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1.  The sequence and de novo assembly of the giant panda genome 
Li, Ruiqiang | Fan, Wei | Tian, Geng | Zhu, Hongmei | He, Lin | Cai, Jing | Huang, Quanfei | Cai, Qingle | Li, Bo | Bai, Yinqi | Zhang, Zhihe | Zhang, Yaping | Wang, Wen | Li, Jun | Wei, Fuwen | Li, Heng | Jian, Min | Li, Jianwen | Zhang, Zhaolei | Nielsen, Rasmus | Li, Dawei | Gu, Wanjun | Yang, Zhentao | Xuan, Zhaoling | Ryder, Oliver A. | Leung, Frederick Chi-Ching | Zhou, Yan | Cao, Jianjun | Sun, Xiao | Fu, Yonggui | Fang, Xiaodong | Guo, Xiaosen | Wang, Bo | Hou, Rong | Shen, Fujun | Mu, Bo | Ni, Peixiang | Lin, Runmao | Qian, Wubin | Wang, Guodong | Yu, Chang | Nie, Wenhui | Wang, Jinhuan | Wu, Zhigang | Liang, Huiqing | Min, Jiumeng | Wu, Qi | Cheng, Shifeng | Ruan, Jue | Wang, Mingwei | Shi, Zhongbin | Wen, Ming | Liu, Binghang | Ren, Xiaoli | Zheng, Huisong | Dong, Dong | Cook, Kathleen | Shan, Gao | Zhang, Hao | Kosiol, Carolin | Xie, Xueying | Lu, Zuhong | Zheng, Hancheng | Li, Yingrui | Steiner, Cynthia C. | Lam, Tommy Tsan-Yuk | Lin, Siyuan | Zhang, Qinghui | Li, Guoqing | Tian, Jing | Gong, Timing | Liu, Hongde | Zhang, Dejin | Fang, Lin | Ye, Chen | Zhang, Juanbin | Hu, Wenbo | Xu, Anlong | Ren, Yuanyuan | Zhang, Guojie | Bruford, Michael W. | Li, Qibin | Ma, Lijia | Guo, Yiran | An, Na | Hu, Yujie | Zheng, Yang | Shi, Yongyong | Li, Zhiqiang | Liu, Qing | Chen, Yanling | Zhao, Jing | Qu, Ning | Zhao, Shancen | Tian, Feng | Wang, Xiaoling | Wang, Haiyin | Xu, Lizhi | Liu, Xiao | Vinar, Tomas | Wang, Yajun | Lam, Tak-Wah | Yiu, Siu-Ming | Liu, Shiping | Zhang, Hemin | Li, Desheng | Huang, Yan | Wang, Xia | Yang, Guohua | Jiang, Zhi | Wang, Junyi | Qin, Nan | Li, Li | Li, Jingxiang | Bolund, Lars | Kristiansen, Karsten | Wong, Gane Ka-Shu | Olson, Maynard | Zhang, Xiuqing | Li, Songgang | Yang, Huanming | Wang, Jian | Wang, Jun
Nature  2009;463(7279):311-317.
Using next-generation sequencing technology alone, we have successfully generated and assembled a draft sequence of the giant panda genome. The assembled contigs (2.25 gigabases (Gb)) cover approximately 94% of the whole genome, and the remaining gaps (0.05 Gb) seem to contain carnivore-specific repeats and tandem repeats. Comparisons with the dog and human showed that the panda genome has a lower divergence rate. The assessment of panda genes potentially underlying some of its unique traits indicated that its bamboo diet might be more dependent on its gut microbiome than its own genetic composition. We also identified more than 2.7 million heterozygous single nucleotide polymorphisms in the diploid genome. Our data and analyses provide a foundation for promoting mammalian genetic research, and demonstrate the feasibility for using next-generation sequencing technologies for accurate, cost-effective and rapid de novo assembly of large eukaryotic genomes.
PMCID: PMC3951497  PMID: 20010809
2.  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
3.  A Novel Genotype H9N2 Influenza Virus Possessing Human H5N1 Internal Genomes Has Been Circulating in Poultry in Eastern China since 1998 ▿ †  
Journal of Virology  2009;83(17):8428-8438.
Many novel reassortant influenza viruses of the H9N2 genotype have emerged in aquatic birds in southern China since their initial isolation in this region in 1994. However, the genesis and evolution of H9N2 viruses in poultry in eastern China have not been investigated systematically. In the current study, H9N2 influenza viruses isolated from poultry in eastern China during the past 10 years were characterized genetically and antigenically. Phylogenetic analysis revealed that these H9N2 viruses have undergone extensive reassortment to generate multiple novel genotypes, including four genotypes (J, F, K, and L) that have never been recognized before. The major H9N2 influenza viruses represented by A/Chicken/Beijing/1/1994 (Ck/BJ/1/94)-like viruses circulating in poultry in eastern China before 1998 have been gradually replaced by A/Chicken/Shanghai/F/1998 (Ck/SH/F/98)-like viruses, which have a genotype different from that of viruses isolated in southern China. The similarity of the internal genes of these H9N2 viruses to those of the H5N1 influenza viruses isolated from 2001 onwards suggests that the Ck/SH/F/98-like virus may have been the donor of internal genes of human and poultry H5N1 influenza viruses circulating in Eurasia. Experimental studies showed that some of these H9N2 viruses could be efficiently transmitted by the respiratory tract in chicken flocks. Our study provides new insight into the genesis and evolution of H9N2 influenza viruses and supports the notion that some of these viruses may have been the donors of internal genes found in H5N1 viruses.
PMCID: PMC2738149  PMID: 19553328
4.  Bmi1 regulates mitochondrial function and the DNA damage response pathway 
Nature  2009;459(7245):387-392.
Mice deficient in the Polycomb repressor Bmi1 develop numerous abnormalities including a severe defect in stem cell self-renewal, alterations in thymocyte maturation and a shortened lifespan. Previous work has implicated de-repression of the Ink4a/Arf (also known as Cdkn2a) locus as mediating many of the aspects of the Bmi1–/– phenotype. Here we demonstrate that cells derived from Bmi1–/– mice also have impaired mitochondrial function, a marked increase in the intracellular levels of reactive oxygen species and subsequent engagement of the DNA damage response pathway. Furthermore, many of the deficiencies normally observed in Bmi1–/– mice improve after either pharmacological treatment with the antioxidant N-acetylcysteine or genetic disruption of the DNA damage response pathway by Chk2 (also known as Chek2) deletion. These results demonstrate that Bmi1 has an unexpected role in maintaining mitochondrial function and redox homeostasis and indicate that the Polycomb family of proteins can coordinately regulate cellular metabolism with stem and progenitor cell function.
PMCID: PMC4721521  PMID: 19404261
5.  Clustering by neurocognition for fine-mapping of the schizophrenia susceptibility loci on chromosome 6p 
Genes, brain, and behavior  2009;8(8):785-794.
Chromosome 6p is one of the most commonly implicated regions in the genome-wide linkage scans of schizophrenia, whereas further association studies for markers in this region were inconsistent likely due to heterogeneity. This study aimed to identify more homogeneous subgroups of families for fine mapping on regions around markers D6S296 and D6S309 (both in 6p24.3) as well as D6S274 (in 6p22.3) by means of similarity in neurocognitive functioning. A total of 160 families of patients with schizophrenia comprising at least two affected siblings who had data for 8 neurocognitive test variables of the Continuous Performance Test (CPT) and the Wisconsin Card Sorting Test (WCST) were subjected to cluster analysis with data visualization using the test scores of both affected siblings. Family clusters derived were then used separately in family-based association tests for 64 single nucleotide polymorphisms covering the region of 6p24.3 and 6p22.3. Three clusters were derived from the family-based clustering, with deficit cluster 1 representing deficit on the CPT, deficit cluster 2 representing deficit on both the CPT and the WCST, and a third cluster of non-deficit. After adjustment using false discovery rate for multiple testing, SNP rs13873 and haplotype rs1225934-rs13873 on BMP6-TXNDC5 genes were significantly associated with schizophrenia for the deficit cluster 1 but not for the deficit cluster 2 or non-deficit cluster. Our results provide further evidence that the BMP6-TXNDC5 locus on 6p24.3 may play a role in the selective impairments on sustained attention of schizophrenia.
PMCID: PMC4286260  PMID: 19694819
endophenotype; sustained attention deficit; executive dysfunction; candidate gene; cluster analysis; schizophrenia
6.  Complete Resequencing of 40 Genomes Reveals Domestication Events and Genes in Silkworm (Bombyx) 
Science (New York, N.Y.)  2009;326(5951):433-436.
A single–base pair resolution silkworm genetic variation map was constructed from 40 domesticated and wild silkworms, each sequenced to approximately threefold coverage, representing 99.88% of the genome. We identified ∼16 million single-nucleotide polymorphisms, many indels, and structural variations. We find that the domesticated silkworms are clearly genetically differentiated from the wild ones, but they have maintained large levels of genetic variability, suggesting a short domestication event involving a large number of individuals. We also identified signals of selection at 354 candidate genes that may have been important during domestication, some of which have enriched expression in the silk gland, midgut, and testis. These data add to our understanding of the domestication processes and may have applications in devising pest control strategies and advancing the use of silkworms as efficient bioreactors.
PMCID: PMC3951477  PMID: 19713493
7.  Genome-Wide Association Study for Femoral Neck Bone Geometry 
Poor femoral neck bone geometry at the femur is an important risk factor for hip fracture. We conducted a genome-wide association study (GWAS) of femoral neck bone geometry, examining approximately 379,000 eligible single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in 1000 Caucasians. A common genetic variant, rs7430431 in the receptor transporting protein 3 (RTP3) gene, was identified in strong association with the buckling ratio (BR, P = 1.6 × 10−7), an index of bone structural instability, and with femoral cortical thickness (CT, P = 1.9 × 10−6). The RTP3 gene is located in 3p21.31, a region that we found to be linked with CT (LOD = 2.19, P = 6.0 × 10−4) in 3998 individuals from 434 pedigrees. The replication analyses in 1488 independent Caucasians and 2118 Chinese confirmed the association of rs7430431 to BR and CT (combined P = 7.0 × 10−3 for BR and P = 1.4 × 10−2 for CT). In addition, 350 hip fracture patients and 350 healthy control individuals were genotyped to assess the association of the RTP3 gene with the risk of hip fracture. Significant association between a nearby common SNP, rs10514713 of the RTP3 gene, and hip fracture (P = 1.0 × 10−3) was found. Our observations suggest that RTP3 may be a novel candidate gene for femoral neck bone geometry. © 2010 American Society for Bone and Mineral Research
PMCID: PMC3153387  PMID: 20175129
genome-wide association; femoral neck bone geometry; bone fracture; RTP3
8.  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
9.  TGFBR1 haplotypes and risk of non-small cell lung cancer 
Cancer research  2009;69(17):7046-7052.
Transforming growth factor beta (TGF-β) receptors are centrally involved in TGF-β-mediated cell growth and differentiation and are frequently inactivated in non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). Constitutively decreased type I TGF-β receptor (TGFBR1) expression is emerging as a novel tumor-predisposing phenotype. The association of TGFBR1 haplotypes with risk for NSCLC has not yet been studied. We tested the hypothesis that single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) and/or TGFBR1 haplotypes are associated with risk of NSCLC. We genotyped six TGFBR1 haplotype tagging SNPs (htSNPs) by PCR-restriction fragment length polymorphism (PCR-RFLP) assays and one htSNP by PCR-single strand conformation polymorphism (PCR-SSCP) assay in two case-control studies. Case-control study 1 included 102 NSCLC patients and 104 healthy controls from Suzhou. Case-control study 2 included 131 patients with NSCLC and 133 healthy controls from Wuxi. Individuals included in both case-control studies were Han Chinese. Haplotypes were reconstructed according to the genotyping data and linkage disequilibrium (LD) status of these seven htSNPs. None of the htSNP was associated with NSCLC risk in either study. However, a four-marker haplotype CTGC was significantly more common among controls than among cases in both studies (P=0.014 and P=0.010, respectively) indicating that this haplotype is associated with decreased NSCLC risk (adjusted OR, 0.09; 95% CI, 0.01-0.61 and adjusted OR, 0.11; 95% CI, 0.02-0.59, respectively). Combined analysis of both studies shows a strong association of this four-marker haplotype with decreased NSCLC risk (adjusted OR, 0.11; 95% CI, 0.03-0.39). This is the first evidence of an association between a TGFBR1 haplotype and risk for NSCLC.
PMCID: PMC2737098  PMID: 19690145
NSCLC; TGFBR1; Polymorphisms; Haplotypes; Risk
10.  Pirfenidone Inhibits T Cell Activation, Proliferation, Cytokine and Chemokine Production, and Host Alloresponses 
Transplantation  2009;88(3):330-338.
We previously showed that pirfenidone, an anti-fibrotic agent, reduces lung allograft injury/rejection. In this study, we tested the hypothesis that pirfenidone has immune modulating activities and evaluated its effects on the function of T cell subsets, which play important roles in allograft rejection.
We first evaluated whether pirfenidone alters T cell proliferation and cytokine release in response to T cell receptor (TCR) activation, and whether pirfenidone alters regulatory T cells (CD4+CD25+) suppressive effects using an in vitro assay. Additionally, pirfenidone effects on alloantigen-induced T cell proliferation in vivo were assessed by adoptive transfer of CFSE-labeled T cells across a parent->F1 MHC mismatch, as well as using a murine heterotopic cardiac allograft model (BALB/c->C57BL/6).
Pirfenidone was found to inhibit the responder frequency of TCR-stimulated CD4+ cell total proliferation in vitro and in vivo, whereas both CD4 and CD8 proliferation index were reduced by pirfenidone. Additionally, pirfenidone inhibited TCR-induced production of multiple pro-inflammatory cytokines and chemokines. Interestingly, there was no change on TGF-β production by purified T cells, and pirfenidone had no effect on the suppressive properties of naturally occurring regulatory T cells. Pirfenidone alone showed a small but significant (p < 0.05) effect on the in vivo allogeneic response while the combination of pirfenidone and low dose rapamycin had more remarkable effect in reducing the alloantigen response with prolonged graft survival.
Pirfenidone may be an important new agent in transplantation, with particular relevance to combating chronic rejection by inhibiting both fibroproliferative and alloimmune responses.
PMCID: PMC2726969  PMID: 19667934
rodent; T cells; transplantation
11.  A Target-specific Approach for the Identification of Tyrosine-sulfated Hemostatic Proteins 
Analytical biochemistry  2009;390(1):88-90.
A simple methodology for the identification of hemostatic proteins that are subjected to post-translational tyrosine sulfation was developed. The procedure involved sequence analysis of members of the three hemostatic pathways using Sulfinator prediction algorithm, followed by [35S]sulfate-labeling of cultured HepG2 human hepatoma cells, immunoprecipitation of targeted [35S]sulfate-labeled hemostatic proteins, and tyrosine O[35S]sulfate analysis of immunoprecipitated proteins. Three new tyrosine-sulfated hemostatic proteins, protein S, prekallikrein and plasminogen, were identified. Such a target-specific approach will allow for investigation of tyrosine-sulfated proteins of other biochemical/physiological pathways/processes and contribute to a better understating of the functional role of post-translational tyrosine sulfation.
PMCID: PMC2695991  PMID: 19351526
Hemostasis; tyrosine sulfation; post-translational protein modification
12.  An Oestrogen Receptor α-bound Human Chromatin Interactome 
Nature  2009;462(7269):58-64.
Genomes are organized into high-level 3-dimensional structures, and DNA elements separated by long genomic distances could functionally interact. Many transcription factors bind to regulatory DNA elements distant from gene promoters. While distal binding sites have been shown to regulate transcription by long-range chromatin interactions at a few loci, chromatin interactions and their impact on transcription regulation have not been investigated in a genome-wide manner. Therefore, we developed Chromatin Interaction Analysis by Paired-End Tag sequencing (ChIA-PET) for de novo detection of global chromatin interactions, and comprehensively mapped the chromatin interaction network bound by oestrogen receptor α (ERα) in the human genome. We found that most high-confidence remote ERα binding sites are anchored at gene promoters through long-range chromatin interactions, suggesting that ERα functions by extensive chromatin looping to bring genes together for coordinated transcriptional regulation. We propose that chromatin interactions constitute a primary mechanism for regulating transcription in mammalian genomes.
PMCID: PMC2774924  PMID: 19890323
13.  Evidence for an association of HLA-DRB1*15 and DRB1*09 with leprosy and the impact of DRB1*09 on disease onset in a Chinese Han population 
BMC Medical Genetics  2009;10:133.
Human leukocyte antigens (HLAs) have been proposed to modulate the immune response to Mycobacterium leprae. The association of HLA-DRB1 with leprosy has been reported in several populations, but not in a Chinese population.
The polymerase chain reaction-sequence-specific oligonucleotide probe with Luminex100 (PCR-SSOP-Luminex) method was used to genotype HLA-DRB1 alleles in 305 leprosy patients and 527 healthy control individuals.
The HLA-DRB1*15 allele was significantly more prevalent among leprosy patients than healthy controls, whereas the frequency of the HLA-DRB1*09 allele was lower among leprosy patients, especially those with early-onset disease.
HLA-DRB1 alleles are associated with leprosy susceptibility in a Chinese population. The HLA-DRB1*09 allele was found to be protective exclusively in a subset of early-onset leprosy patients.
PMCID: PMC2797507  PMID: 20003324
14.  2-(3-Oxocyclo­hex-1-enylamino)acetic acid 
The six-membered ring of the title compound, C8H11NO3, adopts an envelope shape with the C atom in the meta position of the carbonyl representing the flap. This atom is disordered over two positions in an 0.865 (6): 0.135 (6) ratio. In the crystal, a two-dimensional supra­molecular network parallel to the ac plane is built up from O—H⋯O and N—H⋯O hydrogen bonds.
PMCID: PMC2971405  PMID: 21578369
15.  Research on focal nodular hyperplasia with MSCT and postprocessing 
AIM: To investigate and evaluate the pathological features and diagnostic value of focal nodular hyperplasia (FNH) with multi-section spiral computed tomography (MSCT) and postprocessing.
METHODS: A total of 25 patients with FNH who had undergone MSCT and postprocessing were included in the investigation. All patients had been pathologically or clinically confirmed with FNH. A number of 75 cases of hepatic carcinomas, hemangiomas and adenomas were randomly selected at a same period for a comparative study.
RESULTS: There was a single focus in 22 cases and multiple foci in 3 cases. On the plain scan, 17 lesions showed hypodensity, 7 isodensity and 4 hyperdensity (the case with fatty liver). With contrast, 28 lesions were enhanced evenly or in the nodules in the arterial phase; 13 lesions still showed hyperdensity, 11 lesions isodensity and 4 lesions hypodensity in the parenchymatous phase; in the delayed phase only 5 lesions showed hyperdensity but 9 lesions showed isodensity or slight hypodensity and 14 lesions showed hypodensity. Twelve lesions of 28 had central asteroid scars. Thickened feeding arteries in postprocessing were seen in 24 lesions, and were integrated into the parenchymatous lesions with a gradual and smooth course. On the contrary, there were no artery penetrated into the lesion found in any of comparative hepatic tumors.
CONCLUSION: Doctors could make a correct diagnosis and differentiation of FNH on evaluation of the characteristic appearance on MSCT with postprocessing.
PMCID: PMC2761565  PMID: 19824121
Angiography; Computer-assisted image processing; Focal nodular hyperplasia; Liver diseases; X-ray; Computed tomography
16.  Polymorphisms of the ICAM-1 exon 6 (E469K) are associated with differentiation of colorectal cancer 
Genetic factors are thought to play a role in development for colorectal carcinogenesis. ICAM-1 is a polymorphic gene, thus, the present study investigated the relationship between the polymorphisms of ICAM-1 and the susceptibility and phenotypical characteristics of colorectal cancer (CRC).
The polymorphisms at ICAM-1 exon 4 (G241R) and exon 6 (E469K) were detected by PCR with sequence-specific primers. The relationship between specific genotypes of ICAM-1 and differentiation of CRC was evaluated by the histological grade.
We showed only GG genotype of ICAM-1 individuals in either CRC or normal controls. The KK genotype of ICAM-1 K469E was found more frequently than in the controls (P < 0.05). Patients with well-differentiated CRC displayed the KK more frequently than those of poor differentiation (P < 0.05).
The findings indicate that polymorphisms of G241R are rare in Chinese population and that KK genotype of ICAM-1 K469E is significantly associated with well differentiation of CRC.
PMCID: PMC2768696  PMID: 19822019
17.  Suppression of growth, migration and invasion of highly-metastatic human breast cancer cells by berbamine and its molecular mechanisms of action 
Molecular Cancer  2009;8:81.
Breast cancer is the second leading cause of cancer related deaths among females worldwide. Berbamine (BER), a kind of bis-benzylisoquinoline alkaloid, has been used to treat clinical patients with inflammation and cancer for many years in China. The purpose of this study is to investigate the activity of BER against highly-metastatic human breast cancer and its molecular mechanisms of action.
In our study, we found that BER inhibits growth of highly-metastatic human breast cancer cell lines MDA-MB-231 and MDA-MB-435S cells dose-dependently and time-dependently. The sera from BER-treated rats suppress the growth of MDA-MB-231 cells. BER shows synergistic effects with some existing anticancer agents such as trichostatin A (TSA, the histone deacetylase inhibitor), celecoxib (the inhibitor of COX-2), and carmofur against the growth of MDA-MB-231 cells. BER also displays the strong activity of inducing apoptosis in both estrogen receptor-negative MDA-MB-231 cells and estrogen receptor-alpha-positive MCF-7 breast cancer cells, but not in normal human mammary epithelial cell line MCF10A. BER down-regulates anti-apoptotic protein Bcl-2 levels and up-regulates pro-apoptotic protein Bax expressions in MDA-MB-231 and MDA-MB-435S cells. BER also has synergistic effects with anticancer agents trichostatin A, celecoxib and/or carmofur on reducing Bcl-2/Bax ratios and VEGF secretions in MDA-MB-231 cells. In addition, BER significantly suppresses cell migration and invasion, as well as decreases pro-MMP-9/pro-MMP-2 activation in breast cancer cells. Furthermore, BER suppresses Akt and nuclear factor κB signaling by reducing the phosphorylation of c-Met and Akt, and inhibiting their downstream targets such as nuclear factor κB p-65, Bcl-2/Bax, osteopontin, VEGF, MMP-9 and MMP-2 on protein and/or mRNA levels in breast cancer cells.
Our findings have showed that BER suppresses the growth, migration and invasion in highly-metastatic human breast cancer cells by possibly inhibiting Akt and NF-κB signaling with their upstream target c-Met and downstream targets Bcl-2/Bax, osteopontin, VEGF, MMP-9 and MMP-2. BER has synergistic effects with anticancer agents trichostatin A, celecoxib and carmofur on inhibiting the growth of MDA-MB-231 cells and reducing the ratio of Bcl-2/Bax and/or VEGF expressions in the cancer cells. These findings suggest that BER may have the wide therapeutic and/or adjuvant therapeutic application in the treatment of human breast cancer and other cancers.
PMCID: PMC2765940  PMID: 19796390
18.  Inhibition of Staphyloxanthin Virulence Factor Biosynthesis in Staphylococcus aureus: In Vitro, in Vivo, and Crystallographic Results† 
Journal of medicinal chemistry  2009;52(13):3869-3880.
The gold color of Staphylococcus aureus is derived from the carotenoid staphyloxanthin, a virulence factor for the organism. Here, we report the synthesis and activity of a broad variety of staphyloxanthin biosynthesis inhibitors that inhibit the first committed step in its biosynthesis, condensation of two farnesyl diphosphate (FPP) molecules to dehydrosqualene, catalyzed by the enzyme dehydrosqualene synthase (CrtM). The most active compounds are phosphonoacetamides that have low nanomolar Ki values for CrtM inhibition and are active in whole bacterial cells and in mice, where they inhibit S. aureus disease progression. We also report the X-ray crystallographic structure of the most active compound, N-3-(3-phenoxyphenyl)propylphosphonoacetamide (IC50 = 8 nM, in cells), bound to CrtM. The structure exhibits a complex network of hydrogen bonds between the polar headgroup and the protein, while the 3-phenoxyphenyl side chain is located in a hydrophobic pocket previously reported to bind farnesyl thiodiphosphate (FsPP), as well as biphenyl phosphonosulfonate inhibitors. Given the good enzymatic, whole cell, and in vivo pharmacologic activities, these results should help guide the further development of novel antivirulence factor-based therapies for S. aureus infections.
PMCID: PMC2753857  PMID: 19456099
19.  DNA-Based MRI Probes for Specific Detection of Chronic Exposure to Amphetamine in Living Brains 
We designed phosphorothioate-modified DNA probes linked to superparamagnetic iron oxide nanoparticles (SPION) for in vivo magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) of fosB and ΔfosB mRNA after amphetamine (AMPH) exposure in mice. Specificity of both the fosB and ΔfosB probes was verified by in vitro reverse transcriptase-PCR amplification to a single fragment of total cDNA obtained from acutely AMPH-exposed mouse brains. We confirmed time-dependent uptake and retention profiles of both probes in neurons of GAD67-green fluorescent protein knock-in mice. MRI signal of SPION-labeled fosB probe delivered via intracerebroventricular route was elevated in both acutely and chronically AMPH-exposed mice; the signal was suppressed by dopaminergic receptor antagonist pretreatment. SPION-labeled ΔfosB probe signal elevation occurred only in chronically AMPH-exposed mice. The in vivo target specificity of these probes permits reliable MRI visualization of AMPH-induced differential elevations of fosB and ΔfosB mRNA in living brains.
PMCID: PMC2746375  PMID: 19710318
20.  CD151 Gene Delivery after Myocardial Infarction Promotes Functional Neovascularization and Activates FAK Signaling 
Molecular Medicine  2009;15(9-10):307-315.
Our previous studies showed that tetraspanin CD151 promotes neovascularization in rat hindlimb and myocardial ischemia models. This study is to assess whether CD151 induces arteriogenesis and promotes functional neovascularization in a pig myocardial infarction model, and to determine the signaling pathways involved. CD151 cDNA and antiCD151 sequence were constructed into a recombinant adeno-associated virus (rAAV) vector. All 26 pigs used either were subjected to coronary artery ligation or did not undergo surgery. Eight wks after viral administration, the expression of CD151 protein was measured by Western blot. The densities of capillaries and arterioles were determined using immunohistochemistry. Regional myocardial perfusion and other myocardial functions were evaluated by 13N-labeled NH3 positron emission computed tomography (13N-NH3 PET) and echocardiography. Western blot was performed for assessing the signaling mechanisms. Overexpression of CD151 markedly increased the densities of capillaries and arterioles, significantly enhanced the regional myocardial perfusion, reduced myocardial ischemia, and improved the myocardial contraction, wall motion, and wall thickness. Conversely, antiCD151 gene delivery reversed the above changes. In addition, CD151 activated focal adhesion kinase (FAK), extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK), c-Jun N-teminal kinase (JNK), phosphatidylinositol-3 kinase (PI3K), protein kinase B (Akt), and endothelial nitric-oxide synthase (eNOS), and increased nitric oxide (NO) level. These findings demonstrate a robust role of CD151 in inducing and/or upregulating neovascularization. CD151-dependent neovascularization correlates with the activations of FAK, mitogen activated protein kinases (MAPKs), and PI3K signaling, suggesting that CD151 may promote neovascularization via MAPKs and PI3K pathways.
PMCID: PMC2710288  PMID: 19603100
21.  Powerful Bivariate Genome-Wide Association Analyses Suggest the SOX6 Gene Influencing Both Obesity and Osteoporosis Phenotypes in Males 
PLoS ONE  2009;4(8):e6827.
Current genome-wide association studies (GWAS) are normally implemented in a univariate framework and analyze different phenotypes in isolation. This univariate approach ignores the potential genetic correlation between important disease traits. Hence this approach is difficult to detect pleiotropic genes, which may exist for obesity and osteoporosis, two common diseases of major public health importance that are closely correlated genetically.
Principal Findings
To identify such pleiotropic genes and the key mechanistic links between the two diseases, we here performed the first bivariate GWAS of obesity and osteoporosis. We searched for genes underlying co-variation of the obesity phenotype, body mass index (BMI), with the osteoporosis risk phenotype, hip bone mineral density (BMD), scanning ∼380,000 SNPs in 1,000 unrelated homogeneous Caucasians, including 499 males and 501 females. We identified in the male subjects two SNPs in intron 1 of the SOX6 (SRY-box 6) gene, rs297325 and rs4756846, which were bivariately associated with both BMI and hip BMD, achieving p values of 6.82×10−7 and 1.47×10−6, respectively. The two SNPs ranked at the top in significance for bivariate association with BMI and hip BMD in the male subjects among all the ∼380,000 SNPs examined genome-wide. The two SNPs were replicated in a Framingham Heart Study (FHS) cohort containing 3,355 Caucasians (1,370 males and 1,985 females) from 975 families. In the FHS male subjects, the two SNPs achieved p values of 0.03 and 0.02, respectively, for bivariate association with BMI and femoral neck BMD. Interestingly, SOX6 was previously found to be essential to both cartilage formation/chondrogenesis and obesity-related insulin resistance, suggesting the gene's dual role in both bone and fat.
Our findings, together with the prior biological evidence, suggest the SOX6 gene's importance in co-regulation of obesity and osteoporosis.
PMCID: PMC2730014  PMID: 19714249
22.  Diffusion-Weighted Magnetic Resonance Imaging Reversal by Gene Knockdown of Matrix Metalloproteinase-9 Activities in Live Animal Brains 
The involvement of matrix metalloproteinase-9 (MMP-9) activities in the development of abnormal water diffusion in the brain after cardiac arrest is not fully understood. We used magnetic resonance imaging to determine the correlation between MMP-9 activity and the mechanism of abnormal water diffusion after global cerebral ischemia (GCI)-induced brain damage in C57black6 mice. We induced GCI in mice by occluding both carotid arteries for 60 min, then allowing reperfusion. We labeled a short DNA that targets mmp-9 mRNA activity [phosphorothioate-modified oligodeoxynucleotide (sODN)-mmp9] or a control probe without intracellular target (sODN-Ran) with iron-based MR contrast agent [superparamagnetic iron oxide nanoparticle (SPION)-mmp9 or SPION-Ran] or fluorescein isothiocyanate (FITC)-sODN-mmp9 or FITC-sODN-Ran; we then delivered these probes by intracerebroventricular infusion or intraperitoneal injection with in 3 h of reperfusion. At low dose (120 pmol/kg) the SPION-mmp9 probe was retained at significant levels in the striatum and cortex of living brains 10 h after GCI. Probe retention was validated by similar elevation of mmp-9 mRNA and antigens in postmortem samples taken from regions that exhibited GCI-induced hyperintensity in diffusion-weighted imaging, and a significant reduction in apparent diffusion coefficient (rADC, p = 0.0006, n = 12). At a higher dose (120 nmol/kg), the FITC-sODN-mmp9 probe revealed significant knockdown of MMP-9 activity, per zymography, and a reversal of striatal rADC (p = 0.004, n = 6). These observations were not duplicated in the control group. We conclude that expression of mmp-9 mRNA is associated with abnormal ADC after GCI.
PMCID: PMC2726707  PMID: 19295156
23.  The Goldfish SG2NA Gene Encodes Two α-Type Regulatory Subunits for PP-2A and Displays Distinct Developmental Expression Pattern 
SG2NA is a member of the striatin protein family. In human and mouse, the SG2NA gene encodes two major protein isoforms: SG2NAα and SG2NAβ. The functions of these proteins, except for acting as the regulatory subunits for PP-2A, remain largely unknown. To explore the possible functions of SG2NA in lower vertebrates, we have isolated two SG2NA cDNAs from goldfish, Carassius auratus. Our results reveal that the first cDNA contains an ORF of 2118 bp encoding a deduced protein with 705 amino acids, and the second one 2148 bp coding for a deduced protein of 715 amino acids. Comparative analysis reveals that both isoforms belong to the α-type, and are named SG2NAα and SG2NAα+. RT-PCR and western blot analysis reveal that the SG2NA gene is differentially expressed in 9 tissues examined. During goldfish development, while the SG2NA mRNAs remain relatively constant in the first 3 stages and then become decreased and fluctuated from gastrula to larval hatching, the SG2NA proteins are fluctuated, displaying a peak every 3 to 4 stages. Each later peak is higher than the earlier one and the protein expression level becomes maximal at hatching stage. Together, our results reveal that SG2NA may play an important role during goldfish development and also in homeostasis of most adult tissues.
PMCID: PMC2758282  PMID: 19838339
goldfish; PP-2A; SG2NA; gene expression; molecular cloning; development; dephosphorylation; retina; lens
24.  Molecular properties of CD133+ glioblastoma stem cells derived from treatment-refractory recurrent brain tumors 
Journal of Neuro-Oncology  2009;94(1):1-19.
Glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) remains refractory to conventional therapy. CD133+ GBM cells have been recently isolated and characterized as chemo-/radio-resistant tumor-initiating cells and are hypothesized to be responsible for post-treatment recurrence. In order to explore the molecular properties of tumorigenic CD133+ GBM cells that resist treatment, we isolated CD133+ GBM cells from tumors that are recurrent and have previously received chemo-/radio-therapy. We found that the purified CD133+ GBM cells sorted from the CD133+ GBM spheres express SOX2 and CD44 and are capable of clonal self-renewal and dividing to produce fast-growing CD133− progeny, which form the major cell population within GBM spheres. Intracranial injection of purified CD133+, not CD133− GBM daughter cells, can lead to the development of YKL-40+ infiltrating tumors that display hypervascularity and pseudopalisading necrosis-like features in mouse brain. The molecular profile of purified CD133+ GBM cells revealed characteristics of neuroectoderm-like cells, expressing both radial glial and neural crest cell developmental genes, and portraying a slow-growing, non-differentiated, polarized/migratory, astrogliogenic, and chondrogenic phenotype. These data suggest that at least a subset of treated and recurrent GBM tumors may be seeded by CD133+ GBM cells with neural and mesenchymal properties. The data also imply that CD133+ GBM cells may be clinically indolent/quiescent prior to undergoing proliferative cell division (PCD) to produce CD133− GBM effector progeny. Identifying intrinsic and extrinsic cues, which promote CD133+ GBM cell self-renewal and PCD to support ongoing tumor regeneration may highlight novel therapeutic strategies to greatly diminish the recurrence rate of GBM.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1007/s11060-009-9919-z) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC2705704  PMID: 19468690
Glioblastoma; Cancer stem cells; Self-renewal; Radial glial cells; Neural crest cells; Expression microarray

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