebo group), membrane containing 5-FU treatment group (5-FU group), and membrane containing MMC treatment group (MMC group). Each group consisted of 12 rabbits. Intraocular pressure (IOP) was measured and evaluated over a 28-day period follow-up preoperatively, then after surgery on days 1, 3, 5, 7, 14, 21, and 28 by Tono-Pen. The aqueous humor was analyzed in each experimental and control groups at days 4, 6, 8, 10, 12, 14, 16, and 20 after operation. Bleb survival and anterior segment were examined with a slit lamp microscope and photographed simultaneously. Two rabbits from each group were killed on day 28 and eight eye samples obtained for histopathological study. Corneas and lenses were examined by transmission and scanning electron microscopy.
Both 5-FU and MMC significantly prolonged bleb survival compared with control groups. The filtering bleb’s survival period was significantly more prolonged in the MMC and 5-FU groups (maintained 14 days) than the other two groups (maintained 7 days). Significantly lower IOP was observed within the control, blank, and 5-FU groups after surgery on day 14 compared with that before operation, with F-values of 6.567, 11.426, and 13.467, respectively (P < 0.01). The most significant lower IOP was recorded in the MMC group on day 28 postoperation (F-value 26.866, P < 0.01). No obvious abnormalities were found in cornea or anterior lens capsule 28 days after surgery.
The study provided evidence that 5-FU and MMC biological delivery membranes could significantly improve the outcome of filtering procedures, the survival of the bleb, and maintenance of lower IOP. MMC membrane is superior to 5-FU, with regard to the more effective reduction of IOP. The results indicated a safe and effective treatment strategy in glaucoma surgery.
chitosan; biological delivery; mitomycin C (MMC); 5-fluorouracil (5-FU); glaucoma
Brain metastasis of breast cancer profoundly affects the cognitive and sensory functions as well as morbidity of patients, and the 1 year survival rate among these patients remains less than 20%. However, the pathological mechanism of brain metastasis is as yet poorly understood. In this report, we found that metastatic breast tumour cells in the brain highly expressed IL-1β which then ‘activated’ surrounding astrocytes. This activation significantly augmented the expression of JAG1 in the astrocytes, and the direct interaction of the reactivated astrocytes and cancer stem-like cells (CSCs) significantly stimulated Notch signalling in CSCs. We also found that the activated Notch signalling in CSCs up-regulated HES5 followed by promoting self-renewal of CSCs. Furthermore, we have shown that the blood-brain barrier permeable Notch inhibitor, Compound E, can significantly suppress the brain metastasis in vivo. These results represent a novel paradigm for the understanding of how metastatic breast CSCs re-establish their niche for their self-renewal in a totally different microenvironment, which opens a new avenue to identify a novel and specific target for the brain metastatic disease.
cancer stem-like cell; IL-1β; metastasis; notch; reactive astrocytes
Selectively facilitating apoptosis of activated T cells is essential for the clearance of pathogenic injurious cells and subsequent efficient resolution of inflammation. However, few chemicals have been reported to trigger apoptosis of activated T cells for the treatment of hepatitis without affecting quiescent T cells. In the present study, we found that asiatic acid, a natural triterpenoid, selectively triggered apoptosis of concanavalin A (Con A)-activated T cells in a mitochondria-dependent manner indicated by the disruption of the mitochondrial transmembrane potential, release of cytochrome c from mitochondria to cytosol, caspases activation, and cleavage of PARP. In addition, asiatic acid also induced the cleavage of caspase 8 and Bid and augmented Fas expression in Con A-activated T cells. However, following activation of T cells from MRLlpr/lpr mice with mutation of Fas demonstrated a similar susceptibility to asiatic acid-induced apoptosis compared with normal T cells, suggesting that Fas-mediated death-receptor apoptotic pathway does not mainly contribute to asiatic acid-induced cell death. Furthermore, asiatic acid significantly alleviated Con A-induced T cell-dependent fulminant hepatitis in mice, as assessed by reduced serum transaminases, pro-inflammatory cytokines, and pathologic parameters. Consistent with the in vitro results, asiatic acid also induced apoptosis of activated CD4+ T cells in vivo. Taken together, our results demonstrated that the ability of asiatic acid to induce apoptosis of activated T cells and its potential use in the treatment of T-cell-mediated inflammatory diseases.
Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) exert their anti-cancer effects through cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2)-dependent and -independent mechanisms. Here we report that Sulindac, an NSAID, induces apoptosis by binding to retinoid X receptor-α (RXRα). We identified an N-terminally-truncated RXRα (tRXRα) in several cancer cell lines and primary tumors, which interacted with the p85α subunit of phosphatidylinositol-3-OH kinase (PI3K). Tumor necrosis factor-α (TNFα) promoted tRXRα interaction with the p85α, activating PI3K/AKT signaling. When combined with TNFα, Sulindac inhibited TNFα-induced tRXRα/p85α interaction, leading to activation of the death receptor-mediated apoptotic pathway. We designed and synthesized a Sulindac analog K-80003, which has increased affinity to RXRα but lacks COX inhibitory activity. K-80003 displayed enhanced efficacy in inhibiting tRXRα-dependent AKT activation and tRXRα tumor growth in animals.
While reversible histone modifications are linked to an ever-expanding range of biological functions1–5, the demethylases for histone H4 lysine 20 and their potential regulatory roles remain unknown. Here, we report that the PHD and Jumonji C (JmjC) domain-containing protein, PHF8, while utilizing multiple substrates, including H3K9me1/2 and H3K27me2, also functions as an H4K20me1 demethylase. PHF8 is recruited to promoters by its PHD domain based on interaction with H3K4me2/3 and controls G1/S transition in conjunction with E2F1, HCF-1 and Set1A, at least in part, by removing the repressive H4K20me1 mark from a subset of E2F1-regulated gene promoters. Phosphorylation-dependent PHF8 dismissal from chromatin in prophase is apparently required for the accumulation of H4K20me1 during early mitosis, which might represent a component of the Condensin II loading process. Accordingly, the HEAT repeat clusters in two non-SMC Condensin II subunits, N-CAPD3 and N-CAPG2, are capable of recognizing H4K20me1, and ChIP-seq. analysis demonstrate a significant overlap of Condensin II and H4K20me1 sites in mitotic HeLa cells. Thus, the identification and characterization of the first H4K20me1 demethylase, PHF8, has revealed an intimate link between this enzyme and two distinct events in cell cycle progression.
Most of our knowledge about chronic musculoskeletal pain is based on cutaneous pain models. To test the hypothesis that animals develop chronic muscular hyperalgesia following intramuscular acidic saline injections, primary hyperalgesia within the gastrocnemius muscle was analyzed and compared to secondary cutaneous hyperalgesia in the hind paw that develops following intramuscular acid saline injection. Two acidic saline (pH 4.0) injections were administrated into the gastrocnemius of female CF-1 mice. The results indicate that mice developed a robust hypersensitivity bilaterally in primary (gastrocnemius muscle) and secondary (cutaneous hind paw) sites that lasted up to 2 weeks. In addition, primary hyperalgesia correlated well with levels of Fos expression. Fos expression patterns in the spinal cord were different for primary and secondary site stimulation. Hind paw palpation stimulated ipsilateral Fos expression in the superficial spinal laminae at L4/L5 levels, and bilaterally in deep laminae at L2-L5 spinal levels. In contrast, gastrocnemius compression stimulated widespread Fos expression in all regions of the ipsilateral dorsal horn within L2-L6 spinal segments. These findings indicate that acidic saline injection induces primary hyperalgesia in muscle and that the patterns of Fos expression in response to primary versus secondary stimulation are strikingly different.
Fos; spinal cord; muscle pain; acidic saline; mice; cutaneous pain
Community acquired (CA) methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) increasingly causes disease worldwide. USA300 has emerged as the predominant clone causing superficial and invasive infections in children and adults in the USA. Epidemiological studies suggest that USA300 is more virulent than other CA-MRSA. The genetic determinants that render virulence and dominance to USA300 remain unclear.
We sequenced the genomes of two pediatric USA300 isolates: one CA-MRSA and one CA-methicillin susceptible (MSSA), isolated at Texas Children's Hospital in Houston. DNA sequencing was performed by Sanger dideoxy whole genome shotgun (WGS) and 454 Life Sciences pyrosequencing strategies. The sequence of the USA300 MRSA strain was rigorously annotated. In USA300-MRSA 2658 chromosomal open reading frames were predicted and 3.1 and 27 kilobase (kb) plasmids were identified. USA300-MSSA contained a 20 kb plasmid with some homology to the 27 kb plasmid found in USA300-MRSA. Two regions found in US300-MRSA were absent in USA300-MSSA. One of these carried the arginine deiminase operon that appears to have been acquired from S. epidermidis. The USA300 sequence was aligned with other sequenced S. aureus genomes and regions unique to USA300 MRSA were identified.
USA300-MRSA is highly similar to other MRSA strains based on whole genome alignments and gene content, indicating that the differences in pathogenesis are due to subtle changes rather than to large-scale acquisition of virulence factor genes. The USA300 Houston isolate differs from another sequenced USA300 strain isolate, derived from a patient in San Francisco, in plasmid content and a number of sequence polymorphisms. Such differences will provide new insights into the evolution of pathogens.
Bacillus spores are notoriously resistant to unfavorable conditions such as UV radiation, γ-radiation, H2O2, desiccation, chemical disinfection, or starvation. Bacillus pumilus SAFR-032 survives standard decontamination procedures of the Jet Propulsion Lab spacecraft assembly facility, and both spores and vegetative cells of this strain exhibit elevated resistance to UV radiation and H2O2 compared to other Bacillus species.
The genome of B. pumilus SAFR-032 was sequenced and annotated. Lists of genes relevant to DNA repair and the oxidative stress response were generated and compared to B. subtilis and B. licheniformis. Differences in conservation of genes, gene order, and protein sequences are highlighted because they potentially explain the extreme resistance phenotype of B. pumilus. The B. pumilus genome includes genes not found in B. subtilis or B. licheniformis and conserved genes with sequence divergence, but paradoxically lacks several genes that function in UV or H2O2 resistance in other Bacillus species.
This study identifies several candidate genes for further research into UV and H2O2 resistance. These findings will help explain the resistance of B. pumilus and are applicable to understanding sterilization survival strategies of microbes.
FK506, structurally similar to FK520 and rapamycin, is an α-keto amide bonding-containing, macrolide natural product that exhibits potent immunosuppressive activity and moderate antifungal activity. FK506 biosynthesis requires a hybrid polyketide synthase (PKS)-nonribosomal peptide synthetase (NRPS) system to construct the skeleton of the macrolide. The mechanism for tailoring this macrolide to furnish FK506 remains poorly understood. In this study, we report a maturation paradigm common for FK506, FK520, and rapamycin, by characterizing two conserved regiospecific, post-PKS-NRPS modifications in an FK506-producing Streptomyces tsukubaensis strain. A cytochrome P450 protein, FkbD, catalyzes a less common, four-electron oxidation at C-9 to give a rarely found α-keto amide group, whereas a methyltransferase, FkbM, is responsible for O-methylation at C-31 to afford a methoxy group. Both FkbD and FkbM are highly tolerant in their substrate choice; therefore, the order of FkbD- and FkbM-catalyzed reactions is interchangeable in the FK506 biosynthetic pathway. Inactivation of fkbD produced a new intermediate, 9-deoxo-FK506, which displayed antifungal activity lower than that of FK506. Taking previously reported bioassay results regarding the intermediates 9-deoxo-31-O-demethyl-FK506 and 31-O-demethyl-FK506 into account, it is clear that the modifications catalyzed by FkbD and FkbM are of importance to reach the full biological activity of FK506 by forming a key structure motif that is necessary for interaction of the molecule with the receptor and, subsequently, the downstream intracellular responses.
Regulation of genes that initiate and amplify inflammatory programs of gene expression is achieved by signal-dependent exchange of co-regulator complexes that function to read, write and erase specific histone modifications linked to transcriptional activation or repression. Here, we provide evidence for the role of trimethylated histone H4 lysine 20 (H4K20me3) as a repression checkpoint that restricts expression of toll like receptor 4 (TLR4) target genes in macrophages. H4K20me3 is deposited at the promoters of a subset of these genes by the SMYD5 histone methyltransferase through its association with NCoR corepressor complexes. Signal-dependent erasure of H4K20me3 is required for effective gene activation and is achieved by NF-κB-dependent delivery of the histone demethylase PHF2. Liver X receptors antagonize TLR4-dependent gene activation by maintaining NCoR/SMYD5-mediated repression. These findings reveal a histone H4K20 tri-methylation/de-methylation strategy that integrates positive and negative signaling inputs that control immunity and homeostasis.
The Src homology 2 domain-containing tyrosine phosphatase 2 (SHP-2) has been reported to have both tumor-promoting and tumor-suppressing roles in tumorigenesis. However, the role of SHP-2 in tumor immunity remains unclear. Here we observed progressively lower levels of phosphorylated SHP-2 in tumor-associated CD4+ T cells during melanoma development in a murine model. Similarly, the levels of phosphorylated SHP-2 in the CD4+ T cells of human melanoma specimens revealed a decrease paralleling cancer development. The CD4+ T cell-specific deletion of SHP-2 promoted melanoma metastasis in mice. Furthermore, SHP-2 deficiency in CD4+ T cells resulted in the increased release of inflammatory cytokines, especially IL-6, and the enhanced accumulation of tumor-promoting myeloid-derived suppressor cells (MDSCs) in tumor-bearing mice. An IL-6-neutralizing antibody reduced MDSC accumulation and inhibited tumor growth in CD4+ T-cell-specific SHP-2-knockout mice. Our results suggest that SHP-2 in CD4+ T cells plays an important role in preventing melanoma progression and metastasis.
Recent studies have identified Rhesus proteins as important molecules for ammonia transport in acid-secreting intercalated cells in the distal nephron. Here, we provide evidence for an additional molecule that can mediate NH3/NH4 excretion, the subtype 2 of the hyperpolarization-activated cyclic nucleotide-gated channel family (HCN2), in collecting ducts in rat renal cortex and medulla. Chronic metabolic acidosis in rats did not alter HCN2 protein expression but downregulated the relative abundance of HCN2 mRNA. Its cDNA was identical to the homolog from the brain and the protein was post-translationally modified by N-type glycosylation. Electrophysiological recordings in Xenopus oocytes injected with HCN2 cRNA found that potassium was transported better than ammonium, each of which was transported significantly better than sodium, criteria that are compatible with a role for HCN2 in ammonium transport. In microperfused rat outer medullary collecting duct segments, the initial rate of acidification, upon exposure to a basolateral ammonium chloride pulse, was higher in intercalated than in principal cells. A specific inhibitor of HCN2 (ZD7288) decreased acidification only in intercalated cells from control rats. In rats with chronic metabolic acidosis, the rate of acidification doubled in both intercalated and principal cells; however, ZD7288 had no significant inhibitory effect. Thus, HCN2 is a basolateral ammonium transport pathway of intercalated cells and may contribute to the renal regulation of body pH under basal conditions.
acid-base homeostasis; ammonium; collecting duct; hyperpolarization-activated cyclic nucleotide-gated channel; intercalated cell
Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) is an increasingly popular technique for examining neurobiology in rodents because it is both noninvasive and nondestructive. MRI scans can be acquired from either live or post mortem specimens. In vivo scans have a key advantage in that subjects can be scanned at multiple time-points in longitudinal studies. However, repeated exposure to anesthesia and stress may confound studies. In contrast, post mortem scans offer improved image quality and increased signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) due to several key advantages: First, the images are not disrupted by motion and pulsation artifacts. Second, they allow the brain tissue to be perfused with contrast agents, enhancing tissue contrast. Third, they allow longer image acquisition times, yielding higher resolution and/or improved SNR. Fourth, they allow assessment of groups of animals at the same age without scheduling complications. Despite these advantages, researchers are often skeptical of post mortem MRI scans because of uncertainty about whether the fixation process alters the MRI measurements. To address these concerns, we present a thorough comparative study of in vivo and post mortem MRI scans in healthy male Wistar rats at three age points throughout adolescence (postnatal days 28 through 80). For each subject, an in vivo scan was acquired, followed by perfusion and two post mortem scans at two different MRI facilities. The goal was to assess robustness of measurements, to detect any changes in volumetric measurements after fixation, and to investigate any differential bias that may exist between image acquisition techniques. We present this volumetric analysis for comparison of 22 anatomical structures between in vivo and post mortem scans. No significant changes in volumetric measurements were detected; however, as hypothesized, the image quality is dramatically improved in post mortem scans. These findings illustrate the validity and utility of using post mortem scans in volumetric neurobiological studies.
Aspirin, a major anti-platelet and cancer preventing drug, irreversibly blocks the cyclooxygenase activity of prostaglandin H synthase-1 (PGHS-1). Considerable differences in aspirin effectiveness are observed between individuals, and some of this variability may be due to PGHS-1 protein variants. Our overall aim is to determine which, if any, of the known variants in the mature PGHS-1 protein lead to functional alterations in cyclooxygenase catalysis or inhibition by aspirin. The present study targeted four PGHS-1 variants: R53H, R108Q, L237M and V481I.
Wildtype human PGHS-1 and the four polymorphic variants were expressed as histidine-tagged, homodimeric proteins in insect cells using baculovirus vectors, solubilized with detergent, and purified by affinity chromatography. The purified proteins were characterized in vitro to evaluate cyclooxygenase and peroxidase catalytic parameters and the kinetics of cyclooxygenase inhibition by aspirin and NS-398.
Compared to wildtype, several variants exhibited a higher COX/POX ratio (up to 1.5-fold, for R108Q), an elevated arachidonate Km (up to 1.9-fold, for R108Q), and/or a lower aspirin reactivity (up to 60% less, for R108Q). The decreased aspirin reactivity in R108Q reflected both a 70% increase in the Ki for aspirin and a 30% decrease in the rate constant for acetyl group transfer to the protein. Computational modeling of the brief aspirin pulses experienced by PGHS-1 in circulating platelets during daily aspirin dosing predicted that the 60% lower aspirin reactivity in R108Q gives a 15-fold increase in surviving cyclooxygenase activity; smaller, ~2-fold increases in surviving cyclooxygenase activity were predicted for L237M and V481I. NS-398 competitively inhibited cyclooxygenase catalysis of the wildtype (Ki = 6 μM) and inhibited cyclooxygenase inactivation by 1.0 mM aspirin in both wildtype (IC50 = 0.8 μM) and R108Q (IC50 = 2.1 μM).
Of the four PGHS-1 variants examined, R108Q has the largest functional effects, with evidence for impaired interactions with cyclooxygenase substrate and inhibitors. As Arg108 is located on the protein surface and not in the active site, the effects of R108Q suggest a novel, unsuspected mechanism for modulation of the PGHS-1 active site structure. The lower intrinsic aspirin reactivity of R108Q, V481I and L237M, combined with the rapid hydrolysis of aspirin in the blood, suggests that these variants decrease the anti-platelet effectiveness of the drug. These PGHS-1 variants are uncommon but aspirin is very widely used, so a considerable number of individuals could b e affected. Further examination of these and other PGHS-1 variants will be needed to determine whether PGHS-1 genotyping can be used to personalize anti-cyclooxygenase therapy.
prostaglandin H synthase-1; polymorphisms; cyclooxygenase; aspirin
miRNA biogenesis enzyme Drosha cleaves double-stranded primary miRNA by interacting with double-stranded RNA binding protein DGCR8 and processes primary miRNA into precursor miRNA to participate in the miRNA biogenesis pathway. The role of Drosha in vascular smooth muscle cells (VSMCs) has not been well addressed. We generated Drosha conditional knockout (cKO) mice by crossing VSMC-specific Cre mice, SM22-Cre, with Drosha loxp/loxp mice. Disruption of Drosha in VSMCs resulted in embryonic lethality at E14.5 with severe liver hemorrhage in mutant embryos. No obvious developmental delay was observed in Drosha cKO embryos. The vascular structure was absent in the yolk sac of Drosha homozygotes at E14.5. Loss of Drosha reduced VSMC proliferation in vitro and in vivo. The VSMC differentiation marker genes, including αSMA, SM22, and CNN1, and endothelial cell marker CD31 were significantly downregulated in Drosha cKO mice compared to controls. ERK1/2 mitogen-activated protein kinase and the phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase/AKT were attenuated in VSMCs in vitro and in vivo. Disruption of Drosha in VSMCs of mice leads to the dysregulation of miRNA expression. Using bioinformatics approach, the interactions between dysregulated miRNAs and their target genes were analyzed. Our data demonstrated that Drosha is required for VSMC survival by targeting multiple signaling pathways.
The radiation-induced energy metabolism dysfunction related to injury and radiation doses is largely elusive. The purpose of this study is to investigate the early response of energy metabolism in small intestinal tissue and its correlation with pathologic lesion after total body X-ray irradiation (TBI) in Tibet minipigs.
Methods and Results
30 Tibet minipigs were assigned into 6 groups including 5 experimental groups and one control group with 6 animals each group. The minipigs in these experimental groups were subjected to a TBI of 2, 5, 8, 11, and 14 Gy, respectively. Small intestine tissues were collected at 24 h following X-ray exposure and analyzed by histology and high performance liquid chromatography (HPLC). DNA contents in this tissue were also examined. Irradiation causes pathologic lesions and mitochondrial abnormalities. The Deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) content-corrected and uncorrected adenosine-triphosphate (ATP) and total adenine nucleotides (TAN) were significantly reduced in a dose-dependent manner by 2–8 Gy exposure, and no further reduction was observed over 8 Gy.
TBI induced injury is highly dependent on the irradiation dosage in small intestine and inversely correlates with the energy metabolism, with its reduction potentially indicating the severity of injury.
FK506 is a potent immunosuppressant that has a wide range of clinical applications. Its 23-member macrocyclic scaffold, mainly with a polyketide origin, features two methoxy groups at C-13 and C-15 and one allyl side chain at C-21, due to the region-specific incorporation of two unusual extender units derived from methoxymalonyl-acyl carrier protein (ACP) and allylmalonyl-coenzyme A (CoA), respectively. Whether their intracellular formations can be a bottleneck for FK506 production remains elusive. In this study, we report the improvement of FK506 yield in the producing strain Streptomyces tsukubaensis by the duplication of two sets of pathway-specific genes individually encoding the biosyntheses of these two extender units, thereby providing a promising approach to generate high-FK506-producing strains via genetic manipulation. Taking advantage of the fact that S. tsukubaensis is amenable to two actinophage (ΦC31 and VWB) integrase-mediated recombination systems, we genetically enhanced the biosyntheses of methoxymalonyl-ACP and allylmalonyl-CoA, as indicated by transcriptional analysis. Together with the optimization of glucose supplementation, the maximal FK506 titer eventually increased by approximately 150% in comparison with that of the original strain. The strategy of engineering the biosynthesis of unusual extender units described here may be applicable to improving the production of other polyketide or nonribosomal peptide natural products that contain pathway-specific building blocks.
The molecular mechanisms that operate within the organ microenvironment to support metastatic progression remain unclear. Here we report that upregulation of the hyaluronan synthase HAS2 occurs in highly metastatic breast stem-like cancer cells (CSCs) defined by CD44+/CD24−/ESA+ phenotype, where it plays a critical role in the generation of a pro-metastatic microenvironment in breast cancer. HAS2 was critical for interaction of CSCs with tumor associated macrophages (TAMs), leading to enhanced secretion of PDGF-BB from TAMs which then activated stromal cells and enhanced CSC self-renewal. Loss of HAS2 in CSCs or treatment with 4-methylumbelliferone (4-MU), an inhibitor of hyaluronan synthases which blocks hyaluronan production, drastically reduced the incidence and growth of metastatic lesions in vitro or in vivo, respectively. Taken together, our findings demonstrate a critical role for HAS2 in the development of a pro-metastatic microenvironment and suggest that HAS2 inhibitors can act as anti-metastatic agents that disrupt a paracrine growth factor loop within this microenvironment.
tumor associated macrophages; microenvironment; HAS2
Substance abuse typically begins in adolescence; therefore, the impact of alcohol during this critical time in brain development is of particular importance. Epidemiological data indicate that excessive alcohol consumption is prevalent among adolescents and may have lasting neurobehavioral consequences. Loss of cholinergic input to the forebrain has been demonstrated following fetal alcohol exposure and in adults with Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome. In the present study, immunohistochemistry for choline acetyltransferase (ChAT) was determined to assess forebrain cholinergic neurons (Ch1–4), and behavioral changes following periadolescent alcohol exposure. Wistar rats were exposed to intermittent ethanol vapor (14 hrs on/10 hrs off/day) for 35 days from PD 22-PD 57 (average blood alcohol concentration (BAC): 163 mg%). Rats were withdrawn from vapor and assessed for locomotor activity, startle response, conflict behavior in the open field, and immobility in the forced swim test, as adults. Rats were then sacrificed at day 71/72 and perfused for histochemical analyses. Ethanol vapor exposed rats displayed: increased locomotor activity 8 hrs after the termination of vapor delivery for that 24 hr period at day 10 and day 20 of alcohol vapor exposure, significant reductions in the amplitude of their responses to prepulse stimuli during the startle paradigm at 24 hrs withdrawal, and at two weeks following withdrawal, less anxiety-like and/or more “disinhibitory” behavior in the open field conflict, and more immobility in the forced swim test. Quantitative analyses of ChAT immunoreactivity revealed a significant reduction in cell counts in the Ch1–2 and Ch3–4 regions of the basal forebrain in ethanol vapor exposed rats. This reduction in cell counts was significantly correlated with less anxiety-like and/or more “disinhibitory” behavior in the open field conflict test. These studies demonstrate that behavioral measures of arousal, affective state, disinhibitory behavior and ChAT+IR, are all significantly impacted by periadolescent ethanol exposure and withdrawal in Wistar rats.
Adolescent; alcohol exposure; ChAT; forced swim test; open field conflict; startle
Thiopeptides are a growing class of sulfur-rich, highly modified heterocyclic peptides that are mainly active against Gram-positive bacteria including various drug-resistant pathogens. Recent studies also reveal that many thiopeptides inhibit the proliferation of human cancer cells, further expanding their application potentials for clinical use. Thiopeptide biosynthesis shares a common paradigm, featuring a ribosomally synthesized precursor peptide and conserved posttranslational modifications, to afford a characteristic core system, but differs in tailoring to furnish individual members. Identification of new thiopeptide gene clusters, by taking advantage of increasing information of DNA sequences from bacteria, may facilitate new thiopeptide discovery and enrichment of the unique biosynthetic elements to produce novel drug leads by applying the principle of combinatorial biosynthesis. In this study, we have developed a web-based tool ThioFinder to rapidly identify thiopeptide biosynthetic gene cluster from DNA sequence using a profile Hidden Markov Model approach. Fifty-four new putative thiopeptide biosynthetic gene clusters were found in the sequenced bacterial genomes of previously unknown producing microorganisms. ThioFinder is fully supported by an open-access database ThioBase, which contains the sufficient information of the 99 known thiopeptides regarding the chemical structure, biological activity, producing organism, and biosynthetic gene (cluster) along with the associated genome if available. The ThioFinder website offers researchers a unique resource and great flexibility for sequence analysis of thiopeptide biosynthetic gene clusters. ThioFinder is freely available at http://db-mml.sjtu.edu.cn/ThioFinder/.
Human duodenal cytochrome b (Dcytb) is a transmembrane hemoprotein found in the duodenal brush border membrane and in erythrocytes. Dcytb has been linked to uptake of dietary iron and to ascorbate recycling in erythrocytes. Detailed biophysical and biochemical characterization of Dcytb has been limited by difficulties in expressing sufficient amounts of functional recombinant protein in yeast and insect cell systems. We have developed an E. coli Rosetta-gami B(DE3) cell system for production of recombinant His-tagged human Dcytb with a yield of ~26 mg of purified, ascorbate-reducible cytochrome per liter of culture. The recombinant protein is readily solubilized with n-dodecyl-β-D-maltoside and purified to electrophoretic homogeneity by one-step chromatography on cobalt affinity resin. The purified recombinant Dcytb has a heme to protein ratio very close to the theoretical value of two and retains functional reactivity with ascorbate, as assessed by spectroscopic and kinetic measurements. Ascorbate showed a marked kinetic selectivity for the high-potential heme center over the low-potential heme center in purified Dcytb. This new E. coli expression system for Dcytb offers ~7-fold improvement in yield and other substantial advantages over existing expression systems for reliable production of functional Dcytb at levels suitable for biochemical, biophysical and structural characterization.
Duodenal cytochrome b; ascorbate-dependent cytochrome b561; transmembrane hemoprotein; Escherichia coli Rosetta-gami B(DE3) expression system