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1.  Identification of Novel Immunogenic Proteins from Mycoplasma bovis and Establishment of an Indirect ELISA Based on Recombinant E1 Beta Subunit of the Pyruvate Dehydrogenase Complex 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(2):e88328.
The pathogen Mycoplasma bovis (M. bovis) is a major cause of respiratory disease, mastitis, and arthritis in cattle. Screening the key immunogenic proteins and updating rapid diagnostic techniques are necessary to the prevention and control of M. bovis infection. In this study, 19 highly immunogenic proteins from M. bovis strain PD were identified using 2-dimensional gel electrophoresis, immunoblotting and MALDI-TOF/TOF MS. Of these 19 proteins, pyruvate dehydrogenase E1 component beta subunit (PDHB) showed excellent immune reactivity and repeatability. PDHB was found to be conserved in different M. bovis isolates, as indicated by Western blot analysis. On the basis of these results, a rPDHB-based indirect ELISA (iELISA) was established for the detection of serum antibodies using prokaryotically expressed recombinant PDHB protein as the coating antigen. The specificity analysis result showed that rPDHB-based iELISA did not react with other pathogens assessed in our study except M. agalactiae (which infects sheep and goats). Moreover, 358 serum samples from several disease-affected cattle feedlots were tested using this iELISA system and a commercial kit, which gave positive rates of 50.8% and 39.9%, respectively. The estimated Kappa agreement coefficient between the two methods was 0.783. Notably, 39 positive serum samples that had been missed by the commercial kit were all found to be positive by Western blot analysis. The detection rate of rPDHB-based iELISA was significantly higher than that of the commercial kit at a serum dilution ratio of 1∶5120 to 1∶10,240 (P<0.05). Taken together, these results provide important information regarding the novel immunogenic proteins of M. bovis. The established rPDHB-based iELISA may be suitable for use as a new method of antibody detection in M. bovis.
PMCID: PMC3919759  PMID: 24520369
2.  Adaptive Modulation of Adult Brain Gray and White Matter to High Altitude: Structural MRI Studies 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(7):e68621.
The aim of this study was to investigate brain structural alterations in adult immigrants who adapted to high altitude (HA). Voxel-based morphometry analysis of gray matter (GM) volumes, surface-based analysis of cortical thickness, and Tract-Based Spatial Statistics analysis of white matter fractional anisotropy (FA) based on MRI images were conducted on 16 adults (20–22 years) who immigrated to the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau (2300–4400 m) for 2 years. They had no chronic mountain sickness. Control group consisted of 16 matched sea level subjects. A battery of neuropsychological tests was also conducted. HA immigrants showed significantly decreased GM volumes in the right postcentral gyrus and right superior frontal gyrus, and increased GM volumes in the right middle frontal gyrus, right parahippocampal gyrus, right inferior and middle temporal gyri, bilateral inferior ventral pons, and right cerebellum crus1. While there was some divergence in the left hemisphere, surface-based patterns of GM changes in the right hemisphere resembled those seen for VBM analysis. FA changes were observed in multiple WM tracts. HA immigrants showed significant impairment in pulmonary function, increase in reaction time, and deficit in mental rotation. Parahippocampal and middle frontal GM volumes correlated with vital capacity. Superior frontal GM volume correlated with mental rotation and postcentral GM correlated with reaction time. Paracentral lobule and frontal FA correlated with mental rotation reaction time. There might be structural modifications occurred in the adult immigrants during adaptation to HA. The changes in GM may be related to impaired respiratory function and psychological deficits.
PMCID: PMC3712920  PMID: 23874692
3.  Structural Modulation of Brain Development by Oxygen: Evidence on Adolescents Migrating from High Altitude to Sea Level Environment 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(7):e67803.
The present study aimed to investigate structural modulation of brain by high level of oxygen during its peak period of development. Voxel-based morphometry analysis of gray matter (GM) and white matter (WM) volumes and Tract-Based Spatial Statistics analysis of WM fractional anisotropy (FA) and mean diffusion (MD) based on MRI images were carried out on 21 Tibetan adolencents (15–18 years), who were born and raised in Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau (2900–4700 m) and have lived at sea level (SL) in the last 4 years. The control group consisted of matched Tibetan adolescents born and raised at high altitude all the time. SL immigrants had increased GM volume in the left insula, left inferior parietal gyrus, and right superior parietal gyrus and decreased GM in the left precentral cortex and multiple sites in cerebellar cortex (left lobule 8, bilateral lobule 6 and crus 1/2). Decreased WM volume was found in the right superior frontal gyrus in SL immigrants. SL immigrants had higher FA and lower MD at multiple sites of WM tracts. Moreover, we detected changes in ventilation and circulation. GM volume in cerebellum lobule 8 positively correlated with diastolic pressure, while GM volume in insula positively correlated vital capacity and hypoxic ventilatory response. Our finding indicate that the structural modulations of GM by high level of oxygen during its peak period of development are related to respiratory and circulatory regulations, while the modulation in WM mainly exhibits an enhancement in myelin maturation.
PMCID: PMC3706444  PMID: 23874449
4.  Impacts of Nitrate and Nitrite on Physiology of Shewanella oneidensis 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(4):e62629.
Shewanella oneidensis exhibits a remarkable versatility in anaerobic respiration, which largely relies on its diverse respiratory pathways. Some of these are expressed in response to the existence of their corresponding electron acceptors (EAs) under aerobic conditions. However, little is known about respiration and the impact of non-oxygen EAs on the physiology of the microorganism when oxygen is present. Here we undertook a study to elucidate the basis for nitrate and nitrite inhibition of growth under aerobic conditions. We discovered that nitrate in the form of NaNO3 exerts its inhibitory effects as a precursor to nitrite at low concentrations and as an osmotic-stress provider (Na+) at high concentrations. In contrast, nitrite is extremely toxic, with 25 mM abolishing growth completely. We subsequently found that oxygen represses utilization of all EAs but nitrate. To order to utilize EAs with less positive redox potential, such as nitrite and fumarate, S. oneidensis must enter the stationary phase, when oxygen respiration becomes unfavorable. In addition, we demonstrated that during aerobic respiration the cytochrome bd oxidase confers S. oneidensis resistance to nitrite, which likely functions via nitric oxide (NO).
PMCID: PMC3633839  PMID: 23626841
5.  Inhibition of Glycogen Synthase Kinase 3β Ameliorates D-GalN/LPS-Induced Liver Injury by Reducing Endoplasmic Reticulum Stress-Triggered Apoptosis 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(9):e45202.
Glycogen synthase kinase 3β(GSK3β) is a ubiquitous serine-threonine protein kinase that participates in numerous cellular processes and disease pathophysiology. We aimed to determine therapeutic potential of GSK3β inhibition and its mechanism in a well-characterized model of lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-induced model of acute liver failure (ALF).
In a murine ALF model induced by D-GalN(700 mg/kg)/LPS(10 µg/kg), we analyzed GSK3β mechanisms using a specific chemical inhibitor, SB216763, and detected the role of endoplasmic reticulum stress (ERS). Mice were administered SB216763 at 2 h before or after D-GalN/LPS injection, respectively, and then sacrificed 6 h after D-GalN/LPS treatment to evaluate its prophylactic and therapeutic function. The lethality rate, liver damage, ERS, cytokine expression, MAP kinase, hepatocyte apoptosis and expression of TLR 4 were evaluated, respectively. Whether the inhibition of GSK3β activation protected hepatocyte from ERS-induced apoptosis was investigated in vitro.
Principal Findings
GSK3β became quickly activated (dephosphorylated) upon D-GalN/LPS exposure. Administration of SB216763 not only ameliorated liver injury, as evidenced by reduced transaminase levels, and well-preserved liver architecture, but also decreased lethality. Moreover, GSK3β inhibition resulted in down-regulation of pro-apoptotic proteins C/EBP–homologous protein(CHOP) and caspase-12, which are related to ERS. To further demonstrate the role of ERS, we found that GSK3β inhibition protected hepatocyte from ERS-induced cell death. GSK3β inhibition down-regulated the MAPK pathways, reduced expression of inflammatory cytokines and decreased expression of TLR4.
Our findings demonstrate the key function of GSK3β signaling in the pathophysiology of ALF, especially in regulating the ERS, and provide a rationale for targeting GSK3β as a potential therapeutic strategy to ameliorate ALF.
PMCID: PMC3461002  PMID: 23028846
6.  Co-Inoculation with Rhizobia and AMF Inhibited Soybean Red Crown Rot: From Field Study to Plant Defense-Related Gene Expression Analysis 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(3):e33977.
Soybean red crown rot is a major soil-borne disease all over the world, which severely affects soybean production. Efficient and sustainable methods are strongly desired to control the soil-borne diseases.
Principal Findings
We firstly investigated the disease incidence and index of soybean red crown rot under different phosphorus (P) additions in field and found that the natural inoculation of rhizobia and arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF) could affect soybean red crown rot, particularly without P addition. Further studies in sand culture experiments showed that inoculation with rhizobia or AMF significantly decreased severity and incidence of soybean red crown rot, especially for co-inoculation with rhizobia and AMF at low P. The root colony forming unit (CFU) decreased over 50% when inoculated by rhizobia and/or AMF at low P. However, P addition only enhanced CFU when inoculated with AMF. Furthermore, root exudates of soybean inoculated with rhizobia and/or AMF significantly inhibited pathogen growth and reproduction. Quantitative RT-PCR results indicated that the transcripts of the most tested pathogen defense-related (PR) genes in roots were significantly increased by rhizobium and/or AMF inoculation. Among them, PR2, PR3, PR4 and PR10 reached the highest level with co-inoculation of rhizobium and AMF.
Our results indicated that inoculation with rhizobia and AMF could directly inhibit pathogen growth and reproduction, and activate the plant overall defense system through increasing PR gene expressions. Combined with optimal P fertilization, inoculation with rhizobia and AMF could be considered as an efficient method to control soybean red crown rot in acid soils.
PMCID: PMC3307780  PMID: 22442737
7.  Golgi Apparatus-Localized Synaptotagmin 2 Is Required for Unconventional Secretion in Arabidopsis 
PLoS ONE  2011;6(11):e26477.
Most secretory proteins contain signal peptides that direct their sorting to the ER and secreted via the conventional ER/Golgi transport pathway, while some signal-peptide-lacking proteins have been shown to export through ER/Golgi independent secretory pathways. Hygromycin B is an aminoglycoside antibiotic produced by Streptomyces hygroscopicus that is active against both prokaryotic and eukaryotic cells. The hygromycin phosphotransferase (HYGR) can phosphorylate and inactivate the hygromycin B, and has been widely used as a positive selective marker in the construction of transgenic plants. However, the localization and trafficking of HYGR in plant cells remain unknown. Synaptotagmins (SYTs) are involved in controlling vesicle endocytosis and exocytosis as calcium sensors in animal cells, while their functions in plant cells are largely unclear.
Methodology/Principal Findings
We found Arabidopsis synaptotagmin SYT2 was localized on the Golgi apparatus by immunofluorescence and immunogold labeling. Surprisingly, co-expression of SYT2 and HYGR caused hypersensitivity of the transgenic Arabidopsis plants to hygromycin B. HYGR, which lacks a signal sequence, was present in the cytoplasm as well as in the extracellular space in HYGR-GFP transgenic Arabidopsis plants and its secretion is not sensitive to brefeldin A treatment, suggesting it is not secreted via the conventional secretory pathway. Furthermore, we found that HYGR-GFP was truncated at carboxyl terminus of HYGR shortly after its synthesis, and the cells deficient SYT2 failed to efficiently truncate HYGR-GFP,resulting in HYGR-GFP accumulated in prevacuoles/vacuoles, indicating that SYT2 was involved in HYGR-GFP trafficking and secretion.
These findings reveal for the first time that SYT2 is localized on the Golgi apparatus and regulates HYGR-GFP secretion via the unconventional protein transport from the cytosol to the extracelluar matrix in plant cells.
PMCID: PMC3225361  PMID: 22140429
8.  Arabidopsis R-SNARE Proteins VAMP721 and VAMP722 Are Required for Cell Plate Formation 
PLoS ONE  2011;6(10):e26129.
Cell plate formation during plant cytokinesis is facilitated by SNARE complex-mediated vesicle fusion at the cell-division plane. However, our knowledge regarding R-SNARE components of membrane fusion machinery for cell plate formation remains quite limited.
Methodology/Principal Findings
We report the in vivo function of Arabidopsis VAMP721 and VAMP722, two closely sequence-related R-SNAREs, in cell plate formation. Double homozygous vamp721vamp722 mutant seedlings showed lethal dwarf phenotypes and were characterized by rudimentary roots, cotyledons and hypocotyls. Furthermore, cell wall stubs and incomplete cytokinesis were frequently observed in vamp721vamp722 seedlings. Confocal images revealed that green fluorescent protein-tagged VAMP721 and VAMP722 were preferentially localized to the expanding cell plates in dividing cells. Drug treatments and co-localization analyses demonstrated that punctuate organelles labeled with VAMP721 and VAMP722 represented early endosomes overlapped with VHA-a1-labeled TGN, which were distinct from Golgi stacks and prevacuolar compartments. In addition, protein traffic to the plasma membrane, but not to the vacuole, was severely disrupted in vamp721vamp722 seedlings by subcellular localization of marker proteins.
These observations suggest that VAMP721 and VAMP722 are involved in secretory trafficking to the plasma membrane via TGN/early endosomal compartment, which contributes substantially to cell plate formation during plant cytokinesis.
PMCID: PMC3191180  PMID: 22022536

Results 1-8 (8)