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1.  Lewis y Regulate Cell Cycle Related Factors in Ovarian Carcinoma Cell RMG-I in Vitro via ERK and Akt Signaling Pathways 
Objective
To investigate the effect of Lewis y overexpression on the expression of proliferation-related factors in ovarian cancer cells.
Methods
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.
Results
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.
Conclusion
Lewis y regulates the expression of cell cycle-related factors through ERK/MAPK and PI3K/Akt signaling pathways to promote cell proliferation.
doi:10.3390/ijms13010828
PMCID: PMC3269723  PMID: 22312289
Lewis(y) antigen; cell cycle; cyclin; cyclin-dependent kinases; cyclin-dependent kinase inhibitors
2.  Beclin 1 Expression in Ovarian Tissues and Its Effects on Ovarian Cancer Prognosis 
Beclin 1 is an autophagy-associated protein involved in apoptosis and drug resistance, as well as various malignancies. We investigated the expression of Beclin 1 protein in ovarian epithelial tissues and correlated it with the prognosis of ovarian cancer. Beclin 1 protein expression was determined using immunohistochemistry in 148 patients with ovarian epithelial cancer, 26 with ovarian borderline tumor, 25 with benign ovarian tumor, and 30 with normal ovarian tissue. The relationships between Beclin 1 protein expression and ovarian cancer pathological characteristics were analyzed. The risk factors for ovarian cancer prognosis were analyzed using Cox’s regression model. A survival curve was plotted from the follow-up data of 93 patients with ovarian cancer to analyze the effects of Beclin 1 expression on the prognosis of ovarian cancer. The positive rates of Beclin 1 were significantly higher in ovarian epithelial cancer (148) and borderline tumor (26) than in benign ovarian tumor (25) or normal ovarian tissue (30) (all p < 0.001). The surgical stage and Beclin 1 expression were both independent risk factors for ovarian cancer prognosis (both p < 0.05). Patients with high Beclin 1 levels showed better survival than those with low Beclin 1 levels (p = 0.009). Beclin 1 protein is upregulated in ovarian epithelial cancer and is a prognostic factor of ovarian cancer.
doi:10.3390/ijms15045292
PMCID: PMC4013564  PMID: 24675697
autophagy; Beclin 1; ovarian cancer; prognosis; overall survival
3.  Cetuximab-Induced MET Activation Acts as a Novel Resistance Mechanism in Colon Cancer Cells 
Aberrant MET expression and hepatocyte growth factor (HGF) signaling are implicated in promoting resistance to targeted agents; however, the induced MET activation by epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) inhibitors mediating resistance to targeted therapy remains elusive. In this study, we identified that cetuximab-induced MET activation contributed to cetuximab resistance in Caco-2 colon cancer cells. MET inhibition or knockdown sensitized Caco-2 cells to cetuximab-mediated growth inhibition. Additionally, SRC activation promoted cetuximab resistance by interacting with MET. Pretreatment with SRC inhibitors abolished cetuximab-mediated MET activation and rendered Caco-2 cells sensitive to cetuximab. Notably, cetuximab induced MET/SRC/EGFR complex formation. MET inhibitor or SRC inhibitor suppressed phosphorylation of MET and SRC in the complex, and MET inhibitor singly led to disruption of complex formation. These results implicate alternative targeting of MET or SRC as rational strategies for reversing cetuximab resistance in colon cancer.
doi:10.3390/ijms15045838
PMCID: PMC4013599  PMID: 24714091
cetuximab; MET; EGFR; SRC; colon cancer
4.  Progressive Changes in Inflammatory and Matrix Adherence of Bronchial Epithelial Cells with Persistent Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) Infection (Progressive Changes in RSV Infection) 
In addition to the acute manifestations of respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), persistent infection may be associated with long-term complications in the development of chronic respiratory diseases. To understand the mechanisms underlying RSV-induced long-term consequences, we established an in vitro RSV (strain A2) infection model using human bronchial epithelial (16HBE) cells that persists over four generations and analyzed cell inflammation and matrix adherence. Cells infected with RSV at multiplicity of infection (MOI) 0.0067 experienced cytolytic or abortive infections in the second generation (G2) or G3 but mostly survived up to G4. Cell morphology, leukocyte and matrix adherence of the cells did not change in G1 or G2, but subsequently, leukocyte adherence and cytokine/chemokine secretion, partially mediated by intercellular adhesion molecule-1 (ICAM-1), increased drastically, and matrix adherence, partially mediated by E-cadherin, decreased until the cells died. Tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF-α) secretion was inhibited by ICAM-1 antibody in infected-16HBE cells, suggesting that positive feedback between TNF-α secretion and ICAM-1 expression may be significant in exacerbated inflammation. These data demonstrate the susceptibility of 16HBE cells to RSV and their capacity to produce long-term progressive RSV infection, which may contribute to inflammation mobilization and epithelial shedding.
doi:10.3390/ijms140918024
PMCID: PMC3794767  PMID: 24005865
respiratory syncytial virus; human bronchial epithelial cells; adherence; adhesive molecule; cytokine; chemokine
5.  Detection of Quantitative Trait Loci (QTLs) for Resistances to Small Brown Planthopper and Rice Stripe Virus in Rice Using Recombinant Inbred Lines 
Small brown planthopper (SBPH) and rice stripe virus (RSV) disease transmitted by SBPH cause serious damage to rice (Oryza sativa L.) in China. In the present study, we screened 312 rice accessions for resistance to SBPH. The indica variety, N22, is highly resistant to SBPH. One hundred and eighty two recombinant inbred lines (RILs) derived from a cross of N22 and the highly susceptible variety, USSR5, were used for quantitative trait locus (QTL) analysis of resistances to SBPH and RSV. In a modified seedbox screening test, three QTLs for SBPH resistance, qSBPH2, qSBPH3 and qSBPH7.1, were mapped on chromosomes 2, 3 and 7, a total explaining 35.1% of the phenotypic variance. qSBPH7.2 and qSBPH11.2, conferring antibiosis against SBPH, were detected on chromosomes 7 and 11 and accounted for 20.7% of the total phenotypic variance. In addition, qSBPH5 and qSBPH7.3, expressing antixenosis to SBPH, were detected on chromosomes 5 and 7, explaining 23.9% of the phenotypic variance. qSBPH7.1, qSBPH7.2 and qSBPH7.3, located in the same region between RM234 and RM429 on chromosome 7, using three different phenotyping methods indicate that the locus or region plays a major role in conferring resistance to SBPH in N22. Moreover, three QTLs, qSTV4, qSTV11.1 and qSTV11.2, for RSV resistance were detected on chromosomes 4 and 11. qSTV11.1 and qSTV11.2 are located in the same region between RM287 and RM209 on chromosome 11. Molecular markers spanning these QTLs should be useful in the development of varieties with resistance to SBPH and RSV.
doi:10.3390/ijms14048406
PMCID: PMC3645751  PMID: 23591851
RIL population; quantitative trait locus; Oryza sativa L
6.  Generating Aptamers by Cell-SELEX for Applications in Molecular Medicine 
Aptamers are single-stranded oligonucleotides of DNA or RNA that bind to target molecules with high affinity and specificity. Typically, aptamers are generated by an iterative selection process, called systematic evolution of ligands by exponential enrichment (SELEX). Recent advancements in SELEX technology have extended aptamer selection from comparatively simple mixtures of purified proteins to whole living cells, and now cell-based SELEX (or cell-SELEX) can isolate aptamers that bind to specific target cells. Combined with nanotechnology, microchips, microfluidic devices, RNAi and other advanced technologies, cell-SELEX represents an integrated platform providing ultrasensitive and highly specific tools for clinical medicine. In this review, we describe the recent progress made in the application of cell-SELEX for diagnosis, therapy and biomarker discovery.
doi:10.3390/ijms13033341
PMCID: PMC3317715  PMID: 22489154
aptamer; SELEX; molecular medicine
7.  Pokemon Silencing Leads to Bim-Mediated Anoikis of Human Hepatoma Cell QGY7703 
Pokemon is an important proto-oncogene that plays a critical role in cellular oncogenic transformation and tumorigenesis. Anoikis, which is regulated by Bim-mediated apoptosis, is critical to cancer cell invasion and metastasis. We investigated the role of Pokemon in anoikis, and our results show that Pokemon renders liver cells resistant to anoikis via suppression of Bim transcription. We knocked-down Pokemon in human hepatoma cells QGY7703 with small interfering RNAs (siRNA). Knockdown of Pokemon alone did not significantly affect the growth and survival of QGY7703 cells but notably enhanced their sensitivity to apoptotic stress due to the presence of chemical agents or cell detachment, thereby inducing anoikis, as evidenced by flow cytometry and caspase-3 activity assays. In contrast, ectopic expression of Pokemon in HL7702 cells led to resistance to anoikis. Dual-luciferase reporter and ChIP assays illustrated that Pokemon suppressed Bim transcription via direct binding to its promoter. Our results suggest that Pokemon prevents anoikis through the suppression of Bim expression, which facilitates tumor cell invasion and metastasis. This Pokemon-Bim pathway may be an effective target for therapeutic intervention for cancer.
doi:10.3390/ijms13055818
PMCID: PMC3382817  PMID: 22754333
Pokemon; anoikis; Bim; hepatoma
8.  Elevated Levels of Lewis Y and Integrin α5β1 Correlate with Chemotherapeutic Drug Resistance in Epithelial Ovarian Carcinoma 
Objective
To measure Lewis y and integrin α5β1 expression in epithelial ovarian carcinoma and to correlate the levels of these molecules with ovarian carcinoma chemotherapy and prognosis.
Methods
The study population included 34 ovarian carcinoma patients with chemotherapeutic drug-resistance, six partially drug-sensitive cases, and 52 drug-sensitive cases (92 total). Immunochemistry was used to determine expression of Lewis y antigen and integrin α5β1 in ovarian carcinoma tissues, and correlation of these molecules with chemotherapy resistance was further investigated, Multi-factor logistic regression analysis was applied to investigate: age, surgical stage, grade, subtype of patient cases, metastasis of lymph nodes, residual tumor size, expression levels of Lewis y antigen and integrin α5β1 correlation with ovarian carcinoma chemotherapy resistance.
Results
The expression rates of Lewis y antigen and integrins α5 and β1 were significantly greater in the drug-resistant group (91.17%, 85.29%, 88.24%) than the partially sensitive (50.00%, 33.33%, 50.00%) or sensitive groups (61.54%, 57.69%, 55.77%). Binary logistic regression analysis revealed that surgical stage, residual tumor size, and expression of integrin α5 and Lewis y in ovarian carcinoma tissues were independent risk factors for chemotherapeutic drug resistance.
Conclusions
Overexpression of Lewis y and integrin α5 are strong risk factors for chemotherapeutic drug resistance in ovarian carcinoma patients.
doi:10.3390/ijms131215588
PMCID: PMC3546651  PMID: 23443083
integrins; Lewis y antigen; ovarian caricinoma; chemoresistance
9.  The Stimulation of IGF-1R Expression by Lewis(y) Antigen Provides a Powerful Development Mechanism of Epithelial Ovarian Carcinoma 
Objective
This study aimed to measure and correlate the expression of insulin-like growth factor receptor-1 (IGF-1R) and the Lewis(y) antigen in ovarian cancer cell lines and tissue samples.
Methods
Reverse transcriptase PCR (RT-PCR), Western blotting, immunoprecipitation, immunohistochemistry, and immunofluorescence double-labeling techniques were applied to detect and measure the expression of Lewis(y) and IGF-1R.
Results
In α1,2-fucosyltransferase (α1,2-FT)-transfected cells, IGF-1R expression was significantly upregulated compared with cells that do not overexpress α1,2-FT (P < 0.05). The amount of Lewis(y) expressed on IGF-1R increased 1.81-fold in α1,2-FT-overexpressing cells (P < 0.05), but the ratio of Lewis(y) expressed on IGF-1R to total IGF-1R was unaltered between two cells (P > 0.05). In malignant epithelial ovarian tumors, the positivity rates of Lewis(y) and IGF-1R detection were 88.3% and 93.33%, respectively, which is higher than the positivity rates in marginal (60.00% and 63.33%, all P < 0.05), benign (33.00% and 53.33%, all P < 0.01), and normal (0% and 40%, all P < 0.01) ovarian samples. No correlations were detected in positivity rates of Lewis(y) or IGF-1R expression with respect to clinicopathological parameters in ovarian cancers (all P > 0.05). Both IGF-1R and Lewis(y) were highly expressed in ovarian cancer tissues, and their expression levels were positively correlated (P < 0.05).
Conclusion
Overexpression of Lewis(y) results in overexpression of IGF-1R. Both IGF-1R and Lewis(y) are associated with the occurrence and development of ovarian cancers.
doi:10.3390/ijms12106781
PMCID: PMC3211010  PMID: 22072919
epithelial ovarian tumor; Insulin-like growth factor receptor-1; Lewis(y) antigen; immunohistochemistry; immunofluorescence double labeling method
10.  Down-Regulation of Telomerase Activity and Activation of Caspase-3 Are Responsible for Tanshinone I-Induced Apoptosis in Monocyte Leukemia Cells in Vitro 
Tanshinone I (Tan-I) is a diterpene quinone extracted from the traditional herbal medicine Salvia miltiorrhiza Bunge. Recently, Tan-I has been reported to have anti-tumor effects. In this study, we investigated the growth inhibition and apoptosis inducing effects of Tan-I on three kinds of monocytic leukemia cells (U937, THP-1 and SHI 1). Cell viability was measured by MTT assay. Cell apoptosis was assessed by flow cytometry (FCM) and AnnexinV/PI staining. Reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) and PCR–enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) were used to detect human telomerase reverse transcriptase (hTERT) expression and telomerase activity before and after apoptosis. The activity of caspase-3 was determined by Caspase colorimetric assay kit and Western blot analysis. Expression of the anti-apoptotic gene Survivin was assayed by Western blot and Real-time RT-PCR using the ABI PRISM 7500 Sequence Detection System. The results revealed that Tan-I could inhibit the growth of these three kinds of leukemia cells and cause apoptosis in a time- and dose-dependent manner. After treatment by Tan-I for 48 h, Western blotting showed cleavage of the caspase-3 zymogen protein with the appearance of its 17-kD subunit, and a 89-kD cleavage product of poly (ADP-ribose) polymerase (PARP), a known substrate of caspase-3, was also found clearly. The expression of hTERT mRNA as well as activity of telomerase were decreased concurrently in a dose-dependent manner. Moreover, Real-time RT-PCR and Western blot revealed a significant down-regulation of Survivin. We therefore conclude that the induction of apoptosis by Tan-I in monocytic leukemia U937 THP-1 and SHI 1 cells is highly correlated with activation of caspase-3 and decreasing of hTERT mRNA expression and telomerase activity as well as down-regulation of Survivin expression. To our knowledge, this is the first report about the effects of Tan-I on monocytic leukemia cells.
doi:10.3390/ijms11062267
PMCID: PMC2904915  PMID: 20640151
Tanshinone I (Tan-I); telomerase; survivin; leukemia
11.  Differential Expression of Copper-Zinc Superoxide Dismutase Gene of Polygonum sibiricum Leaves, Stems and Underground Stems, Subjected to High-Salt Stress 
In aerobic organisms, protection against oxidative damage involves the combined action of highly specialized antioxidant enzymes, such as copper-zinc superoxide dismutase. In this work, a cDNA clone which encodes a copper-zinc superoxide dismutase gene, named PS-CuZnSOD, has been identified from P. sibiricum Laxm. by the rapid amplification of cDNA ends method (RACE). Analysis of the nucleotide sequence reveals that the PS-CuZnSOD gene cDNA clone consists of 669 bp, containing 87 bp in the 5′ untranslated region; 459 bp in the open reading frame (ORF) encoding 152 amino acids; and 123 bp in 3′ untranslated region. The gene accession nucleotide sequence number in GenBank is GQ472846. Sequence analysis indicates that the protein, like most plant superoxide dismutases (SOD), includes two conserved ecCuZnSOD signatures that are from the amino acids 43 to 51, and from the amino acids 137 to 148, and it has a signal peptide extension in the front of the N-terminus (1–16 aa). Expression analysis by real-time quantitative PCR reveals that the PS-CuZnSOD gene is expressed in leaves, stems and underground stems. PS-CuZnSOD gene expression can be induced by 3% NaHCO3. The different mRNA levels’ expression of PS-CuZnSOD show the gene’s different expression modes in leaves, stems and underground stems under the salinity-alkalinity stress.
doi:10.3390/ijms11125234
PMCID: PMC3100833  PMID: 21614204
P. sibiricum Laxm.; PS-CuZnSOD; RACE; real-time PCR; gene expression
12.  Analysis of Intestinal Injuries Induced by Ricin in Vitro Using SPR Technology and MS Identification 
The present study found that ricin toxicity did not only manifest itself as inhibition of protein synthesis, but also induced apoptosis of immune cells and played an extremely significant role in intestinal injury. In this report, we describe a novel method to estimate binding events occurring on intestinal brush border membranes (BBM) based on SPR technology in an attempt to mimic the real intestinal surface capable of interacting physically and/or actively with certain biological molecules. Combined with HPCE-ESI-MS indentification, we obtained 28 kinds of proteins in BBM that interacted with ricin.
doi:10.3390/ijms10052431
PMCID: PMC2695285  PMID: 19564957
ricin; BBM; SPR; HPCE-ESI-MS
13.  Computational Study on Substrate Specificity of a Novel Cysteine Protease 1 Precursor from Zea mays 
Cysteine protease 1 precursor from Zea mays (zmCP1) is classified as a member of the C1A family of peptidases (papain-like cysteine protease) in MEROPS (the Peptidase Database). The 3D structure and substrate specificity of the zmCP1 is still unknown. This study is the first one to build the 3D structure of zmCP1 by computer-assisted homology modeling. In order to determine the substrate specificity of zmCP1, docking study is used for rapid and convenient analysis of large populations of ligand–enzyme complexes. Docking results show that zmCP1 has preference for P1 position and P2 position for Arg and a large hydrophobic residue (such as Phe). Gly147, Gly191, Cys189, and Asp190 are predicted to function as active residues at the S1 subsite, and the S2 subsite contains Leu283, Leu193, Ala259, Met194, and Ala286. SIFt results indicate that Gly144, Arg268, Trp308, and Ser311 play important roles in substrate binding. Then Molecular Mechanics-Poisson-Boltzmann Surface Area (MM-PBSA) method was used to explain the substrate specificity for P1 position of zmCp1. This study provides insights into the molecular basis of zmCP1 activity and substrate specificity.
doi:10.3390/ijms150610459
PMCID: PMC4100162  PMID: 24921705
homology modeling; molecular dynamics; MM-PBSA; cysteine protease 1
14.  Antheraea pernyi Silk Fibroin-Coated PEI/DNA Complexes for Targeted Gene Delivery in HEK 293 and HCT 116 Cells 
Polyethylenimine (PEI) has attracted much attention as a DNA condenser, but its toxicity and non-specific targeting limit its potential. To overcome these limitations, Antheraea pernyi silk fibroin (ASF), a natural protein rich in arginyl-glycyl-aspartic acid (RGD) peptides that contains negative surface charges in a neutral aqueous solution, was used to coat PEI/DNA complexes to form ASF/PEI/DNA ternary complexes. Coating these complexes with ASF caused fewer surface charges and greater size compared with the PEI/DNA complexes alone. In vitro transfection studies revealed that incorporation of ASF led to greater transfection efficiencies in both HEK (human embryonic kidney) 293 and HCT (human colorectal carcinoma) 116 cells, albeit with less electrostatic binding affinity for the cells. Moreover, the transfection efficiency in the HCT 116 cells was higher than that in the HEK 293 cells under the same conditions, which may be due to the target bonding affinity of the RGD peptides in ASF for integrins on the HCT 116 cell surface. This result indicated that the RGD binding affinity in ASF for integrins can enhance the specific targeting affinity to compensate for the reduction in electrostatic binding between ASF-coated PEI carriers and cells. Cell viability measurements showed higher cell viability after transfection of ASF/PEI/DNA ternary complexes than after transfection of PEI/DNA binary complexes alone. Lactate dehydrogenase (LDH) release studies further confirmed the improvement in the targeting effect of ASF/PEI/DNA ternary complexes to cells. These results suggest that ASF-coated PEI is a preferred transfection reagent and useful for improving both the transfection efficiency and cell viability of PEI-based nonviral vectors.
doi:10.3390/ijms15057049
PMCID: PMC4057661  PMID: 24776757
Antheraea pernyi silk fibroin; PEI (polyethylenimine); gene transfection
15.  Proteomic Study of Differential Protein Expression in Mouse Lung Tissues after Aerosolized Ricin Poisoning 
Ricin is one of the most poisonous natural toxins from plants and is classified as a Class B biological threat pathogen by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) of U.S.A. Ricin exposure can occur through oral or aerosol routes. Ricin poisoning has a rapid onset and a short incubation period. There is no effective treatment for ricin poisoning. In this study, an aerosolized ricin-exposed mouse model was developed and the pathology was investigated. The protein expression profile in the ricin-poisoned mouse lung tissue was analyzed using proteomic techniques to determine the proteins that were closely related to the toxicity of ricin. 2D gel electrophoresis, mass spectrometry and subsequent biological functional analysis revealed that six proteins including Apoa1 apolipoprotein, Ywhaz 14-3-3 protein, Prdx6 Uncharacterized Protein, Selenium-binding protein 1, HMGB1, and DPYL-2, were highly related to ricin poisoning.
doi:10.3390/ijms15057281
PMCID: PMC4057672  PMID: 24786090
ricin; aerosol; lung injury; proteomics
16.  The Effects of the CCR6/CCL20 Biological Axis on the Invasion and Metastasis of Hepatocellular Carcinoma 
Chemokines and their receptors have recently been shown to play major roles in cancer metastasis. Chemokine receptor 6 (CCR6) and its ligand, CCL20, were highly expressed in a variety of human cancers. In our present study, we aimed to clarify whether CCR6/CCL20 was correlated with the migration of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). RT-PCR and Western blot results showed that CCR6 was overexpressed in different invasive potential HCC cell lines (p < 0.05), while the expression of CCL20 had no obvious difference (p > 0.05). CCR6 was suppressed by siRNA in HCCLM6, and then the biological behaviors of HCCLM6 cells were observed. The results showed that the CCR6/CCL20 biological axis increased the capacity of proliferation and adhesion, as well as the chemotactic migration and the level of cytokines related to degraded extracellular matrix. In conclusion, these findings indicate that CCR6 indeed participates in regulating the migration and invasion of HCC, and it might become a prognostic factor of HCC.
doi:10.3390/ijms15046441
PMCID: PMC4013639  PMID: 24743888
CCR6; CCL20; hepatocellular carcinoma; metastasis
17.  Protective Effect of Resveratrol against IL-1β-Induced Inflammatory Response on Human Osteoarthritic Chondrocytes Partly via the TLR4/MyD88/NF-κB Signaling Pathway: An “in Vitro Study” 
Resveratrol is a natural polyphenolic compound that prevents inflammation in chondrocytes and animal models of osteoarthritis (OA) via yet to be defined mechanisms. The purpose of this study was to determine whether the protective effect of resveratrol on IL-1β-induced human articular chondrocytes was associated with the TLR4/MyD88/NF-κB signaling pathway by incubating human articular chondrocytes (harvested from osteoarthritis patients) with IL-1β before treatment with resveratrol. Cell viability was evaluated using the MTT (3-(4,5-dimethylthiazol-2-yl)-2,5-diphenyltetrazolium bromide) assay and TNFα levels in culture supernatants were measured by ELISA(Enzymelinked immunosorbent assay). The levels of TLR4 and its downstream signaling targets (MyD88 and TRAF6) and IL-1β were assessed by measuring the levels of mRNA and protein expression by real-time RT-PCR and western blot analysis, respectively, in addition to assessing NF-κB activation. In addition, TLR4 siRNA was used to block TLR4 expression in chondrocytes further demonstrating that resveratrol prevented IL-1β-mediated inflammation by TLR4 inhibition. We found that resveratrol prevented IL-1β-induced reduction in cell viability. Stimulation of chondrocytes with IL-1β caused a significant up-regulation of TLR4 and its downstream targets MyD88 and TRAF6 resulting in NF-κB activation associated with the synthesis of IL-1β and TNFα. These IL-1β-induced inflammatory responses were all effectively reversed by resveratrol. Furthermore, activation of NF-κB in chondrocytes treated with TLR4 siRNA was significantly attenuated, but not abolished, and exposure to resveratrol further reduced NF-κB translocation. These data suggested that resveratrol prevented IL-1β-induced inflammation in human articular chondrocytes at least in part by inhibiting the TLR4/MyD88/NF-κB signaling pathway suggesting that resveratrol has the potential to be used as a nutritional supplement to counteract OA symptoms.
doi:10.3390/ijms15046925
PMCID: PMC4013670  PMID: 24758933
resveratrol; toll-like receptor 4; nuclear factor-κB; chondrocytes; osteoarthritis; interleukin-1β; inflammation
18.  miR-21 Promotes Human Nucleus Pulposus Cell Proliferation through PTEN/AKT Signaling 
The precise role of nucleus pulposus cell proliferation in the pathogenesis of intervertebral disc degeneration remains to be elucidated. Recent findings have revealed that microRNAs, a class of small noncoding RNAs, may regulate cell proliferation in many pathological conditions. Here, we showed that miR-21 was significantly upregulated in degenerative nucleus pulposus tissues when compared with nucleus pulposus tissues that were isolated from patients with idiopathic scoliosis and that miR-10b levels were associated with disc degeneration grade. Moreover, bioinformatics target prediction identified PTEN as a putative target of miR-21. miR-21 inhibited PTEN expression by directly targeting the 3′UTR, and this inhibition was abolished through miR-21 binding site mutations. miR-21 overexpression stimulated cell proliferation and AKT signaling pathway activation, which led to cyclin D1 translation. Additionally, the increase in proliferation and cyclin D1 expression induced by miR-21 overexpression was almost completely blocked by Ly294002, an AKT inhibitor. Taken together, aberrant miR-21 upregulation in intervertebral disc degeneration could target PTEN, which would contribute to abnormal nucleus pulposus cell proliferation through derepressing the Akt pathway. Our study also underscores the potential of miR-21 and the PTEN/Akt pathway as novel therapeutic targets in intervertebral disc degeneration.
doi:10.3390/ijms15034007
PMCID: PMC3975380  PMID: 24603539
disc degeneration; nucleus pulposus cells; miRNA; miR-21; proliferation
19.  Construction and Analysis of Siberian Tiger Bacterial Artificial Chromosome Library with Approximately 6.5-Fold Genome Equivalent Coverage 
Bacterial artificial chromosome (BAC) libraries are extremely valuable for the genome-wide genetic dissection of complex organisms. The Siberian tiger, one of the most well-known wild primitive carnivores in China, is an endangered animal. In order to promote research on its genome, a high-redundancy BAC library of the Siberian tiger was constructed and characterized. The library is divided into two sub-libraries prepared from blood cells and two sub-libraries prepared from fibroblasts. This BAC library contains 153,600 individually archived clones; for PCR-based screening of the library, BACs were placed into 40 superpools of 10 × 384-deep well microplates. The average insert size of BAC clones was estimated to be 116.5 kb, representing approximately 6.46 genome equivalents of the haploid genome and affording a 98.86% statistical probability of obtaining at least one clone containing a unique DNA sequence. Screening the library with 19 microsatellite markers and a SRY sequence revealed that each of these markers were present in the library; the average number of positive clones per marker was 6.74 (range 2 to 12), consistent with 6.46 coverage of the tiger genome. Additionally, we identified 72 microsatellite markers that could potentially be used as genetic markers. This BAC library will serve as a valuable resource for physical mapping, comparative genomic study and large-scale genome sequencing in the tiger.
doi:10.3390/ijms15034189
PMCID: PMC3975391  PMID: 24608928
Siberian tiger; Panthera tigris altaica; BAC library; genomic research; microsatellite marker
20.  Comparative Proteomic Analysis of Differential Responses of Pinus massoniana and Taxus wallichiana var. mairei to Simulated Acid Rain 
Acid rain (AR), a serious environmental issue, severely affects plant growth and development. As the gymnosperms of conifer woody plants, Pinus massoniana (AR-sensitive) and Taxus wallichiana var. mairei (AR-resistant) are widely distributed in southern China. Under AR stress, significant necrosis and collapsed lesions were found in P. massoniana needles with remarkable yellowing and wilting tips, whereas T. wallichiana var. mairei did not exhibit chlorosis and visible damage. Due to the activation of a large number of stress-related genes and the synthesis of various functional proteins to counteract AR stress, it is important to study the differences in AR-tolerance mechanisms by comparative proteomic analysis of tolerant and sensitive species. This study revealed a total of 65 and 26 differentially expressed proteins that were identified in P. massoniana and T. wallichiana var. mairei, respectively. Among them, proteins involved in metabolism, photosynthesis, signal transduction and transcription were drastically down-regulated in P. massoniana, whereas most of the proteins participating in metabolism, cell structure, photosynthesis and transcription were increased in T. wallichiana var. mairei. These results suggest the distinct patterns of protein expression in the two woody species in response to AR, allowing a deeper understanding of diversity on AR tolerance in forest tree species.
doi:10.3390/ijms15034333
PMCID: PMC3975401  PMID: 24625662
acid rain tolerance; proteomic; Pinus massoniana; stress response; Taxus wallichiana var. mairei; woody plant
21.  Chronic Exposure to Rhodobacter Sphaeroides Extract Lycogen™ Prevents UVA-Induced Malondialdehyde Accumulation and Procollagen I Down-Regulation in Human Dermal Fibroblasts 
UVA contributes to the pathogenesis of skin aging by downregulation of procollagen I content and induction of matrix metalloproteinase (MMP)-associated responses. Application of antioxidants such as lycopene has been demonstrated as a convenient way to achieve protection against skin aging. Lycogen™, derived from the extracts of Rhodobacter sphaeroides, exerts several biological effects similar to that of lycopene whereas most of its anti-aging efficacy remains uncertain. In this study, we attempted to examine whether Lycogen™ could suppress malondialdehyde (MDA) accumulation and restore downregulated procollagen I expression induced by UVA exposure. In human dermal fibroblasts Hs68 cells, UVA repressed cell viability and decreased procollagen I protein content accompanied with the induction of MMP-1 and MDA accumulation. Remarkably, incubation with 50 μM Lycogen™ for 24 h ameliorated UVA-induced cell death and restored UVA-induced downregulation of procollagen in a dose-related manner. Lycogen™ treatment also prevented the UVA-induced MMP-1 upregulation and intracellular MDA generation in Hs68 cells. Activation of NFκB levels, one of the downstream events induced by UVA irradiation and MMP-1 induction, were also prevented by Lycogen™ administration. Taken together, our findings demonstrate that Lycogen™ may be an alternative agent that prevents UVA-induced skin aging and could be used in cosmetic and pharmaceutical applications.
doi:10.3390/ijms15021686
PMCID: PMC3958816  PMID: 24463291
Lycogen™; skin aging; UVA; procollagen I; matrix metalloproteinase
22.  Characterization of a Low Shrinkage Dental Composite Containing Bismethylene Spiroorthocarbonate Expanding Monomer 
In this study, a novel dental composite based on the unsaturated bismethylene spiroorthocarbonate expanding monomer 3,9-dimethylene-1,3,5,7-tetraoxa-spiro[5,5]undecane (BMSOC) and bisphenol-S-bis(3-meth acrylate-2-hydroxypropyl)ether (BisS-GMA) was prepared. CQ (camphorquinone) of 1 wt % and DMAEMA (2-(dimethylamino)ethyl methacrylate) of 2 wt % were used in a photoinitiation system to initiate the copolymerization of the matrix resins. Distilled water contact angle measurements were performed for the wettability measurement. Degree of conversion, volumetric shrinkage, contraction stress and compressive strength were measured using Fourier Transformation Infrared-FTIR spectroscopy, the AccuVol and a universal testing machine, respectively. Within the limitations of this study, it can be concluded that the resin composites modified by bismethylene spiroorthocarbonate and BisS-GMA showed a low volumetric shrinkage at 1.25% and a higher contact angle. The lower contraction stress, higher degree of conversion and compressive strength of the novel dental composites were also observed.
doi:10.3390/ijms15022400
PMCID: PMC3958858  PMID: 24518683
unsaturated bismethylene spiroorthocarbonate; dental composites; compressive strength; volumetric shrinkage; contraction stress
23.  Role of mtDNA Haplogroups in the Prevalence of Knee Osteoarthritis in a Southern Chinese Population 
Mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) has been implicated in various human degenerative diseases. However, the role of mtDNA in Osteoarthritis (OA) is less known. To investigate whether mtDNA haplogroups contribute to the prevalence of knee OA, we have carried out a comprehensive case-control study on 187 knee OA patients and 420 geographically matched controls in southern China. OA patients were classified on the Kellgren/Lawrence scale from two to four for the disease severity study and the data were analyzed by adjusting for age and sex. We found that patients with haplogroup G (OR = 3.834; 95% CI 1.139, 12.908; p = 0.03) and T16362C (OR = 1.715; 95% CI 1.174, 2.506; p = 0.005) exhibited an increased risk of OA occurrence. Furthermore, patients carrying haplogroup G had a higher severity progression of knee OA (OR = 10.870; 95% CI 1.307, 90.909; p = 0.007). On the other hand, people with haplogroup B/B4 (OR = 0.503; 95% CI 0.283, 0.893; p = 0.019)/(OR = 0.483; 95% CI 0.245, 0.954; p = 0.036) were less susceptible for OA occurrence. Interestingly, we found OA patients also exhibited a general increase in mtDNA content. Our study indicates that the mtDNA haplogroup plays a role in modulating OA development.
doi:10.3390/ijms15022646
PMCID: PMC3958873  PMID: 24534808
mitochondria; haplogroup; osteoarthritis; copy number
24.  High-Level Expression of Pro-Form Lipase from Rhizopus oryzae in Pichia pastoris and Its Purification and Characterization 
A gene encoding Rhizopus oryzae lipase containing prosequence (ProROL) was cloned into the pPICZαA and electrotransformed into the Pichia pastoris X-33 strain. The lipase was functionally expressed and secreted in Pichia pastoris with a molecular weight of 35 kDa. The maximum lipase activity of recombinant lipase (rProROL) was 21,000 U/mL, which was obtained in a fed-batch cultivation after 168 h induction with methanol in a 50-L bioreactor. After fermentation, the supernatant was concentrated by ultrafiltration with a 10 kDa cut off membrane and purified with ion exchange chromatography using SP Sepharose Fast Flow chromatography. The optimum pH and temperature of the rProROL were pH 9.0 and 40 °C, respectively. The lipase was stable from pH 4.0 to 9.0 and from 25 to 55 °C. The enzyme activity was enhanced by Ca2+ and inhibited by Hg2+ and Ag+. The lipase showed high activity toward triglyceride-Tripalmitin (C16:0) and triglyceride-Trilaurin (C12:0).
doi:10.3390/ijms15010203
PMCID: PMC3907806  PMID: 24368519
Rhizopus oryzae; lipase; Pichia pastoris; expression
25.  The Inhibitory Effect of Quercetin on Asymmetric Dimethylarginine-Induced Apoptosis Is Mediated by the Endoplasmic Reticulum Stress Pathway in Glomerular Endothelial Cells 
Asymmetric dimethylarginine (ADMA) is considered an independent mortality and cardiovascular risk factor in chronic kidney disease (CKD) patients, and contributes to the development of renal fibrosis. Quercetin (QC), a natural component of foods, protects against renal injury. Here, we explored the possible mechanisms that are responsible for ADMA-induced renal fibrosis and the protective effect of QC. We found that ADMA treatment activated the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress sensor proteins phosphorylated protein kinase RNA-activated-like ER kinase (PERK) and inositol requiring-1α (IRE1), which correspondingly induced C/EBP homologous protein (CHOP) expression and phosphorylated c-Jun N-terminal kinase (JNK) phosphorylation in glomerular endothelial cells (GEnCs). Following this, ADMA promoted ER stress-induced apoptosis and resulted in transforming growth factor β (TGF-β) expression in GEnCs. SP600125, an inhibitor of JNK, and CHOP siRNA protected against ADMA-induced cell apoptosis and TGF-β expression. QC prevented ADMA-induced PERK and IRE1 apoptotic ER stress pathway activation. Also, ADMA-induced GEnCs apoptosis and TGF-β expression was reduced by QC. Overexpression of CHOP blocked QC-mediated protection from apoptosis in ER stressed cells. Overall, these observations indicate that ADMA may induce GEnCs apoptosis and TGF-β expression by targeting the PERK-CHOP and IRE1-JNK pathway. In addition, drugs such as QC targeting ER stress may hold great promise for the development of novel therapies against ADMA-induced renal fibrosis.
doi:10.3390/ijms15010484
PMCID: PMC3907821  PMID: 24451129
ER stress; apoptosis; ADMA; TGF-β; quercetin

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