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Articles by F Zhang
Total Records ( 13 ) for F Zhang
  C Bian , F Zhang , F Wang , Z Ling , M Luo , H Wu , Y Sun , J Li , B Li , J Zhu , L Tang , Y Zhou , Q Shi , Y Ji , L Tian , G Lin , Y Fan , N Wang and B. Sun

DNA immunization is an efficient method for high-affinity monoclonal antibody generation. Here, we describe the generation of several high-quality monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) against retinol-binding protein 4 (RBP4), an important marker for kidney abnormality and dysfunction, with a combination method of DNA priming and protein boost. The mAbs generated could bind to RBP4 with high sensitivity and using these mAbs, an immunocolloidal gold fast test strip was constructed. The strip can give a result in <5 min and is very sensitive with a detection limit of about 1 ng/ml. A small-scale clinical test revealed that the result of this strip was well in accordance with that of an enzyme-labeled immunosorbent assay kit currently available on the market. Consequently, it could be useful for more convenient and faster RBP4 determination in the clinic.

  L Fan , F Zhang , G Wang and Z. Liu

Motivation: EMAN is one of the most popular software packages for single particle reconstruction. But the particle clusters produced during its model refining stage are of low qualities. We attempt to refine the particle clusters by more accurately determining orientations of particles, and thereby achieving higher resolutions of consequent 3D structures.

Results: A particle reclustering framework (PRF) is introduced, which consists of three components. Each of them is responsible for one of the basic tasks of PRF: normalization, threshold determination and reclustering. Our implementation is also described and proved to meet the constraints proposed by PRF. Experiments revealed that our implementation improved resolutions of consequent structures for most cases, but only a little extra execution time was incurred. Therefore, it is practical to incorporate PRF in EMAN to improve qualities of generated 3D structures.

Availability and Implementation: Implementation of our algorithm is available upon request from the authors.


  F Zhang , J Kotha , L. K Jennings and X. A. Zhang

Tetraspanins are multiple membrane-spanning proteins that likely function as the organizers of membrane microdomains. Tetraspanins associate with other membrane-bound molecules such as cell-adhesion proteins, growth factor receptors, and Ig superfamily members and regulate key cellular processes such as adhesion, migration, and fusion. Tetraspanins are widely expressed in vascular and haematopoietic cells and are involved in both physiological and pathological processes related to angiogenesis, vascular injury, thrombosis, and haemostasis. A wide body of evidence suggests that tetraspanins directly regulate the development and functions of the vascular system and the pathogenesis of vascular diseases. This article reviews current understanding of the roles of tetraspanins in vascular functions.

  Y Lu , Y Zhang , N Wang , Z Pan , X Gao , F Zhang , H Shan , X Luo , Y Bai , L Sun , W Song , C Xu , Z Wang and B. Yang

A characteristic of both clinical and experimental atrial fibrillation (AF) is atrial electric remodeling associated with profound reduction of L-type Ca2+ current and shortening of the action potential duration. The possibility that microRNAs (miRNAs) may be involved in this process has not been tested. Accordingly, we assessed the potential role of miRNAs in regulating experimental AF.

Methods and Results—

The miRNA transcriptome was analyzed by microarray and verified by real-time reverse-transcription polymerase chain reaction with left atrial samples from dogs with AF established by right atrial tachypacing for 8 weeks and from human atrial samples from AF patients with rheumatic heart disease. miR-223, miR-328, and miR-664 were found to be upregulated by >2 fold, whereas miR-101, miR-320, and miR-499 were downregulated by at least 50%. In particular, miR-328 level was elevated by 3.9-fold in AF dogs and 3.5-fold in AF patients relative to non-AF subjects. Computational prediction identified CACNA1C and CACNB1, which encode cardiac L-type Ca2+ channel 1c- and β1 subunits, respectively, as potential targets for miR-328. Forced expression of miR-328 through adenovirus infection in canine atrium and transgenic approach in mice recapitulated the phenotypes of AF, exemplified by enhanced AF vulnerability, diminished L-type Ca2+ current, and shortened atrial action potential duration. Normalization of miR-328 level with antagomiR reversed the conditions, and genetic knockdown of endogenous miR-328 dampened AF vulnerability. CACNA1C and CACNB1 as the cognate target genes for miR-328 were confirmed by Western blot and luciferase activity assay showing the reciprocal relationship between the levels of miR-328 and L-type Ca2+ channel protein subunits.


miR-328 contributes to the adverse atrial electric remodeling in AF through targeting L-type Ca2+ channel genes. The study therefore uncovered a novel molecular mechanism for AF and indicated miR-328 as a potential therapeutic target for AF.

  R. C Laxton , Y Hu , J Duchene , F Zhang , Z Zhang , K. Y Leung , Q Xiao , R. S Scotland , C. P Hodgkinson , K Smith , J Willeit , C Lopez Otin , I. A Simpson , S Kiechl , A Ahluwalia , Q Xu and S. Ye

Rationale: Atherosclerotic lesions express matrix metalloproteinase (MMP)8, which possesses proteolytic activity on matrix proteins particularly fibrillar collagens and on nonmatrix proteins such as angiotensin (Ang) I.

Objective: We studied whether MMP8 plays a role in atherogenesis.

Methods and Results: In atherosclerosis-prone apolipoprotein E–deficient mice, inactivating MMP8 resulted in a substantial reduction in atherosclerotic lesion formation. Immunohistochemical examinations showed that atherosclerotic lesions in MMP8-deficient mice had significantly fewer macrophages but increased collagen content. In line with results of in vitro assays showing that Ang I cleavage by MMP8 generated Ang II, MMP8 knockout mice had lower Ang II levels and lower blood pressure. In addition, we found that products of Ang I cleavage by MMP8 increased vascular cell adhesion molecule (VCAM)-1 expression and that MMP8-deficient mice had reduced VCAM-1 expression in atherosclerotic lesions. Intravital microscopy analysis showed that leukocyte rolling and adhesion on vascular endothelium was reduced in MMP8 knockout mice. Furthermore, we detected an association between MMP8 gene variation and extent of coronary atherosclerosis in patients with coronary artery disease. A relationship among MMP8 gene variation, plasma VCAM-1 level, and atherosclerosis progression was also observed in a population-based, prospective study.

Conclusions: These results indicate that MMP8 is an important player in atherosclerosis.

  C. M.B Carvalho , F Zhang , P Liu , A Patel , T Sahoo , C. A Bacino , C Shaw , S Peacock , A Pursley , Y. J Tavyev , M. B Ramocki , M Nawara , E Obersztyn , A. M Vianna Morgante , P Stankiewicz , H. Y Zoghbi , S. W Cheung and J. R. Lupski

Duplication at the Xq28 band including the MECP2 gene is one of the most common genomic rearrangements identified in neurodevelopmentally delayed males. Such duplications are non-recurrent and can be generated by a non-homologous end joining (NHEJ) mechanism. We investigated the potential mechanisms for MECP2 duplication and examined whether genomic architectural features may play a role in their origin using a custom designed 4-Mb tiling-path oligonucleotide array CGH assay. Each of the 30 patients analyzed showed a unique duplication varying in size from ~250 kb to ~2.6 Mb. Interestingly, in 77% of these non-recurrent duplications, the distal breakpoints grouped within a 215 kb genomic interval, located 47 kb telomeric to the MECP2 gene. The genomic architecture of this region contains both direct and inverted low-copy repeat (LCR) sequences; this same region undergoes polymorphic structural variation in the general population. Array CGH revealed complex rearrangements in eight patients; in six patients the duplication contained an embedded triplicated segment, and in the other two, stretches of non-duplicated sequences occurred within the duplicated region. Breakpoint junction sequencing was achieved in four duplications and identified an inversion in one patient, demonstrating further complexity. We propose that the presence of LCRs in the vicinity of the MECP2 gene may generate an unstable DNA structure that can induce DNA strand lesions, such as a collapsed fork, and facilitate a Fork Stalling and Template Switching event producing the complex rearrangements involving MECP2.

  B Pidal , L Yan , D Fu , F Zhang , G Tranquilli and J. Dubcovsky

In diploid wheat (Triticum monococcum), and likely in other Triticeae species, the VRN1 gene is essential for the initiation of the reproductive phase, and therefore, a detailed characterization of its regulatory regions is required to understand this process. A CArG-box (MADS-box–binding site) identified in the VRN1 promoter upstream from the transcription initiation site has been proposed as a critical regulatory element for the vernalization response. This hypothesis was supported by the genetic linkage between CArG-box natural deletions and dominant Vrn1 alleles for spring growth habit and by physical interactions with VRT2, a MADS-box protein proposed as a putative flowering repressor regulated by vernalization. Here, we describe a T. monococcum accession with a strong vernalization requirement and a 48-bp deletion encompassing the CArG-box in the VRN1 promoter. Genetic analyses of 2 segregating populations confirmed that this VRN1 allele is completely linked with a strong winter growth habit (vrn-Am1b). Transcript levels of the VRN1 allele with the 48-bp deletion were very low in unvernalized plants and increased during vernalization to levels similar to those detected in other wild-type vrn-Am1 alleles. Taken together, these results indicate that the CArG-box found upstream of the VRN1 transcription initiation site is not essential for the vernalization response.

  F. M Gregoire , F Zhang , H. J Clarke , T. A Gustafson , D. D Sears , S Favelyukis , J Lenhard , D Rentzeperis , L. E Clemens , Y Mu and B. E. Lavan

MBX-102/JNJ39659100 (MBX-102) is in clinical development as an oral glucose-lowering agent for the treatment of type 2 diabetes. MBX-102 is a nonthiazolidinedione (TZD) selective partial agonist of peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor (PPAR)- that is differentiated from the TZDs structurally, mechanistically, preclinically and clinically. In diabetic rodent models, MBX-102 has insulin-sensitizing and glucose-lowering properties comparable to TZDs without dose-dependent increases in body weight. In vitro, in contrast with full PPAR- agonist treatment, MBX-102 fails to drive human and murine adipocyte differentiation and selectively modulates the expression of a subset of PPAR- target genes in mature adipocytes. Moreover, MBX-102 does not inhibit osteoblastogenesis of murine mesenchymal cells. Compared with full PPAR- agonists, MBX-102 displays differential interactions with the PPAR- ligand binding domain and possesses reduced ability to recruit coactivators. Interestingly, in primary mouse macrophages, MBX-102 displays enhanced antiinflammatory properties compared with other PPAR- or / agonists, suggesting that MBX-102 has more potent transrepression activity. In summary, MBX-102 is a selective PPAR- modulator with weak transactivation but robust transrepression activity. MBX-102 exhibits full therapeutic activity without the classical PPAR- side effects and may represent the next generation insulin sensitizer.

  F Zhang , M Xia and P. L. Li

Activation of the death receptor Fas has been implicated in the development of vascular injury or disease, but most studies have focused on its role in the regulation of cell apoptosis and growth. The present study was designed to examine the early response of coronary artery to Fas activation by its ligand, FasL. The hypothesis being tested is that CD38 signaling pathway mediates FasL-induced intracellular Ca2+ release through nicotinic acid adenine dinucleotide phosphate (NAADP) in mouse coronary arterial myocytes (CAMs) and thereby produces vasoconstriction in coronary arteries. HPLC analysis demonstrated that FasL markedly increased NAADP production in CAMs from wild-type mice (CD38+/+) but not in cells from CD38 knockout (CD38–/–) mice. Using fluorescent Ca2+ imaging analysis, we found that FasL (10 ng/ml) significantly increased Ca2+ release from 142.5 ± 22.5 nM at the basal level to 509.4 ± 64.3 nM in CD38+/+ CAMs but not in CD38–/– CAMs. However, direct delivery of NAADP, the CD38 metabolite, into CD38–/– CAMs still markedly increased Ca2+ release, which could be significantly attenuated by a lysosomal function inhibitor, bafilomycin A1 (Baf), or a NAADP antagonist, pyridoxalphosphate-6-azophenyl-2-disulfonic acid. Confocal microscopy further demonstrated that FasL produced a typical two-phase Ca2+ release with a local Ca2+ burst from lysosomes, followed by a global Ca2+ response in CD38+/+ CAMs. In isolated perfused septal coronary arteries from CD38+/+ mice, FasL was found to significantly increase U-46619-induced vasoconstriction from 29.2 ± 7.3 to 63.2 ± 10.3%, which was abolished by Baf (100 nM). These results strongly indicate that the early response of CAMs to FasL is to increase intracellular Ca2+ levels and enhance the vascular reactivity through stimulation of NAADP production and lysosome-associated two-phase Ca2+ release in coronary arteries.

  L Xue , F Zhang , X Chen , J Lin and J. Shi

The insertion of amino-3-hydroxy-5-methyl-4-isoxazole propionic acid (AMPA) receptors into the plasma membrane and removal via internalization are essential for regulating synaptic strength, which underlies the basic mechanism of learning and memory. The retinocollicular pathway undergoes synaptic refinement during development and shows a wide variety of long-term synaptic changes; however, still little is known about its underlying molecular regulation. Here we report a rapid developmental long-term potentiation (LTP)/long-term depression (LTD) switch and its intracellular mechanism at the rat retinocollicular pathway from postnatal day 5 (P5) to P14. Before P9, neurons always exhibited LTP, whereas LTD was observed only after P10. Blockade of GluR2/3-glutamate receptor-interacting protein (GRIP)/AMPA-receptor-binding protein (ABP)/protein interacting with C kinase 1 (PICK1) interactions with pep2-SVKI could sustain the LTP after P10. This suggests that the LTP/LTD switch relied on PDZ protein activities. Selective interruption of GluR2/3-PICK1 binding by pep2-EVKI blocked the long-lasting effects of both LTP and LTD, suggesting a role for PICK1 in the maintenance of long-term synaptic plasticity. Interestingly, synaptic expression of GRIP increased more than twofold from P7 to P11, whereas ABP and PICK1 expression levels remained stable. Blockade of spontaneous retinal input suppressed this increase and abolished the LTP/LTD switch. These results suggest that the increased GRIP synaptic expression may be a key regulatory factor in mediating the activity-dependent developmental LTP/LTD switch, whereas PICK1 may be required for both LTP and LTD to maintain their long-term effects.

  F Zhang , S Tsai , K Kato , D Yamanouchi , C Wang , S Rafii , B Liu and K. C. Kent

Bone marrow-derived progenitor cells have recently been shown to be involved in the development of intimal hyperplasia after vascular injury. Transforming growth factor-β (TGF-β) has profound stimulatory effects on intimal hyperplasia, but it is unknown whether these effects involve progenitor cell recruitment. In this study we found that although TGF-β had no direct effect on progenitor cell recruitment, conditioned media derived from vascular smooth muscle cells (VSMC) stimulated with TGF-β induced migration of both total bone marrow (BM) cells and BM-mesenchymal stem cells (MSC) and also induced MSC differentiation into smooth muscle like cells. Furthermore, overexpression of the signaling molecule Smad3 in VSMC via adenovirus-mediated gene transfer (AdSmad3) enhanced the TGF-β's chemotactic effect. Microarray analysis of VSMC stimulated by TGF-β/AdSmad3 revealed monocyte chemoattractant protein-1 (MCP-1) as a likely factor responsible for progenitor cell recruitment. We then demonstrated that TGF-β through Smad3 phosphorylation induced a robust expression of MCP-1 in VSMC. Recombinant MCP-1 mimicked the stimulatory effect of conditioned media on BM and MSC migration. In the rat carotid injury model, Smad3 overexpression significantly increased MCP-1 expression after vascular injury, consistent with our in vitro results. Interestingly, TGF-β/Smad3-induced MCP-1 was completely blocked by both Ro-32-0432 and rotterlin, suggesting protein kinase C- (PKC) may play a role in TGF-β/Smad3-induced MCP-1 expression. In summary, our data demonstrate that TGF-β, through Smad3 and PKC, stimulates VSMC production of MCP-1, which is a chemoattractant for bone marrow-derived cells, specifically MSC. Manipulation of this signaling system may provide a novel approach to inhibition of intimal hyperplasia.

  Z Tang , P Arjunan , C Lee , Y Li , A Kumar , X Hou , B Wang , P Wardega , F Zhang , L Dong , Y Zhang , S. Z Zhang , H Ding , R. N Fariss , K. G Becker , J Lennartsson , N Nagai , Y Cao and X. Li

Platelet-derived growth factor CC (PDGF-CC) is the third member of the PDGF family discovered after more than two decades of studies on the original members of the family, PDGF-AA and PDGF-BB. The biological function of PDGF-CC remains largely to be explored. We report a novel finding that PDGF-CC is a potent neuroprotective factor that acts by modulating glycogen synthase kinase 3β (GSK3β) activity. In several different animal models of neuronal injury, such as axotomy-induced neuronal death, neurotoxin-induced neuronal injury, 6-hydroxydopamine–induced Parkinson’s dopaminergic neuronal death, and ischemia-induced stroke, PDGF-CC protein or gene delivery protected different types of neurons from apoptosis in both the retina and brain. On the other hand, loss-of-function assays using PDGF-C null mice, neutralizing antibody, or short hairpin RNA showed that PDGF-CC deficiency/inhibition exacerbated neuronal death in different neuronal tissues in vivo. Mechanistically, we revealed that the neuroprotective effect of PDGF-CC was achieved by regulating GSK3β phosphorylation and expression. Our data demonstrate that PDGF-CC is critically required for neuronal survival and may potentially be used to treat neurodegenerative diseases. Inhibition of the PDGF-CC–PDGF receptor pathway for different clinical purposes should be conducted with caution to preserve normal neuronal functions.

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