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1.  Childhood Sexual Abuse and the Development of Recurrent Major Depression in Chinese Women 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(1):e87569.
Our prior study in Han Chinese women has shown that women with a history of childhood sexual abuse (CSA) are at increased risk for developing major depression (MD). Would this relationship be found in our whole data set?
Three levels of CSA (non-genital, genital, and intercourse) were assessed by self-report in two groups of Han Chinese women: 6017 clinically ascertained with recurrent MD and 5983 matched controls. Diagnostic and other risk factor information was assessed at personal interview. Odds ratios (ORs) were calculated by logistic regression.
We confirmed earlier results by replicating prior analyses in 3,950 new recurrent MD cases. There were no significant differences between the two data sets. Any form of CSA was significantly associated with recurrent MD (OR 4.06, 95% confidence interval (CI) [3.19–5.24]). This association strengthened with increasing CSA severity: non-genital (OR 2.21, 95% CI 1.58–3.15), genital (OR 5.24, 95% CI 3.52–8.15) and intercourse (OR 10.65, 95% CI 5.56–23.71). Among the depressed women, those with CSA had an earlier age of onset, longer depressive episodes. Recurrent MD patients those with CSA had an increased risk for dysthymia (OR 1.60, 95%CI 1.11–2.27) and phobia (OR 1.41, 95%CI 1.09–1.80). Any form of CSA was significantly associated with suicidal ideation or attempt (OR 1.50, 95% CI 1.20–1.89) and feelings of worthlessness or guilt (OR 1.41, 95% CI 1.02–2.02). Intercourse (OR 3.47, 95%CI 1.66–8.22), use of force and threats (OR 1.95, 95%CI 1.05–3.82) and how strongly the victims were affected at the time (OR 1.39, 95%CI 1.20–1.64) were significantly associated with recurrent MD.
In Chinese women CSA is strongly associated with recurrent MD and this association increases with greater severity of CSA. Depressed women with CSA have some specific clinical traits. Some features of CSA were associated with greater likelihood of developing recurrent MD.
PMCID: PMC3906190  PMID: 24489940
2.  Clinical Features of Patients with Dysthymia in a Large Cohort of Han Chinese Women with Recurrent Major Depression 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(12):e83490.
Dysthymia is a form of chronic mild depression that has a complex relationship with major depressive disorder (MDD). Here we investigate the role of environmental risk factors, including stressful life events and parenting style, in patients with both MDD and dysthymia. We ask whether these risk factors act in the same way in MDD with and without dysthymia.
We examined the clinical features in 5,950 Han Chinese women with MDD between 30–60 years of age across China. We confirmed earlier results by replicating prior analyses in 3,950 new MDD cases. There were no significant differences between the two data sets. We identified sixteen stressful life events that significantly increase the risk of dysthymia, given the presence of MDD. Low parental warmth, from either mother or father, increases the risk of dysthymia. Highly threatening but short-lived threats (such as rape) are more specific for MDD than dysthymia. While for MDD more severe life events show the largest odds ratio versus controls, this was not seen for cases of MDD with or without dysthymia.
There are increased rates of stressful life events in MDD with dysthymia, but the impact of life events on susceptibility to dysthymia with MDD differs from that seen for MDD alone. The pattern does not fit a simple dose-response relationship, suggesting that there are moderating factors involved in the relationship between environmental precipitants and the onset of dysthymia. It is possible that severe life events in childhood events index a general susceptibility to chronic depression, rather than acting specifically as risk factors for dysthymia.
PMCID: PMC3873934  PMID: 24386213
3.  Suicidal Risk Factors of Recurrent Major Depression in Han Chinese Women 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(11):e80030.
The relationship between suicidality and major depression is complex. Socio- demography, clinical features, comorbidity, clinical symptoms, and stressful life events are important factors influencing suicide in major depression, but these are not well defined. Thus, the aim of the present study was to assess the associations between the above-mentioned factors and suicide ideation, suicide plan, and suicide attempt in 6008 Han Chinese women with recurrent major depression (MD). Patients with any suicidality had significantly more MD symptoms, a significantly greater number of stressful life events, a positive family history of MD, a greater number of episodes, a significant experience of melancholia, and earlier age of onset. Comorbidity with dysthymia, generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), social phobia, and animal phobia was seen in suicidal patients. The present findings indicate that specific factors act to increase the likelihood of suicide in MD. Our results may help improve the clinical assessment of suicide risk in depressed patients, especially for women.
PMCID: PMC3842272  PMID: 24312196
4.  Synergy between Proteasome Inhibitors and Imatinib Mesylate in Chronic Myeloid Leukemia 
PLoS ONE  2009;4(7):e6257.
Resistance developed by leukemic cells, unsatisfactory efficacy on patients with chronic myeloid leukemia (CML) at accelerated and blastic phases, and potential cardiotoxity, have been limitations for imatinib mesylate (IM) in treating CML. Whether low dose IM in combination with agents of distinct but related mechanisms could be one of the strategies to overcome these concerns warrants careful investigation.
Methods and Findings
We tested the therapeutic efficacies as well as adverse effects of low dose IM in combination with proteasome inhibitor, Bortezomib (BOR) or proteasome inhibitor I (PSI), in two CML murine models, and investigated possible mechanisms of action on CML cells. Our results demonstrated that low dose IM in combination with BOR exerted satisfactory efficacy in prolongation of life span and inhibition of tumor growth in mice, and did not cause cardiotoxicity or body weight loss. Consistently, BOR and PSI enhanced IM-induced inhibition of long-term clonogenic activity and short-term cell growth of CML stem/progenitor cells, and potentiated IM-caused inhibition of proliferation and induction of apoptosis of BCR-ABL+ cells. IM/BOR and IM/PSI inhibited Bcl-2, increased cytoplasmic cytochrome C, and activated caspases. While exerting suppressive effects on BCR-ABL, E2F1, and β-catenin, IM/BOR and IM/PSI inhibited proteasomal degradation of protein phosphatase 2A (PP2A), leading to a re-activation of this important negative regulator of BCR-ABL. In addition, both combination therapties inhibited Bruton's tyrosine kinase via suppression of NFκB.
These data suggest that combined use of tyrosine kinase inhibitor and proteasome inhibitor might be helpful for optimizing CML treatment.
PMCID: PMC2705802  PMID: 19606213
5.  The impact of educational status on the clinical features of major depressive disorder among Chinese women 
Journal of Affective Disorders  2012;136(3):988-992.
Years of education are inversely related to the prevalence of major depressive disorder (MDD), but the relationship between the clinical features of MDD and educational status is poorly understood. We investigated this in 1970 Chinese women with recurrent MDD identified in a clinical setting.
Clinical and demographic features were obtained from 1970 Han Chinese women with DSM-IV major depression between 30 and 60 years of age across China. Analysis of linear, logistic and multiple logistic regression models were used to determine the association between educational level and clinical features of MDD.
Subjects with more years of education are more likely to have MDD, with an odds ratio of 1.14 for those with more than ten years. Low educational status is not associated with an increase in the number of episodes, nor with increased rates of co-morbidity with anxiety disorders. Education impacts differentially on the symptoms of depression: lower educational attainment is associated with more biological symptoms and increased suicidal ideation and plans to commit suicide.
Findings may not generalize to males or to other patient populations. Since the threshold for treatment seeking differs as a function of education there may an ascertainment bias in the sample.
The relationship between symptoms of MDD and educational status in Chinese women is unexpectedly complex. Our findings are inconsistent with the simple hypothesis from European and US reports that low levels of educational attainment increase the risk and severity of MDD.
PMCID: PMC3314924  PMID: 21824664
Major depressive disorder; Education; Socio-economic status; Symptom
6.  The Distribution and Common Amino Acid Polymorphisms of Human Papillomavirus (HPV)-31 Variants in 2700 Women from Northern China 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(6):e99141.
To investigate the distribution of Human papillomavirus (HPV)-31 A, B and C variants as well as the common amino acid polymorphisms in Chinese women, all 14 HPV-31 positive cervical exfoliated cell specimens identified from a descriptive study including ∼2700 women from Northern China were analyzed. HPV-31 positive specimens were identified by Mass Spectrometry and the fragments of partial Long Control Region, E6 and E7 were amplified and directly sequenced or cloned into vector and then sequenced to confirm the variant information. HPV-31 prevalence in Northern Chinese female population was 0.52%. Six different sequences represented all 14 isolates, and these isolates were subsequently classified into variant lineage A (9), B (0) and C (5) by phylogenetic analysis. Five common amino acid polymorphism sites (2 in E6 and 3 in E7) and a novel non-synonymous mutation were detected in the current study. Our investigation suggested that HPV-31 was much less detected in Chinese women population than that in western countries. A and C variants were commonly detected while B variants were rarely detected in this population.
PMCID: PMC4047102  PMID: 24901850
7.  Transplantation of umbilical cord and bone marrow-derived mesenchymal stem cells in a patient with relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis 
Cell Adhesion & Migration  2013;7(5):404-407.
There is currently great interest in the use of mesenchymal stem cells as a therapy for multiple sclerosis with potential to both ameliorate inflammatory processes as well as improve regeneration and repair. Although most clinical studies have used autologous bone marrow-derived mesenchymal stem cells, other sources such as allogeneic umbilical cord-derived cells may provide a more accessible and practical supply of cells for transplantation. In this case report we present the treatment of aggressive multiple sclerosis with multiple allogenic human umbilical cord-derived mesenchymal stem cell and autologous bone marrow-derived mesenchymal stem cells over a 4 y period. The treatments were tolerated well with no significant adverse events. Clinical and radiological disease appeared to be suppressed following the treatments and support the expansion of mesenchymal stem cell transplantation into clinical trials as a potential novel therapy for patients with aggressive multiple sclerosis.
PMCID: PMC3903683  PMID: 24192520
mesenchymal stem cell; multiple sclerosis; stem cells; MS; axon; myelination; regeneration; transplantation
8.  Deletion of C7L and K1L Genes Leads to Significantly Decreased Virulence of Recombinant Vaccinia Virus TianTan 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(7):e68115.
The vaccinia virus TianTan (VTT) has been modified as an HIV vaccine vector in China and has shown excellent performance in immunogenicity and safety. However, its adverse effects in immunosuppressed individuals warrant the search for a safer vector in the following clinic trails. In this study, we deleted the C7L and K1L genes of VTT and constructed six recombinant vaccinia strains VTT△C7L, VTT△K1L, VTT△C7LK1L, VTKgpe△C7L, VTKgpe△K1L and VTT△C7LK1L-gag. The pathogenicity and immunogenicity of these recombinants were evaluated in mouse and rabbit models. Comparing to parental VTT, VTT△C7L and VTT△K1L showed significantly decreased replication capability in CEF, Vero, BHK-21 and HeLa cell lines. In particular, replication of VTT△C7LK1L decreased more than 10-fold in all four cell lines. The virulence of all these mutants were decreased in BALB/c mouse and rabbit models; VTT△C7LK1L once again showed the greatest attenuation, having resulted in no evident damage in mice and erythema of only 0.4 cm diameter in rabbits, compared to 1.48 cm for VTT. VTKgpe△C7L, VTKgpe△K1L and VTT△C7LK1L-gag elicited as strong cellular and humoral responses against HIV genes as did VTKgpe, while humoral immune response against the vaccinia itself was reduced by 4-8-fold. These data show that deletion of C7L and K1L genes leads to significantly decreased virulence without compromising animal host immunogenicity, and may thus be key to creating a more safe and effective HIV vaccine vector.
PMCID: PMC3698190  PMID: 23840887
9.  Cytosine Methylation Alteration in Natural Populations of Leymus chinensis Induced by Multiple Abiotic Stresses 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(2):e55772.
Human activity has a profound effect on the global environment and caused frequent occurrence of climatic fluctuations. To survive, plants need to adapt to the changing environmental conditions through altering their morphological and physiological traits. One known mechanism for phenotypic innovation to be achieved is environment-induced rapid yet inheritable epigenetic changes. Therefore, the use of molecular techniques to address the epigenetic mechanisms underpinning stress adaptation in plants is an important and challenging topic in biological research. In this study, we investigated the impact of warming, nitrogen (N) addition, and warming+nitrogen (N) addition stresses on the cytosine methylation status of Leymus chinensis Tzvel. at the population level by using the amplified fragment length polymorphism (AFLP), methylation-sensitive amplified polymorphism (MSAP) and retrotransposon based sequence-specific amplification polymorphism (SSAP) techniques.
Methodology/Principal Findings
Our results showed that, although the percentages of cytosine methylation changes in SSAP are significantly higher than those in MSAP, all the treatment groups showed similar alteration patterns of hypermethylation and hypomethylation. It meant that the abiotic stresses have induced the alterations in cytosine methylation patterns, and the levels of cytosine methylation changes around the transposable element are higher than the other genomic regions. In addition, the identification and analysis of differentially methylated loci (DML) indicated that the abiotic stresses have also caused targeted methylation changes at specific loci and these DML might have contributed to the capability of plants in adaptation to the abiotic stresses.
Our results demonstrated that abiotic stresses related to global warming and nitrogen deposition readily evoke alterations of cytosine methylation, and which may provide a molecular basis for rapid adaptation by the affected plant populations to the changed environments.
PMCID: PMC3572093  PMID: 23418457
10.  Xenon preconditioning: molecular mechanisms and biological effects 
Xenon is one of noble gases and has been recognized as an anesthetic for more than 50 years. Xenon possesses many of the characteristics of an ideal anesthetic, but it is not widely applied in clinical practice mainly because of its high cost. In recent years, numerous studies have demonstrated that xenon as an anesthetic can exert neuroprotective and cardioprotective effects in different models. Moreover, xenon has been applied in the preconditioning, and the neuroprotective and cardioprotective effects of xenon preconditioning have been investigated in a lot of studies in which some mechanisms related to these protections are proposed. In this review, we summarized these mechanisms and the biological effects of xenon preconditioning.
PMCID: PMC3547746  PMID: 23305274
Xenon; Preconditioning; Neuroprotection; Cardioprotection; Mechanism
11.  Oncometabolite 2-Hydroxyglutarate Is a Competitive Inhibitor of α-Ketoglutarate-Dependent Dioxygenases 
Cancer cell  2011;19(1):17-30.
IDH1 and IDH2 mutations occur frequently in gliomas and acute myeloid leukemia, leading to simultaneous loss and gain of activities in the production of α-ketoglutarate (α-KG) and 2-hydroxyglutarate (2-HG), respectively. Here we demonstrate that 2-HG is a competitive inhibitor of multiple α-KG-dependent dioxygenases, including histone demethylases and the TET family of 5-methlycytosine (5mC) hydroxylases. 2-HG occupies the same space as α-KG does in the active site of histone demethylases. Ectopic expression of tumor-derived IDH1 and IDH2 mutants inhibits histone demethylation and 5mC hydroxylation. In glioma, IDH1 mutations are associated with increased histone methylation and decreased 5-hydroxylmethylcytosine (5hmC). Hence, tumor-derived IDH1 and IDH2 mutations reduce α-KG and accumulate an α-KG antagonist, 2-HG, leading to genome-wide histone and DNA methylation alterations.
PMCID: PMC3229304  PMID: 21251613
12.  KLF4 is a novel regulator of the constitutively expressed HSP90 
Cell Stress & Chaperones  2009;15(2):211-217.
Krüppel-like factor 4 (KLF4) is a zinc finger-containing transcription factor with diverse regulatory functions in cell growth, proliferation, and differentiation. But little is known about the regulation of KLF4 on the expression of HSP90 (HSP84 and HSP86). In the current study, overexpression of KLF4 was firstly identified to promote the basal expression of HSP90 (HSP84 and HSP86) but not the inducible expression in the C2C12 cells and RAW264.7 cells. Conversely, KLF4 inhibition by antisense oligonucleotides markedly decreased the constitutive expression of HSP90 (HSP84 and HSP86). Here, we also presented data that overexpression of KLF4 resulted in enhanced promoter activities of HSP84. Consistently, KLF4 bind to the KLF4 binding sites in the promoter regions of HSP84 directly. Together, these findings support a role for KLF4 as a novel regulator of the constitutive expression of HSP90.
PMCID: PMC2866988  PMID: 19669938
KLF4; HSP90; HSP84; HSP86; Gene regulation
13.  Upregulation of the constitutively expressed HSC70 by KLF4 
Cell Stress & Chaperones  2008;13(3):337-345.
Krüppel-like factor 4 (KLF4) is a transcription factor that is abundantly expressed in various organisms from bacteria to mammals. It has been demonstrated that KLF4 regulates the expression of a wide range of genes. Analysis of KLF4 target genes reveals its diverse regulatory functions in cell growth, proliferation, differentiation, embryogenesis, and inflammation. However, the regulation of the expression of inducible heat shock protein 70 (HSP72) and heat shock cognate 70 (HSP73) by KLF4 is not defined. In our previous study, a complementary deoxyribonucleic acid microarray assay showed that KLF4 overexpression led to dramatic upregulation of HSP73 messenger ribonucleic acid (mRNA) in murine C2C12 myoblast cells, suggesting that HSP73 is a potential target gene regulated by KLF4. The effect of KLF4 on the expression of HSP72 and HSP73 was further examined by reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction and Western blot in KLF4-overexpressing or KLF4-deficient cells. The results showed the upregulation of the HSP73 constitutive expression by KLF4 overexpression in both C2C12 cells and murine RAW264.7 macrophages; in response to heat stress, however, few changes were observed in the levels of HSP73 by KLF4 overexpression. In addition, knockdown of endogenous KLF4 expression by morpholino antisense oligonucleotides significantly decreased both HSP73 mRNA and protein levels under normal conditions. Conversely, KLF4 had no effect on the expression of HSP72. Taken together, these findings suggest an important role for KLF4 as a novel regulator of the constitutive expression of HSP73.
PMCID: PMC2673948  PMID: 18379898
KLF4; HSP73; HSP72; Gene expression
14.  4,4′-(Cyclo­hexane-1,1-di­yl)diphenol methanol solvate 
The title compound, crystallized as a methanol solvate, C18H20O2·CH3OH, is an inter­mediate in the synthesis of the anti­lipidemic agent clinofibrate. Mol­ecules are packed together with the methanol solvent molecule via two O—H⋯O hydrogen bonds. The third O—H⋯O hydrogen bond is between neighboring 4,4′-(cyclo­hexane-1,1-di­yl)diphenol mol­ecules. The dihedral angle between two benzene rings planes is 81.69 (6).
PMCID: PMC2968192  PMID: 21581883
15.  Comparison of Immunogenicity between Codon Optimized HIV-1 Thailand Subtype B gp140 and gp145 Vaccines 
Vaccine  2007;25(26):4949-4959.
HIV-1 pandemic posed an unprecedent challenge to the global health and it is believed that an effective vaccine will be the final solution against HIV-1. HIV-1 envelope is the primary immunogen in developing neutralization antibody based HIV vaccine. To define the suitable Env derived immunogen, we systemically compared the immunogenicity of gp140 and gp145 in a DNA vaccination alone and a prime-boost modalities. 2 DNA vaccines and 2 recombinant Tiantan vaccinia vaccines (rTTV) were constructed for vaccination of female Balb/c mice. Elispot assay was used to read out the T cell immunity and ELISA assay was used to quantify antibody immunity. PLL (poly-L-Leucine)-ELISA assay was used in linear antibody epitope mapping. Mice primed with gp145 tended to elicit more Env-specific T cells responses than those primed with gp140, significant difference was observed in DNA immunization alone. The ultimate T cell responses in prime-boost regimen tends to be determined mainly by the priming efficacy. Linear antibody epitope mapping displayed that sera raised by gp145 priming were vigorously reactive to more peptides than that by gp140. Our data demonstrated HIV-1 Thailand B-derived gp145 may raise higher T-cell responses and broader linear peptide-specific antibody responses than gp140 does. However, it remains to be determined that how these observations are relevant to neutralization antibody activities.
PMCID: PMC1961633  PMID: 17350736
HIV-1; Vaccine; Envelope; Immunogen design
16.  Induction of KLF4 in response to heat stress 
Cell Stress & Chaperones  2006;11(4):379-389.
Krüppel-like factor 4 (KLF4) is an evolutionarily conserved zinc finger–containing transcription factor with diverse regulatory functions in cell growth, proliferation, differentiation, and embryogenesis. However, little is known about the response of KLF4 to heat stress. In this study, Western blot and reverse transcriptase–polymerase chain reaction were performed to determine the changes in KLF4 expression in response to heat stress. The results showed that heat stress up-regulated KLF4 messenger RNA and protein levels in a time-dependent manner in vivo and in 4 cell lines. Moreover, a study with heat shock transcription factor 1 (Hsf1) gene knockout mice indicated that the induction of KLF4 in response to heat stress was mediated by Hsf1. This process occurred rapidly, indicating that KLF4 is an immediate early response gene of heat stress. Next, the roles of KLF4 under heat stress conditions were analyzed for cells overexpressing or deficient in KLF4. The results showed overexpression of KLF4 increased the death rate of C2C12 cells, whereas KLF4 deficiency decreased the injury of C2C12 cells from heat stress conditions, suggesting that KLF4 might play an important role in cell injury induced by heat stress. KLF4 might be an immediate early response gene and could play an important role in cell injury induced by heat stress.
PMCID: PMC1712684  PMID: 17278886
17.  Antitumor effect of Kanglaite® injection in human pancreatic cancer xenografts 
Kanglaite® injection (KLT), with a main ingredient of Coix seed oil (a traditional Chinese medicine), has been widely used for cancer treatment in China. KLT has an inhibitory effect on many kinds of tumors and PI3K/Akt/mTOR signaling promotes cell survival, proliferation, and progression in cancer cells. Therefore, targeting this pathway may lead to the development of novel therapeutic approaches for human cancers.
Here, we examined the effects of KLT on the PI3K/Akt/mTOR pathway in pancreatic cancer xenografts in mice, and assessed its therapeutic potential. Growth and apoptosis of tumor xenografts were examined, and the expression levels of genes and proteins involved in the PI3K/Akt/mTOR pathway were measured by RT-PCR and western blotting, respectively.
Our results revealed that KLT dramatically inhibited the growth of pancreatic cancer xenografts and induced apoptosis simultaneously. Furthermore, it downregulated the expression of phospho-Akt and phospho-mTOR.
These results suggest that KLT can suppress growth and induce apoptosis of pancreatic cancer xenografts. Moreover, KLT can downregulate the expression of phospho-Akt and phospho-mTOR to modulate the PI3K/Akt/mTOR signaling pathway.
PMCID: PMC4105135  PMID: 25005526
Kanglaite® injection; Pancreatic cancer; PI3K/Akt/mTOR signaling; Traditional Chinese medicine
18.  ChiloDB: a genomic and transcriptome database for an important rice insect pest Chilo suppressalis 
ChiloDB is an integrated resource that will be of use to the rice stem borer research community. The rice striped stem borer (SSB), Chilo suppressalis Walker, is a major rice pest that causes severe yield losses in most rice-producing countries. A draft genome of this insect is available. The aims of ChiloDB are (i) to store recently acquired genomic sequence and transcriptome data and integrate them with protein-coding genes, microRNAs, piwi-interacting RNAs (piRNAs) and RNA sequencing (RNA-Seq) data and (ii) to provide comprehensive search tools and downloadable data sets for comparative genomics and gene annotation of this important rice pest. ChiloDB contains the first version of the official SSB gene set, comprising 80 479 scaffolds and 10 221 annotated protein-coding genes. Additionally, 262 SSB microRNA genes predicted from a small RNA library, 82 639 piRNAs identified using the piRNApredictor software, 37 040 transcripts from a midgut transcriptome and 69 977 transcripts from a mixed sample have all been integrated into ChiloDB. ChiloDB was constructed using a data structure that is compatible with data resources, which will be incorporated into the database in the future. This resource will serve as a long-term and open-access database for research on the biology, evolution and pest control of SSB. To the best of our knowledge, ChiloDB is one of the first genomic and transcriptome database for rice insect pests.
Database URL:
PMCID: PMC4082153  PMID: 24997141
19.  COX-2 but Not mPGES-1 Contributes to Renal PGE2 Induction and Diabetic Proteinuria in Mice with Type-1 Diabetes 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(7):e93182.
Prostaglandin E2 (PGE2) has been implicated to play a pathogenic role in diabetic nephropathy (DN) but its source remains unlcear. To elucidate whether mPGES-1, the best characterized PGE2 synthase, was involved in the development of DN, we examined the renal phenotype of mPGES-1 KO mice subjected to STZ-induced type-1 diabetes. After STZ treatment, mPGES-1 WT and KO mice presented the similar onset of diabetes as shown by similar elevation of blood glucose. Meanwhile, both genotypes of mice exhibited similar increases of urinary and renal PGE2 production. In parallel with this comparable diabetic status, the kidney injury indices including the urinary albumin excretion, kidney weight and the kidney histology (PAS staining) did not show any difference between the two genotypes. By Western-blotting and quantitative qRT-PCR, mPGES-1, mPGES-2, cPGES and 15-hydroxyprostaglandin dehydrogenase (15-PGDH) remain unaltered following six weeks of diabetes. Finally, a selective COX-2 inhibitor celecoxib (50 mg/kg/day) was applied to the STZ-treated KO mice, which resulted in significant reduction of urinary albumin excretion (KO/STZ: 141.5±38.4 vs. KO/STZ + Celebrex: 48.7±20.8 ug/24 h, p<0.05) and the blockade of renal PGE2 induction (kidney: KO/STZ: 588.7±89.2 vs. KO/STZ + Celebrex: 340.8±58.7 ug/24 h, p<0.05; urine: KO/STZ 1667.6±421.4 vs. KO/STZ + Celebrex 813.6±199.9 pg/24 h, p<0.05), without affecting the blood glucose levels and urine volume. Taken together, our data suggests that an as yet unidentified prostaglanind E synthase but not mPGES-1 may couple with COX-2 to mediate increased renal PGE2 sythsesis in DN.
PMCID: PMC4077725  PMID: 24984018
20.  Mutation of the RDR1 gene caused genome-wide changes in gene expression, regional variation in small RNA clusters and localized alteration in DNA methylation in rice 
BMC Plant Biology  2014;14:177.
Endogenous small (sm) RNAs (primarily si- and miRNAs) are important trans/cis-acting regulators involved in diverse cellular functions. In plants, the RNA-dependent RNA polymerases (RDRs) are essential for smRNA biogenesis. It has been established that RDR2 is involved in the 24 nt siRNA-dependent RNA-directed DNA methylation (RdDM) pathway. Recent studies have suggested that RDR1 is involved in a second RdDM pathway that relies mostly on 21 nt smRNAs and functions to silence a subset of genomic loci that are usually refractory to the normal RdDM pathway in Arabidopsis. Whether and to what extent the homologs of RDR1 may have similar functions in other plants remained unknown.
We characterized a loss-of-function mutant (Osrdr1) of the OsRDR1 gene in rice (Oryza sativa L.) derived from a retrotransposon Tos17 insertion. Microarray analysis identified 1,175 differentially expressed genes (5.2% of all expressed genes in the shoot-tip tissue of rice) between Osrdr1 and WT, of which 896 and 279 genes were up- and down-regulated, respectively, in Osrdr1. smRNA sequencing revealed regional alterations in smRNA clusters across the rice genome. Some of the regions with altered smRNA clusters were associated with changes in DNA methylation. In addition, altered expression of several miRNAs was detected in Osrdr1, and at least some of which were associated with altered expression of predicted miRNA target genes. Despite these changes, no phenotypic difference was identified in Osrdr1 relative to WT under normal condition; however, ephemeral phenotypic fluctuations occurred under some abiotic stress conditions.
Our results showed that OsRDR1 plays a role in regulating a substantial number of endogenous genes with diverse functions in rice through smRNA-mediated pathways involving DNA methylation, and which participates in abiotic stress response.
PMCID: PMC4083042  PMID: 24980094
Gene expression; Epigenetics; Small RNA; DNA methylation; RDR1; Oryza sativa L
21.  Isolation and Characterization of Microsatellite Markers and Analysis of Genetic Diversity in Chinese Jujube (Ziziphus jujuba Mill.) 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(6):e99842.
Chinese jujube (Ziziphus jujuba Mill, 2n = 2× = 24, Rhamnaceae) is an economically important Chinese native species. It has high nutritional value, and its medicinal properties have led to extensive use in traditional oriental medicine. The characterization of genotypes using molecular markers is important for genetic studies and plant breeding. However, few simple sequence repeat (SSR) markers are available for this species. In this study, 1,488 unique SSR clones were isolated from Z. jujuba ‘Dongzao’ using enriched genomic libraries coupled with a three-primer colony PCR screening strategy, yielding a high enrichment rate of 73.3%. Finally, 1,188 (80.87%) primer pairs were amplified successfully in the size expected for ‘Dongzao’. A total of 350 primer pairs were further selected and evaluated for their ability to detect polymorphisms across a panel of six diverse cultivars; among these, 301 primer pairs detected polymorphisms, and the polymorphism information content (PIC) value across all loci ranged from 0.15 to 0.82, with an average of 0.52. An analysis of 76 major cultivars employed in Chinese jujube production using 31 primer pairs revealed comparatively high genetic diversity among these cultivars. Within-population differences among individuals accounted for 98.2% of the observed genetic variation. Neighbor-joining clustering divided the cultivars into three main groups, none of which correspond to major geographic regions, suggesting that the genetics and geographical origin of modern Chinese jujube cultivars might not be linked. The current work firstly reports the large-scale development of Chinese jujube SSR markers. The development of these markers and their polymorphic information represent a significant improvement in the available Chinese jujube genomic resources and will facilitate both genetic and breeding applications, further accelerating the development of new cultivars.
PMCID: PMC4059666  PMID: 24932973
22.  Effects of Internalized Gold Nanoparticles with Respect to Cytotoxicity and Invasion Activity in Lung Cancer Cells 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(6):e99175.
The effect of gold nanoparticles on lung cancer cells is not yet clear. In this study, we investigated the cytotoxicity and cell invasion activity of lung cancer cells after treatment with gold nanoparticles and showed that small gold nanoparticles can be endocytosed by lung cancer cells and that they facilitate cell invasion. The growth of A549 cells was inhibited after treatment with 5-nm gold nanoparticles, but cell invasion increased. Endocytosed gold nanoparticles (size, 10 nm) notably promoted the invasion activity of 95D cells. All these effects of gold nanoparticles were not seen after treatment with larger particles (20 and 40 nm). The enhanced invasion activity may be associated with the increased expression of matrix metalloproteinase 9 and intercellular adhesion molecule-1. In this study, we obtained evidence for the effect of gold nanoparticles on lung cancer cell invasion activity in vitro. Moreover, matrix metalloproteinase 9 and intercellular adhesion molecule-1, key modulators of cell invasion, were found to be regulated by gold nanoparticles. These data also demonstrate that the responses of the A549 and 95D cells to gold nanoparticles have a remarkable relationship with their unique size-dependent physiochemical properties. Therefore, this study provides a new perspective for cell biology research in nanomedicine.
PMCID: PMC4047087  PMID: 24901215
23.  Deformed grids for single-particle cryo-electron microscopy of specimens exhibiting a preferred orientation 
Journal of structural biology  2013;182(3):255-258.
For biological samples showing a preferred orientation on the carbon support film of an electron microscope (EM) grid, accurate three-dimensional (3D) reconstructions by single-particle cryo-EM require data collection in which the specimen grids are tilted in the microscope, to obtain adequate numbers of particles that cover the high-degree angular distribution. However, image drift caused by the electron beam interacting with the cryo specimen becomes severe when grids are tilted to high angles (> 30°). We produced deformed grids by applying a deliberate mechanical deformation to EM grids containing a thin carbon film supported by a thick holey carbon film. We applied cryo-EM using deformed grids to the isolated cardiac ryanodine receptor, an ion channel complex known to assume a preferred orientation on the carbon support film. These grids contained more particles having high Euler angle orientations without the need to tilt the specimen grids. Meanwhile, the drifting that was apparent in the images was reduced from that typical of images from tilted regular EM grids. This was achieved by imaging particles in holes close to the deformed areas, where carbon films were locally bent, offering planes of inclination with various angles. The deformed grids improve the efficiency and quality of data collection for single-pahrticle cryo-EM of samples showing a limited range of orientations.
PMCID: PMC3665629  PMID: 23537848
single-particle cryo-EM; deformed EM grids; preferred orientation; ryanodine receptor
24.  Cessation of Epithelial Bmp Signaling Switches the Differentiation of Crown Epithelia to the Root Lineage in a β-Catenin-Dependent Manner 
Molecular and Cellular Biology  2013;33(23):4732-4744.
The differentiation of dental epithelia into enamel-producing ameloblasts or the root epithelial lineage compartmentalizes teeth into crowns and roots. Bmp signaling has been linked to enamel formation, but its role in root epithelial lineage differentiation is unclear. Here we show that cessation of epithelial Bmp signaling by Bmpr1a depletion during the differentiation stage switched differentiation of crown epithelia into the root lineage and led to formation of ectopic cementum-like structures. This phenotype is related to the upregulation of Wnt/β-catenin signaling and epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT). Although epithelial β-catenin depletion during the differentiation stage also led to variable enamel defect and precocious/ectopic formation of fragmented root epithelia in some teeth, it did not cause ectopic cementogenesis and inhibited EMT in cultured dental epithelia. Concomitant epithelial β-catenin depletion rescued EMT and ectopic cementogenesis caused by Bmpr1a depletion. These data suggested that Bmp and Wnt/β-catenin pathways interact antagonistically in dental epithelia to regulate the root lineage differentiation and EMT. These findings will aid in the design of new strategies to promote functional differentiation in the regeneration and tissue engineering of teeth and will provide new insights into the dynamic interactions between the Bmp and Wnt/β-catenin pathways during cell fate decisions.
PMCID: PMC3838012  PMID: 24081330
25.  Distinct patterns of ALDH1A1 expression predict metastasis and poor outcome of colorectal carcinoma 
Purpose: Aldehyde dehydrogenase 1A1 (ALDH1A1) has been proposed as a candidate biomarker for colorectal carcinoma (CRC). However, the heterogeneity of its expression makes it difficult to predict the outcome of CRC. The aim of this study was to evaluate the diagnostic and prognostic value of this molecule in CRC. Methods and Results: In this study, we examined ALDH1A1 expression by immunohistochemistry including 406 cases of primary CRC with corresponding adjacent mucosa, with confirmation of real-time PCR and Western blotting. We found that the expression patterns of ALDH1A1 were heterogeneous in the CRC and corresponding adjacent tissues. We defined the ratio of ALDH1A1 level in adjacent mucosa to that in tumor tissues as RA/C and found that the capabilities of tumor invasion and metastasis in the tumors with RA/C < 1 were significantly higher than those with RA/C ≥ 1. Follow-up data showed the worse prognoses in the CRC patients with RA/C < 1. For understanding the underlying mechanism, the localization of β-catenin was detected in the CRC tissues with different patterns of ALDH1A1 expression from 221 patients and β-catenin was found preferentially expressed in cell nuclei of the tumors with RA/C < 1 and ALDH1A1high expression of HT29 cell line, indicating that nuclear translocation of β-catenin might contribute to the increased potentials of invasion and metastasis. Conclusion: Our results indicate that RA/C is a novel biomarker to reflect the distinct expression patterns of ALDH1A1 for predicting metastasis and prognosis of CRC.
PMCID: PMC4097282  PMID: 25031716
Colorectal carcinoma; metastasis; prognosis; aldehyde dehydrogenase 1A1; β-catenin

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