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Articles by P Chen
Total Records ( 5 ) for P Chen
  X Ren , J Zhang , X Gong , X Niu , X Zhang , P Chen and X. Zhang

The kidney is formed from two tissue populations derived from the intermediate mesoderm, the ureteric bud, and the metanephric mesenchyme. Metanephric mesenchyme is a pluripotent renal stem population, and conversion of renal mesenchyme into epithelia depends on the ureteric bud in vivo and in vitro. Embryonic stem (ES) cells have been induced to differentiate into a broad spectrum of specialized cell types in vitro, including hematopoietic, pancreatic, and neuronal cells. Such ES-derived cells can provide a valuable source of progenitor cells. However, whether ES cells can be stimulated by factors secreted from the fetal renal cells to differentiate into renal precursor cells in vitro has not been reported. In this study, we showed that murine ES cells can give rise to embryoid bodies in the absence of leukemia inhibitory factor. Culture conditions were optimized [6 days, 10 ng/ml activin and 10–7 M retinoic acid (RA)] to generate maximal mesoderm populations specifically expressing Pax2 and brachyury. Results showed that 72% of the cells were brachyury positive by fluorescent activated cell sorter on Day 6 of EB cell differentiation. Conditioned medium collected from cultures of ureteric bud cells from renal cells of a 13-day-old fetus was added to the culture medium. Mesoderm cells were cultured for up to 10 days before showing expression of renal markers, initiation of nephrogenesis (WT-1 and Pax2), and terminally differentiated renal cell types (POD-1 and E-cadherin). This study suggests that ES cells pre-treated by RA and activin can interact with secreted molecules of the fetal renal cells to specifically differentiate into renal precursor cells. Our results provide an experimental basis for the development of in vitro assays to steer differentiation of ES cells toward renal lineages.

  P Chen , J Vaughan , C Donaldson , W Vale and C. Li

Urocortin 3 (Ucn 3) is a corticotropin-releasing factor (CRF)-related peptide with high affinity for the type 2 CRF receptor (CRFR2). Central administration of Ucn 3 stimulates the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis, suppresses feeding, and elevates blood glucose levels, suggesting that activation of brain CRFR2 promotes stress-like responses. Several CRFR2-expressing brain areas, including the ventromedial hypothalamus (VMH) and the posterior amygdala (PA), may be potential sites mediating the effects of Ucn 3. In the present study, Ucn 3 or vehicle was bilaterally injected into the VMH or PA, and food intake and plasma levels of ACTH, corticosterone, glucose, and insulin were determined. Food intake was greatly reduced in rats following Ucn 3 injection into the VMH. Ucn 3 injection into the VMH rapidly elevated plasma levels of glucose and insulin but did not affect ACTH and corticosterone secretion. Injection of Ucn 3 into the PA did not alter any of the parameters measured. We determined that the majority of CRFR2-positive neurons in the VMH were excitatory glutamatergic, and a subset of these neurons project to the arcuate nucleus of the hypothalamus (ARH). Importantly, stimulation of CRFR2 in the VMH increased proopiomelanocortin mRNA expression in the ARH. In conclusion, the present study demonstrates that CRFR2 in the VMH mediates some of the central effects of Ucn 3, and the ARH melanocortin system may be a downstream target of VMH CRFR2 neurons.

  S Sayed , D. R Langdon , S Odili , P Chen , C Buettger , A. B Schiffman , M Suchi , R Taub , J Grimsby , F. M Matschinsky and C. A. Stanley

Heterozygous activating mutations of glucokinase have been reported to cause hypoglycemia attributable to hyperinsulinism in a limited number of families. We report three children with de novo glucokinase hyperinsulinism mutations who displayed a spectrum of clinical phenotypes corresponding to marked differences in enzyme kinetics.


Mutations were directly sequenced, and mutants were expressed as glutathionyl S-transferase–glucokinase fusion proteins. Kinetic analysis of the enzymes included determinations of stability, activity index, the response to glucokinase activator drug, and the effect of glucokinase regulatory protein.


Child 1 had an ins454A mutation, child 2 a W99L mutation, and child 3 an M197I mutation. Diazoxide treatment was effective in child 3 but ineffective in child 1 and only partially effective in child 2. Expression of the mutant glucokinase ins454A, W99L, and M197I enzymes revealed a continuum of high relative activity indexes in the three children (26, 8.9, and 3.1, respectively; wild type = 1.0). Allosteric responses to inhibition by glucokinase regulatory protein and activation by the drug RO0281675 were impaired by the ins454A but unaffected by the M197I mutation. Estimated thresholds for glucose-stimulated insulin release were more severely reduced by the ins454A than the M197I mutation and intermediate in the W99L mutation (1.1, 3.5, and 2.2 mmol/l, respectively; wild type = 5.0 mmol/l).


These results confirm the potency of glucokinase as the pancreatic β-cell glucose sensor, and they demonstrate that responsiveness to diazoxide varies with genotype in glucokinase hyperinsulinism resulting in hypoglycemia, which can be more difficult to control than previously believed.

  S Cao , J. W Hewett , F Yokoi , J Lu , A. C Buckley , A. J Burdette , P Chen , F. C Nery , Y Li , X. O Breakefield , G. A Caldwell and K. A. Caldwell
  Songsong Cao, Jeffrey W. Hewett, Fumiaki Yokoi, Jun Lu, Amber Clark Buckley, Alexander J. Burdette, Pan Chen, Flavia C. Nery, Yuqing Li, Xandra O. Breakefield, Guy A. Caldwell, and Kim A. Caldwell

Movement disorders represent a significant societal burden for which therapeutic options are limited and focused on treating disease symptomality. Early-onset torsion dystonia (EOTD) is one such disorder characterized by sustained and involuntary muscle contractions that frequently cause repetitive movements or abnormal postures. Transmitted in an autosomal dominant manner with reduced penetrance, EOTD is caused in most cases by the deletion of a glutamic acid (E) in the DYT1 (also known as TOR1A) gene product, torsinA. Although some patients respond well to anticholingerics, therapy is primarily limited to either neurosurgery or chemodenervation. As mutant torsinA (E) expression results in decreased torsinA function, therapeutic strategies directed toward enhancement of wild-type (WT) torsinA activity in patients who are heterozygous for mutant DYT1 may restore normal cellular functionality. Here, we report results from the first-ever screen for candidate small molecule therapeutics for EOTD, using multiple activity-based readouts for torsinA function in Caenorhabditis elegans, subsequent validation in human DYT1 patient fibroblasts, and behavioral rescue in a mouse model of DYT1 dystonia. We exploited the nematode to rapidly discern chemical effectors of torsinA and identified two classes of antibiotics, quinolones and aminopenicillins, which enhance WT torsinA activity in two separate in vivo assays. Representative molecules were assayed in EOTD patient fibroblasts for improvements in torsinA-dependent secretory function, which was improved significantly by ampicillin. Furthermore, a behavioral defect associated with an EOTD mouse knock-in model was also rescued following administration of ampicillin. These combined data indicate that specific small molecules that enhance torsinA activity represent a promising new approach toward therapeutic development for EOTD, and potentially for other diseases involving the processing of mutant proteins.

  D Li , P Chen , A Shi , E Shakiba , R Gergerich and Y. Chen

Seven strains (G1 to G7) of soybean mosaic virus (SMV) and 3 resistance loci (Rsv1, Rsv3, and Rsv4) have been identified in soybean. The interaction of SMV strains and host resistance genes results in resistant (symptomless), susceptible (mosaic), or necrotic (leaf and stem necrosis) reactions. The necrotic reaction may be gene dosage dependent and influenced by temperature. Using a set of soybean isolines and hybrids containing homozygous or heterozygous alleles of rsv, Rsv1, Rsv1-n, Rsv3, or Rsv4, this study has explored the relationship of SMV-induced symptoms and resistance gene dosage at different temperatures. Results showed that SMV-inoculated plants carrying Rsv3 or Rsv4 were symptomless at both homozygous and heterozygous states at all temperature regimes. Threshold temperatures for symptoms changing from stem tip necrosis (STN) to mosaic were 30, 33, and 33 °C in G7-inoculated homozygous genotypes V94-3971(Rsv1) and PI 96983 (Rsv1) and G1-inoculated V262 (Rsv1-n), respectively. However, at the heterozygous state, threshold temperature was 30 °C in G7-inoculated V94-3971 x Essex F1 for the symptom change from STN to mosaic, 31 °C in G7-inoculated Essex x PI 96983 F1 from STN to mixture of necrosis and mosaic (N-M), and 32 °C in G1-inoculated V262 x Essex F1 from N-M to mosaic. Incomplete necrosis was observed in the heterozygous state in G1-inoculated V262 x Essex F1 and G7-inoculated PI 96983 x Essex F1 where necrotic and mosaic symptoms were mixed. High temperature (37 °C) tends to mask the expression of mosaic symptoms in both homozygous and heterozygous plants. STN expression in response to temperature was affected by resistance gene, gene dosage, host genetic background, and specific SMV strains. Thus, Rsv3 and Rsv4 are a better choice as source of genetic resistance for breeding SMV-resistant cultivars.

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