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Articles by Y Zhang
Total Records ( 84 ) for Y Zhang
  H Liu , S Li , Y Zhang , Y Yan and Y. Li
 

Glutamate decarboxylase 65 (GAD65) produces -aminobutyric acid, the main inhibitory neurotransmitter in adult mammalian brain. Previous experiments, performed in brain, showed that GAD65 gene possesses two TATA-less promoters, although the significance is unknown. Here, by rapid amplification of cDNA ends method, two distinct GAD65 mRNA isoforms transcribed from two independent clusters of transcription start sites were identified in post-natal rat testis. RT–PCR results revealed that the two mRNA isoforms had distinct expression patterns during post-natal testis maturation, suggesting that GAD65 gene expression was regulated by alternative promoters at the transcription level. By using GAD65-specific antibodies, western blotting analysis showed that the 58-kDa GAD65, N-terminal 69 amino acids truncated form of full-length GAD65 protein, was developmentally expressed during post-natal testis maturation, suggesting that GAD65 gene expression in testis may also be regulated by post-translational processing. Confocal immunofluorescence microscopy revealed that GAD65 protein was presented in Leydig cells of Day 1 testis, primary spermatocytes and spermatids of post-natal of Day 90 testis. The above results suggested that GAD65 gene expression is dynamically regulated at multiple levels during post-natal testis maturation.

  N Li , Y Zhang and H. Feng
 

The white-rot basidiomycetes Phanerochaete chrysosporium is a model fungus used to investigate the secondary metabolism and lignin degradation. Genomic sequencing reveals the presence of at least 18 genes encoding putative epoxide hydrolases (EHs). One cDNA encoding EH (designated as PchEHA) was cloned and expressed in Escherichia coli. Transcriptional analysis demonstrated that the transcripts of PchEHA could be detected under the ligninolytic and nonligninolytic conditions as well as amended with anthracene. The recombinant enzyme exhibits broad hydrolytic activity toward several racemic epoxides including styrene oxide, epichlorohydrin, and 1,2-epoxybutane, but with different specificity. Using racemic styrene oxide as the substrate, the optimal pH and temperature are pH 9.0 and 40°C, respectively. The enzyme is not sensitive to EDTA, and is inhibited by H2O2, and several metal ions including Zn2+, Cd2+, and Hg2+ at various extents. Several organic cosolvents including acetone, dimethylsulfoxide, formamide, glycerol and ethanol at 10% (v/v) cause slight or no inhibition of the hydrolytic reaction. More importantly, the recombinant enzyme displays distinct enantioselective preference to several chiral epoxides. The enzyme showed good enantioselectivity toward chiral styrene oxide with preferential hydrolysis of (R)-enantiomer. PchEHA is likely a novel soluble EH based on the sequence analysis and catalytic properties, and is a great potential biocatalyst for the preparation of enantiopure styrene oxide in racemic kinetic resolution.

  Y Zhang and G. Hong
 

In this study, we observed a novel property of Escherichia coli Hfq protein: it possibly influenced extracellular indole levels. The extracellular indole concentrations were increased in Hfq mutant cells and decreased in Hfq overexpression cells in a cell density-dependent manner. The decreased extracellular indole levels in Hfq overexpression cells caused the postponement of entering into stationary phase. Indole was produced by tryptophanase, the gene product of tnaA, which catalyzed tryptophan into indole, ammonia and pyruvate. Further studies showed that at cell density of 0.8 but not at 0.4, tryptophanase activities of total cell extracts were affected by Hfq mutation or overexpression. Protein pull-down assay and co-immunoprecipitation experiments revealed that Hfq associated with tryptophanase under relatively higher extracellular indole levels, suggesting this was a feedback control of indole production. The association of Hfq and tryptophanase might be indirect because purified Hfq could not affect the values of Km and Vmax of purified tryptophanase.

  Y Zhang and G. Hong
 

NifA is the general transcriptional activator of nitrogen fixation genes in diazotrophic bacteria. In Rhizobium leguminosarum bv. viciae strain 8401/pRL1JI, the NifA gene is part of a gene cluster (fixABCXNifAB). In this study, results showed that in R. leguminosarum bv. viciae 8401/pRL1JI, host factor required (Hfq), and RNase E were involved in the post-transcriptional regulation of NifA expression. It was found that Hfq-dependent RNase E cleavage of NifA mRNA was essential for NifA translation. The cleavage site is located at 32 nucleotides upstream of the NifA translational start codon. A possible explanation based on predicted RNA secondary structure of the NifA 5'-untranslated region was that the cleavage made ribosome-binding sites accessible for translation.

  Y Zhang , L Bao , H Zhu , B Huang and H. Zhang
 

Leptospirosis renal disease is one of the common clinical manifestations of leptospirosis, including acute renal failure and tubulointerstitial nephritis. Outer membrane protein A-like protein Loa22 is a lipoprotein from Leptospira interrogans and has been suggested to be a corresponding virulence factor. However, the role of Loa22 in leptospiral nephropathy is not yet understood. In the present study, we constructed a vector and artificially expressed Loa22 in Escherichia coli BL21(DE)pLysS cells. After extensive purification, along with a GST tag protein control, Loa22 protein was used to test the cytotoxicity in cultured rat proximal tubule cells (NRK52E) and examine its effects on the induction of inflammatory responses. Using morphological examination, 2,3-bis(2-methoxy-4-nitro-5-sulfophenyl)-5-[(phenylamino)carbonyl]-2H-tetrazoium hydrixide absorbance, lactate dehydrogenase assays and an analysis of apoptosis via flow cytometry, it was found that Loa22 protein mediates a direct cytotoxic effect on NRK52E cells in a dose-dependent manner. Using real-time PCR, western blotting and immunofluorescence, it was found that Loa22 protein upregulates the expression of toll-like receptor 2 (TLR2), induces nitric oxide synthase and promotes the production of nitric oxide (NO) and monocyte chemoattractant protein-1 (MCP-1) by NRK52E cells. Additionally, using a TLR2 blocking antibody, it was found that enhanced NO and MCP-1 production by NRK52E cells after Loa22 stimulation requires the activation of TLR2. Collectively, our data suggested that Loa22 is a critical virulence factor of L. interrogans and is involved in the leptospiral nephropathy through mediating direct cytotoxicity and enhancing inflammatory responses.

  K Dong , Q Li , C Liu , Y Zhang , G Zhao and X. Guo
 

Motility and chemotaxis systems are critical for the virulence of leptospires. There were multiple copies of putative chemotaxis homologs located at leptospires large chromosome. CheB1 and CheB3 from Leptospira interrogans strain Lai are predicted to have a global CheB-like domain, but CheB2 is predicted to have a C-terminal effector domain only. In order to verify the function of three putative cheB genes, they were cloned into pQE31 vector and then expressed, respectively, in wild-type Escherichia coli strain RP437 and cheB defective strain RP4972. The results of swarming assays and the predicted ternary structures of CheB1 and CheB3 of L. interrogans strain Lai suggested that the absence of an N-terminal regulatory domain may be one of the reasons for the failure of CheB2 to complement an E. coli cheB mutant. Furthermore, CheB2 links solely to CheR1 and CheR3 in the interaction network of leptospires. Taken together, these results indicated that CheB2 may not function alone, and under certain physiological conditions, it may require CheB3 and CheR1 to function. The existence of multiple copies of chemotaxis gene homologs suggested that L. interrogans strain Lai might have a more complex chemosensory pathway.

  N Wu , Y Zhao , Y Yin , Y Zhang and J. Luo
 

Our previous studies have demonstrated that bone morphogenetic protein 9 (BMP-9) is one of the most efficacious BMPs to induce osteoblast differentiation of mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs). However, the molecular mechanism underlying the BMP-9-induced osteogenic differentiation of MSCs remains to be fully elucidated. In this study, dominant negative (DN) type II TGF-β receptors were constructed and introduced into C3H10T1/2 stem cells, then in vitro and in vivo assays were carried out to analyze and identify the type II TGF-β receptors required for BMP-9-induced osteogenesis. We found that three DN type II TGF-β receptors, DN-BMPRII, DN-ActRII, and DN-ActRIIB, diminished BMP-9-induced alkaline phosphatase (ALP) activity, led to a decrease in BMP-9-induced Smad binding element (SBE)-controled reporter activity, reduced BMP-9-induced expressions of Smad6 and Smad7, and decreased BMP-9-induced mineralization in vitro and ectopic bone formation in vivo, finally resulted in decreased bone masses and immature osteogenesis. These findings strongly suggested that three wild-type II TGF-β receptors, BMPRII, ActRII and ActRIIB, may play a functional role in BMP-9-induced osteogenic differentiation of C3H10T1/2 cells. However, C3H10T1/2 stem cells can express BMPRII and ActRII, but not ActRIIB. Using RNA interference (RNAi), we found that luciferase reporter activity and ALP activity induced by BMP-9 were accordingly inhibited along with the knockdown of BMPRII and ActRII. Taken together, our results demonstrated that BMPRII and ActRII are the functional type II TGF-β receptors in BMP-9-induced osteogenic differentiation of C3H10T1/2 cells.

  J Du , Y Zhang , Y Liu , Y Li and X. Zhu
 

Cenp-F (also named mitosin) is a 350-kDa human kinetochore protein important for the mitotic progression. It is also a nuclear matrix protein in interphase cells. Here, we showed that overexpression of N-terminal deletion mutants of Cenp-F containing the C-terminal 112 residues induced chromatin condensation into numerous aggregates of varying sizes in interphase nucleus, colocalizing with the exogenous proteins. In situ hybridization using whole chromosome painting probes indicated that the chromatin aggregates were not prematurely condensed individual chromosomes. Neither were they due to apoptosis. We provided evidence showing association of Cenp-F with certain regions of interphase chromatin fibers. Cenp-F associated with the DNA-dependent protein kinase (DNA-PK), a trimeric protein complex critical for genome homeostasis. Moreover, the DNA-PK association activity of Cenp-F mutants correlated with their ability to induce chromatin aggregation. These results imply a role of Cenp-F in organization of interphase chromatin through association and possibly regulation of DNA-PK.

  Q Huang , A. P Cheung , Y Zhang , H. F Huang , N Auersperg and P. C. K. Leung
 

GDF-9 stimulates granulosa cell proliferation and plays important roles during folliclogenesis. However, its molecular mechanisms are still far from clear, particularly its roles in human granulosa cells around the periovulatory stage. Therefore, we investigated the effects of GDF-9 on cell cycle distribution, regulatory molecules, and signaling pathways involved in human luteinized granulosa (hLG) cells in vitro. Primary cultures of hLG cells obtained from women undergoing IVF and treated with and without recombinant GDF-9 were evaluated with and without a specific inhibitor to activin receptor-like kinase 5 (ALK5; SB-431542), ERK42/44 (PD-098059), or Smad3 (SIS3). Cell proliferation, cell cycle distribution, mRNA expression, and protein expression of relevant cell cycle molecules were determined by [3H]thymidine incorporation, flow cytometry, quantitative PCR, and immunoblotting, respectively. GDF-9 stimulated [3H]thymidine incorporation, enhanced cell transition from G0/G1 to S and G2/M phases (whereas both SB-431542 and PD-098059 attenuated these changes), increased mRNA and protein expression of cyclin D1 and E, and decreased those of the cyclin-dependent kinase (CDK) inhibitors p15INK4B and p16INK4A. GDF-9 also activated Rb protein (a critical G1 to S-phase regulator), ERK42/44, and Smad3. PD-098059 blocked Rb protein phorsphorylation and the increase in cyclin D1 and E but not the decrease in p15INK4B and p16INK4A induced by GDF-9. In contrast, SIS3 reversed the decrease in p15INK4B and p16INK4A but not the increase in cyclin D1 and E induced by GDF-9. GDF-9 stimulates hLG cell proliferation by stimulating cyclin D1 and E and suppressing p15INK4B and p16INK4A via both Smad-dependent and Smad-independent pathways.

  M Saberi , D Bjelica , S Schenk , T Imamura , G Bandyopadhyay , P Li , V Jadhar , C Vargeese , W Wang , K Bowman , Y Zhang , B Polisky and J. M. Olefsky
 

The transcription factor TORC2 [transducer of regulated cAMP-responsive element-binding protein (CREB) activity 2] is a major regulator of hepatic gluconeogenesis and is increased in hyperglycemic rodent models. Because chronic hyperglycemia and increased hepatic glucose production, via increased gluconeogenesis, is a key feature of type 2 diabetes, an effective in vivo method to efficiently knock down TORC2 could provide a potential therapy for treating hyperglycemia and type 2 diabetes. To assess this, primary mouse hepatocytes, high-fat diet (HFD)-fed mice, and Zucker diabetic fatty (ZDF) rats were treated with a siRNA against TORC2 (siTORC2), which was delivered via a novel lipid nanoparticle system, or control siRNA (siCON). Compared with siCON, administration of siTORC2 resulted in highly efficient, sustained (1–3 wk) knockdown of TORC2 and its gluconeogenic target genes phosphoenolpyruvate carboxykinase and glucose-6-phophatase in primary mouse hepatocytes and in the livers of HFD-fed mice. In mice, this knockdown was specific to the liver and did not occur in kidney, skeletal muscle, or adipose tissue. In HFD-fed mice, siTORC2 reduced in vivo gluconeogenic capacity, fasting hepatic glucose production, and hyperglycemia, and led to improved hepatic and skeletal muscle insulin sensitivity. siTORC2 treatment also improved systemic hyperglycemia in ZDF rats. In conclusion, these results demonstrate the importance of TORC2 in modulating HGP in vivo and highlight a novel, liver-specific siRNA approach for the potential treatment of hyperglycemia and type 2 diabetes.

  D Choi , A Radziszewska , S. A Schroer , N Liadis , Y Liu , Y Zhang , P. P. L Lam , L Sheu , Z Hao , H. Y Gaisano and M. Woo
 

Fas/Fas ligand belongs to the tumor necrosis factor superfamily of receptors/ligands and is best known for its role in apoptosis. However, recent evidence supports its role in other cellular responses, including proliferation and survival. Although Fas has been implicated as an essential mediator of β-cell death in the pathogenesis of type 1 diabetes, the essential role of Fas specifically in pancreatic β-cells has been found to be controversial. Moreover, the role of Fas on β-cell homeostasis and function is not clear. The objective of this study is to determine the role of Fas specifically in β-cells under both physiological and diabetes models. Mice with Fas deletion specifically in the β-cells were generated using the Cre-loxP system. Cre-mediated Fas deletion was under the control of the rat insulin promoter. Absence of Fas in β-cells leads to complete protection against FasL-induced cell death. However, Fas is not essential in determining β-cell mass or susceptibility to streptozotocin- or HFD-induced diabetes. Importantly, Fas deletion in β-cells leads to increased p65 expression, enhanced glucose tolerance, and glucose-stimulated insulin secretion, with increased exocytosis as manifested by increased changes in membrane capacitance and increased expression of Syntaxin1A, VAMP2, and munc18a. Together, our study shows that Fas in the β-cells indeed plays an essential role in the canonical death receptor-mediated apoptosis but is not essential in regulating β-cell mass or diabetes development. However, β-cell Fas is critical in the regulation of glucose homeostasis through regulation of the exocytosis machinery.

  W Gu , K. A Winters , A. S Motani , R Komorowski , Y Zhang , Q Liu , X Wu , I. C Rulifson , G Sivits , M Graham , H Yan , P Wang , S Moore , T Meng , R. A Lindberg and M. M. Veniant
 

Antagonism of the glucagon receptor (GCGR) is associated with increased circulating levels of glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1). To investigate the contribution of GLP-1 to the antidiabetic actions of GCGR antagonism, we administered an anti-GCGR monoclonal antibody (mAb B) to wild-type mice and GLP-1 receptor knockout (GLP-1R KO) mice. Treatment of wild-type mice with mAb B lowered fasting blood glucose, improved glucose tolerance, and enhanced glucose-stimulated insulin secretion during an intraperitoneal glucose tolerance test (ipGTT). In contrast, treatment of GLP-1R KO mice with mAb B had little efficacy during an ipGTT. Furthermore, pretreatment with the GLP-1R antagonist exendin-(9–39) diminished the antihyperglycemic effects of mAb B in wild-type mice. To determine the mechanism whereby mAb B improves glucose tolerance, we generated a monoclonal antibody that specifically antagonizes the human GLP-1R. Using a human islet transplanted mouse model, we demonstrated that pancreatic islet GLP-1R signaling is required for the full efficacy of the GCGR antagonist. To identify the source of the elevated GLP-1 observed in GCGR mAb-treated mice, we measured active GLP-1 content in pancreas and intestine from db/db mice treated with anti-GCGR mAb for 8 wk. Elevated GLP-1 in GCGR mAb-treated mice was predominantly derived from increased pancreatic GLP-1 synthesis and processing. All together, these data show that pancreatic GLP-1 is a significant contributor to the glucose-lowering effects observed in response to GCGR antagonist treatment.

  O Lindberg , P Ostberg , B.B Zandbelt , J Oberg , Y Zhang , C Andersen , J.C.L Looi , N Bogdanovic and L. O. Wahlund
 

BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE: Frontotemporal lobar degeneration (FTLD) is a primary neurodegenerative disease comprising 3 clinical subtypes: frontotemporal dementia (FTD), semantic dementia (SD), and progressive nonfluent aphasia (PNFA). The subdivision is primarily based on the characteristic clinical symptoms displayed by each subtype. We hypothesized that these symptoms would be correlated to characteristic patterns of brain atrophy, which could be indentified and used for subclassification of subjects with FTLD.

MATERIALS AND METHODS: Volumes of 9 cortical regions were manually parcellated and measured on both hemispheres on 27 controls, 12 patients with FTD, 9 patients with PNFA, and 13 patients with SD. The volumetric data were analyzed by traditional t tests and by a multivariate discriminant analysis (partial least squares discriminant analysis).

RESULTS: The ensemble or pattern of atrophy was a good discriminator in pair-wise comparison between the subtypes: FTD compared with SD (sensitivity 100% [12/12], specificity 100% [13/13]); FTD compared with PNFA (sensitivity 92% [11/12], specificity 89% [8/9]); and SD compared with PNFA (sensitivity 86% [11/13], specificity 100% [9/9]). Temporal-versus-frontal atrophy was the most important pattern for discriminating SD from the other 2 subtypes. Right-sided versus left-sided atrophy was the most important pattern for discriminating between subjects with FTD and PNFA.

CONCLUSIONS: FTLD subtypes generally display a characteristic pattern of atrophy, which may be considered in diagnosing patients with FTLD.

  J. N Constantino , Y Zhang , T Frazier , A. M Abbacchi and P. Law
  Objective:

Although the symptoms of autism exhibit quantitative distributions in nature, estimates of recurrence risk in families have never previously considered or incorporated quantitative characterization of the autistic phenotype among siblings.

Method:

The authors report the results of quantitative characterization of 2,920 children from 1,235 families participating in a national volunteer register, with at least one child clinically affected by an autism spectrum disorder and at least one full biological sibling.

Results:

A traditionally defined autism spectrum disorder in an additional child occurred in 10.9% of the families. An additional 20% of nonautism-affected siblings had a history of language delay, one-half of whom exhibited autistic qualities of speech. Quantitative characterization using the Social Responsiveness Scale supported previously reported aggregation of a wide range of subclinical (quantitative) autistic traits among otherwise unaffected children in multiple-incidence families and a relative absence of quantitative autistic traits among siblings in single-incidence families. Girls whose standardized severity ratings fell above a first percentile severity threshold (relative to the general population distribution) were significantly less likely to have elicited community diagnoses than their male counterparts.

Conclusions:

These data suggest that, depending on how it is defined, sibling recurrence in autism spectrum disorder may exceed previously published estimates and varies as a function of family type. The results support differences in mechanisms of genetic transmission between simplex and multiplex autism and advance current understanding of the genetic epidemiology of autism spectrum conditions.

  F. W Roemer , A Guermazi , Y Zhang , M Yang , D. J Hunter , M. D Crema and K. Bohndorf
 

OBJECTIVE. The purpose of this study was to compare synovitis-like signal changes in Hoffa's fat pad on unenhanced proton density–weighted fat-suppressed sequences with signal alterations in Hoffa's fat pad and peripatellar synovial thickening on T1-weighted fat-suppressed contrast-enhanced sequences in patients with osteoarthritis.

SUBJECTS AND METHODS. Fifty patients with osteoarthritis of the knee participated in the study. MRI was performed with triplanar proton density–weighted fat-suppressed sequences and a sagittal T1-weighted fat-suppressed contrast-enhanced sequence. Signal intensity alterations in Hoffa's fat pad were scored semiquantitatively on unenhanced and contrast-enhanced images by two radiologists in consensus. Peripatellar synovial thickness was measured on the T1-weighted fat-suppressed contrast-enhanced images in six locations. Agreement between scoring of signal changes on unenhanced and contrast-enhanced sequences was assessed with kappa statistics. The sensitivity, specificity, and accuracy of scoring of signal-intensity changes on unenhanced images were calculated with T1-weighted contrast-enhanced MRI as the reference standard. In addition, we also examined the relation between signal changes and summed synovial thickness using Spearman's rank correlation coefficient.

RESULTS. Agreement between unenhanced and contrast-enhanced MRI was fair to moderate (weighted = 0.35 and 0.45). The sensitivity of signal intensity changes in Hoffa's fat pad on proton density–weighted fat-suppressed images was high, but specificity was low. Correlations of signal intensity changes in Hoffa's fat pad with synovial thickness were lower for unenhanced scans but all were statistically significant.

CONCLUSION. Signal intensity alterations in Hoffa's fat pad on unenhanced images do not always represent synovitis but are a nonspecific albeit sensitive finding. Semiquantitative scoring of synovitis of the patellofemoral region in osteoarthritis ideally should be performed with T1-weighted contrast-enhanced sequences and should include scoring of synovial thickness.

  M. F Morris , Y Zhang , H Zhang , J. C Prowda , D. N Silvers , R. A Fawwaz and M. R. Prince
 

OBJECTIVE. The objective of this article is to illustrate the spectrum of imaging findings with photographic and histopathologic correlation in patients with biopsy-proven nephrogenic systemic fibrosis (NSF).

CONCLUSION. Features of NSF may be evident on the patient's skin as well as on routine imaging studies, although these imaging findings are nonspecific and are more likely to occur with other diseases.

  J. C Umhau , R Momenan , M. L Schwandt , E Singley , M Lifshitz , L Doty , L. J Adams , V Vengeliene , R Spanagel , Y Zhang , J Shen , D. T George , D Hommer and M. Heilig
 

Context  Acamprosate is approved for the treatment of alcoholism, but its mechanism of action remains unclear. Results of animal studies suggest that a persistent hyperglutamatergic state contributes to the pathogenesis of alcoholism and that acamprosate may exert its actions by intervening in this process. Human translation of these findings is lacking.

Objective  To examine whether acamprosate modulates indices of central glutamate levels in recently abstinent alcohol-dependent patients as measured using proton nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy (1H-MRS).

Design  A 4-week, double-blind, placebo-controlled, randomized controlled experimental medicine study, with 1H-MRS measures obtained on days 4 and 25.

Setting  An inpatient research unit at the NIH Clinical Center.

Patients  Thirty-three patients who met the DSM-IV criteria for alcohol dependence and who were admitted for medically supervised withdrawal from ongoing alcohol use.

Intervention  Four weeks of acamprosate (initial oral loading followed by 1998 mg daily) or matched placebo, initiated at the time of admission.

Main Outcome Measures  The glutamate to creatine ratio as determined using single-voxel 1H-MRS in the anterior cingulate. Exploratory neuroendocrine, biochemical, and behavioral outcomes were also collected, as were safety- and tolerability-related measures.

Results  There was a highly significant suppression of the glutamate to creatine ratio across time by acamprosate (time x treatment interaction: F1,29 = 13.5, P < .001). Cerebrospinal fluid levels of glutamate obtained in a subset of patients 4 weeks into abstinence were uncorrelated with the MRS measures and unaffected by treatment but were strongly correlated (R2 = 0.48, P < .001) with alcohol dependence severity. Other exploratory outcomes, including repeated dexamethasone–corticotropin-releasing hormone tests, and psychiatric ratings were unaffected. Among tolerability measures, gastrointestinal symptoms were significantly greater in acamprosate-treated individuals, in agreement with the established profile of acamprosate.

Conclusion  The MRS measures of central glutamate are reduced across time when acamprosate therapy is initiated at the onset of alcohol abstinence.

Trial Registration  clinicaltrials.gov Identifier: NCT00106106

  D Mukherjee , Y Zhang , D. C Chang , L. A Vricella , J. I Brenner and F. Abdullah
 

Through an analysis of 2 databases, we describe outcomes among 11 958 neonates with congenital heart disease undergoing cardiac procedures, with 194 developing necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC). Neonates with congestive heart failure or those undergoing systemic to pulmonary artery shunting were more likely to develop NEC, but these patients had inpatient mortality similar to that of their non-NEC counterparts.

  M Camp , D. C Chang , Y Zhang , K Chrouser , P. M Colombani and F. Abdullah
 

Objective  To determine risk factors and outcomes associated with a foreign body left during a procedure in a population of pediatric surgical patients.

Design  Case-control study.

Setting  The Nationwide Inpatient Sample and Kids' Inpatient Database were used to identify hospitalized pediatric surgical patients in the United States (aged 0-18 years) from 1988 to 2005.

Patients  After data from 1 946 831 hospitalizations in children were linked to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality Pediatric Quality Indicator (PDI) software, 413 pediatric patients with foreign bodies left during a procedure (PDI 3) were identified. A 1:3 matched case-control design was implemented with 413 cases and 1227 controls. Cases and controls were stratified into procedure categories based on diagnosis related group procedure codes.

Main Outcome Measures  To examine the relationship between PDI 3 and procedure category, as well as the outcomes of in-hospital mortality, length of stay, and total hospital charges.

Results  Logistic regression analysis revealed a statistically significant higher odds of PDI 3 in the gynecology procedure category (odds ratio, 4.13; P = .01). Multivariable regression analysis revealed that patients with PDI 3 had an 8-day longer length of stay (95% confidence interval, 5.6-10.3 days; P < .001) and $35 681 higher total hospital charges (95% confidence interval, $22 358-$49 004; P < .001) but were not more likely to die (odds ratio, 1.07; P = .92).

Conclusions  Among pediatric surgical admissions, a foreign body left during a procedure was observed to occur with highest likelihood during gynecologic operations. The occurrence of this adverse event was associated with longer length of stay and greater total hospital charges, but not with increased mortality.

  Y Zhang , N Schuff , A. T Du , H. J Rosen , J. H Kramer , M. L Gorno Tempini , B. L Miller and M. W. Weiner
 

Frontotemporal dementia (FTD) and Alzheimer's disease are sometimes difficult to differentiate clinically because of overlapping symptoms. Using diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) measurements of fractional anisotropy (FA) can be useful in distinguishing the different patterns of white matter degradation between the two dementias. In this study, we performed MRI scans in a 4 Tesla MRI machine including T1-weighted structural images and diffusion tensor images in 18 patients with FTD, 18 patients with Alzheimer's disease and 19 cognitively normal (CN) controls. FA was measured selectively in specific fibre tracts (including corpus callosum, cingulum, uncinate and corticospinal tracts) as well as globally in a voxel-by-voxel analysis. Patients with FTD were associated with reductions of FA in frontal and temporal regions including the anterior corpus callosum (P < 0.001), bilateral anterior (left P < 0.001; right P = 0.005), descending (left P < 0.001; right P = 0.003) cingulum tracts, and uncinate tracts (left P < 0.001; right P = 0.005), compared to controls. Patients with Alzheimer's disease were associated with reductions of FA in parietal, temporal and frontal regions including the left anterior (P = 0.003) and posterior (P = 0.002) cingulum tracts, bilateral descending cingulum tracts (P < 0.001) and left uncinate tracts (P < 0.001) compared to controls. When compared with Alzheimer's disease, FTD was associated with greater reductions of FA in frontal brain regions, whereas no region in Alzheimer's disease showed greater reductions of FA when compared to FTD. In conclusion, the regional patterns of anisotropy reduction in FTD and Alzheimer's disease compared to controls suggest a characteristic distribution of white matter degradation in each disease. Moreover, the white matter degradation seems to be more prominent in FTD than in Alzheimer's disease. Taken together, the results suggest that white matter degradation measured with DTI may improve the diagnostic differentiation between FTD and Alzheimer's disease.

  L Wang , C Yu , H Chen , W Qin , Y He , F Fan , Y Zhang , M Wang , K Li , Y Zang , T. S Woodward and C. Zhu
 

Numerous studies argue that cortical reorganization may contribute to the restoration of motor function following stroke. However, the evolution of changes during the post-stroke reorganization has been little studied. This study sought to identify dynamic changes in the functional organization, particularly topological characteristics, of the motor execution network during the stroke recovery process. Ten patients (nine male and one female) with subcortical infarctions were assessed by neurological examination and scanned with resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging across five consecutive time points in a single year. The motor execution network of each subject was constructed using a functional connectivity matrix between 21 brain regions and subsequently analysed using graph theoretical approaches. Dynamic changes in topological configuration of the network during the process of recovery were evaluated by a mixed model. We found that the motor execution network gradually shifted towards a random mode during the recovery process, which suggests that a less optimized reorganization is involved in regaining function in the affected limbs. Significantly increased regional centralities within the network were observed in the ipsilesional primary motor area and contralesional cerebellum, whereas the ipsilesional cerebellum showed decreased regional centrality. Functional connectivity to these brain regions demonstrated consistent alterations over time. Notably, these measures correlated with different clinical variables, which provided support that the findings may reflect the adaptive reorganization of the motor execution network in stroke patients. In conclusion, the study expands our understanding of the spectrum of changes occurring in the brain after stroke and provides a new avenue for investigating lesion-induced network plasticity.

  V. E Steele , C. V Rao , Y Zhang , J Patlolla , D Boring , L Kopelovich , M. M Juliana , C. J Grubbs and R. A. Lubet
 

Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAID) have been highly effective in preventing colon, urinary bladder, and skin cancer preclinically, and also in clinical trials of colon adenoma formation. However, certain NSAIDs cause gastrointestinal ulceration and may increase cardiovascular events. Naproxen seems to cause the lowest cardiovascular events of the common NSAIDs other than aspirin. Nitric oxide (NO)-naproxen was tested based on the finding that adding a NO group to NSAIDs may help alleviate GI toxicity. In the azoxymethane-induced rat colon aberrant crypt foci (ACF) model, naproxen administered at 200 and 400 ppm in the diet reduced mean ACFs in the colon by about 45% to 60%, respectively. NO-naproxen was likewise administered in the diet at roughly equimolar doses (300 and 600 ppm) and reduced total ACF by 20% to 40%, respectively. In the hydroxybutyl (butyl) nitrosamine rat urinary bladder cancer model, NO-naproxen was given at 183 or 550 ppm in the diet, and naproxen at 128 ppm. The NO-naproxen groups had 77% and 73% decreases, respectively, in the development of large urinary bladder tumors, whereas the 128 ppm naproxen group also showed a strong decrease (69%). If treatments were started 3 months after hydroxybutyl (butyl) nitrosamine, NO-naproxen (550 ppm) and naproxen (400 ppm) were also highly effective (86-94% decreases). In the methylnitrosourea-induced mammary cancer model in rats, NO-naproxen and naproxen showed nonsignificant inhibitions (12% and 24%) at 550 and 400 ppm, respectively. These data show that both naproxen and NO-naproxen are effective agents against urinary bladder and colon, but not mammary, carcinogenesis.

  N. B Janakiram , A Mohammed , Y Zhang , C. I Choi , C Woodward , P Collin , V. E Steele and C. V. Rao
 

Sea cucumber extracts have been widely used to treat individuals with inflammatory conditions in East Asia. The present study has been designed to test potential colon cancer–preventive properties of Frondanol A5, a glycolipid extract from the sea cucumber, Cucumaria frondosa, using in vivo and in vitro models of colon cancer. Chemopreventive efficacy of Frondanol A5 was evaluated on azoxymethane-induced rat colon carcinogenesis using colonic aberrant crypt foci (ACF) as efficacy marker. At 7 weeks of age, groups of rats (12 per group) were fed the AIN-76A diet, and ACFs were induced by azoxymethane (15 mg/kg body weight). Three days after azoxymethane treatment, rats were fed with the diets containing 0, 150, and 450 ppm of Frondanol A5 and continued on the diets for 8 weeks, at which time ACFs were evaluated. Expression levels of proliferating cell nuclear antigen and p21WAF1/CIP1 were determined in ACFs. Further, Frondanol A5 (10-120 µg/mL) was studied for its growth-inhibitory and apoptotic effects in the HCT-116 cell line. Dietary administration of 150 and 450 ppm of Frondanol A5 significantly suppressed azoxymethane-induced total colonic ACF formation, approximately 34% to 55% (P < 0.01 to P < 0.0001), and multicrypt aberrant foci (48-68.5%, P < 0.0001) in a dose-dependent manner. ACFs in rats treated with Frondanol A5 showed significant upregulation of p21WAF1/CIP1 and downregulation of proliferating cell nuclear antigen compared with control group. Frondanol A5 showed growth inhibition at S and G2-M phase with a decrease in Cdc25c and an increase in p21WAF1/CIP with significant apoptosis associated with H2AX phosphorylation and caspase-2 cleavage in HCT116 cells. Overall, Frondanol A5 exhibits potential chemopreventive properties for colon carcinogenesis, which suggests further development of this sea cucumber extract. Cancer Prev Res; 3(1); 82–91

  L. S Adams , Y Zhang , N. P Seeram , D Heber and S. Chen
 

Estrogen stimulates the proliferation of breast cancer cells and the growth of estrogen-responsive tumors. The aromatase enzyme, which converts androgen to estrogen, plays a key role in breast carcinogenesis. The pomegranate fruit, a rich source of ellagitannins (ET), has attracted recent attention due to its anticancer and antiatherosclerotic properties. On consumption, pomegranate ETs hydrolyze, releasing ellagic acid, which is then converted to 3,8-dihydroxy-6H-dibenzo[b,d]pyran-6-one ("urolithin") derivatives by gut microflora. The purpose of this study was to investigate the antiaromatase activity and inhibition of testosterone-induced breast cancer cell proliferation by ET-derived compounds isolated from pomegranates. A panel of 10 ET-derived compounds including ellagic acid, gallagic acid, and urolithins A and B (and their acetylated, methylated, and sulfated analogues prepared in our laboratory) were examined for their ability to inhibit aromatase activity and testosterone-induced breast cancer cell proliferation. Using a microsomal aromatase assay, we screened the panel of ET-derived compounds and identified six with antiaromatase activity. Among these, urolithin B (UB) was shown to most effectively inhibit aromatase activity in a live cell assay. Kinetic analysis of UB showed mixed inhibition, suggesting more than one inhibitory mechanism. Proliferation assays also determined that UB significantly inhibited testosterone-induced MCF-7aro cell proliferation. The remaining test compounds also exhibited antiproliferative activity, but to a lesser degree than UB. These studies suggest that pomegranate ET–derived compounds have potential for the prevention of estrogen-responsive breast cancers. Cancer Prev Res; 3(1); 108–13

  A. E Hoffman , T Zheng , C. H Yi , R. G Stevens , Y Ba , Y Zhang , D Leaderer , T Holford , J Hansen and Y. Zhu
 

As transcriptional regulators, circadian genes have the potential to influence a variety of biological pathways, including many cancer-related processes. Cryptochrome 2 (CRY2) is essential for proper circadian timing and is a key component of the circadian regulatory feedback loop. Here, we report findings from genetic, epigenetic, loss-of-function, and transcriptional profiling analyses of CRY2 in breast cancer. Six single-nucleotide polymorphisms in CRY2 were identified for genotyping in a case-control population (n = 441 cases and n = 479 controls), and three single-nucleotide polymorphisms (rs11038689, rs7123390, and rs1401417) were significantly associated with postmenopausal breast cancer risk, with significant effect modification by menopausal status [dominant model for rs11038689: odds ratio (OR), 0.71; 95% confidence interval (95% CI), 0.51-0.99; P for trend = 0.028; homozygous variants for rs7123390: OR, 0.44; 95% CI, 0.22-0.86; P for trend = 0.028; and rs1401417: OR, 0.44; 95% CI, 0.21-0.92; P for trend = 0.017]. Interestingly, this association was only evident in women with estrogen and progesterone receptor (ER/PR)–negative breast tumors but not with ER/PR-positive tumors. Breast cancer patients also had significantly higher levels of CRY2 promoter methylation relative to controls, which is consistent with tissue array data showing lower levels of CRY2 expression in tumor tissue relative to adjacent normal tissue. Furthermore, in vitro analyses identified several breast cancer–relevant genes that displayed altered expression following CRY2 knockdown. These findings suggest a role for CRY2 in breast tumorigenesis and provide further evidence that the circadian system may be an important modulator of hormone-related cancer susceptibility. Cancer Prev Res; 3(4); 539–48. ©2010 AACR.

  Y Zhang , J Zhang , L Wang , E Quealy , B. D Gary , R. C Reynolds , G. A Piazza and J. Lu
 

Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs including sulindac are well documented to be highly effective for cancer chemoprevention. However, their cyclooxygenase (COX)-inhibitory activities cause severe gastrointestinal, renal, and cardiovascular toxicities, limiting their chronic use. Recent studies suggest that COX-independent mechanisms may be responsible for the chemopreventive benefits of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and support the potential for the development of a novel generation of sulindac derivatives lacking COX inhibition for cancer chemoprevention. A prototypic sulindac derivative with a N,N-dimethylammonium substitution called sulindac sulfide amide (SSA) was recently identified to be devoid of COX-inhibitory activity yet displays much more potent tumor cell growth-inhibitory activity in vitro compared with sulindac sulfide. In this study, we investigated the androgen receptor (AR) signaling pathway as a potential target for its COX-independent antineoplastic mechanism and evaluated its chemopreventive efficacy against prostate carcinogenesis using the transgenic adenocarcinoma of mouse prostate model. The results showed that SSA significantly suppressed the growth of human and mouse prostate cancer cells expressing AR in strong association with G1 arrest, and decreased AR level and AR-dependent transactivation. Dietary SSA consumption dramatically attenuated prostatic growth and suppressed AR-dependent glandular epithelial lesion progression through repressing cell proliferation in the transgenic adenocarcinoma of mouse prostate mice, whereas it did not significantly affect neuroendocrine carcinoma growth. Overall, the results suggest that SSA may be a chemopreventive candidate against prostate glandular epithelial carcinogenesis. Cancer Prev Res; 3(7); 885–95. ©2010 AACR.

  P Wang , W. J Aronson , M Huang , Y Zhang , R. P Lee , D Heber and S. M. Henning
 

Epidemiologic, preclinical, and clinical trials suggest that green tea consumption may prevent prostate cancer through the action of green tea polyphenols including (–)-epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG). To study the metabolism and bioactivity of green tea polyphenols in human prostate tissue, men with clinically localized prostate cancer consumed six cups of green tea (n = 8) daily or water (n = 9) for 3 to 6 weeks before undergoing radical prostatectomy. Using high-performance liquid chromatography, 4''-O-methyl EGCG (4''-MeEGCG) and EGCG were identified in comparable amounts, and (–)-epicatechin-3-gallate was identified in lower amounts in prostatectomy tissue from men consuming green tea (38.9 ± 19.5, 42.1 ± 32.4, and 17.8 ± 10.1 pmol/g tissue, respectively). The majority of EGCG and other green tea polyphenols were not conjugated. Green tea polyphenols were not detected in prostate tissue or urine from men consuming water preoperatively. In the urine of men consuming green tea, 50% to 60% of both (–)-epigallocatechin and (–)-epicatechin were present in methylated form with 4'-O-MeEGC being the major methylated form of (–)-epigallocatechin. When incubated with EGCG, LNCaP prostate cancer cells were able to methylate EGCG to 4''-MeEGCG. The capacity of 4''-MeEGCG to inhibit proliferation and NF-B activation and induce apoptosis in LNCaP cells was decreased significantly compared with EGCG. In summary, methylated and nonmethylated forms of EGCG are detectable in prostate tissue following a short-term green tea intervention, and the methylation status of EGCG may potentially modulate its preventive effect on prostate cancer, possibly based on genetic polymorphisms of catechol O-methyltransferase. Cancer Prev Res; 3(8); 985–93. ©2010 AACR.

  Y Zhang , A Daquinag , D. O Traktuev , F Amaya Manzanares , P. J Simmons , K. L March , R Pasqualini , W Arap and M. G. Kolonin
 

The connection between obesity and accelerated cancer progression has been established, but the mediating mechanisms are not well understood. We have shown that stromal cells from white adipose tissue (WAT) cooperate with the endothelium to promote blood vessel formation through the secretion of soluble trophic factors. Here, we hypothesize that WAT directly mediates cancer progression by serving as a source of cells that migrate to tumors and promote neovascularization. To test this hypothesis, we have evaluated the recruitment of WAT-derived cells by tumors and the effect of their engraftment on tumor growth by integrating a transgenic mouse strain engineered for expansion of traceable cells with established allograft and xenograft cancer models. Our studies show that entry of adipose stromal and endothelial cells into systemic circulation leads to their homing to and engraftment into tumor stroma and vasculature, respectively. We show that recruitment of adipose stromal cells by tumors is sufficient to promote tumor growth. Finally, we show that migration of stromal and vascular progenitor cells from WAT grafts to tumors is also associated with acceleration of cancer progression. These results provide a biological insight for the clinical association between obesity and cancer, thus outlining potential avenues for preventive and therapeutic strategies. [Cancer Res 2009;69(12):5259–66]

  C. D Paspalas , C. C Perley , D. V Venkitaramani , S. M Goebel Goody , Y Zhang , P Kurup , J. H Mattis and P. J. Lombroso
 

Major Vault Protein (MVP), the main constituent of the vault ribonucleoprotein particle, is highly conserved in eukaryotic cells and upregulated in a variety of tumors. Vaults have been speculated to function as cargo transporters in several cell lines, yet no work to date has characterized the protein in neurons. Here we first describe the cellular and subcellular expression of MVP in primate and rodent cerebral cortex, and in cortical neurons in vitro. In prefrontal, somatosensory and hippocampal cortices, MVP was predominantly expressed in pyramidal neurons. Immunogold labeled free and attached ribosomes, and structures reminiscent of vaults on the rough endoplasmic reticulum and the nuclear envelope. The nucleus was immunoreactive in association with nucleopores. Axons and particularly principal dendrites expressed MVP along individual microtubules, and in pre- and postsynaptic structures. Synapses were not labeled. Colocalization with microtubule-associated protein-2, tubulin, tau, and phalloidin was observed in neurites and growth cones in culture. Immunoprecipitation coupled with reverse transcription PCR showed that MVP associates with mRNAs that are known to be translated in response to synaptic activity. Taken together, our findings provide the first characterization of neuronal MVP along the nucleus–neurite axis and may offer new insights into its possible function(s) in the brain.

  Q Lian , Y Zhang , J Zhang , H. K Zhang , X Wu , F. F. Y Lam , S Kang , J. C Xia , W. H Lai , K. W Au , Y. Y Chow , C. W Siu , C. N Lee and H. F. Tse
 

Background— Aging and aging-related disorders impair the survival and differentiation potential of bone marrow mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) and limit their therapeutic efficacy. Induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) may provide an alternative source of functional MSCs for tissue repair. This study aimed to generate and characterize human iPSC-derived MSCs and to investigate their biological function for the treatment of limb ischemia.

Methods and Results— Human iPSCs were induced to MSC differentiation with a clinically compliant protocol. Three monoclonal, karyotypically stable, and functional MSC-like cultures were successfully isolated using a combination of CD24 and CD105+ sorting. They did not express pluripotent-associated markers but displayed MSC surface antigens and differentiated into adipocytes, osteocytes, and chondrocytes. Transplanting iPSC-MSCs into mice significantly attenuated severe hind-limb ischemia and promoted vascular and muscle regeneration. The benefits of iPSC-MSCs on limb ischemia were superior to those of adult bone marrow MSCs. The greater potential of iPSC-MSCs may be attributable to their superior survival and engraftment after transplantation to induce vascular and muscle regeneration via direct de novo differentiation and paracrine mechanisms.

Conclusions— Functional MSCs can be clonally generated, beginning at a single-cell level, from human iPSCs. Patient-specific iPSC-MSCs can be prepared as an "off-the-shelf" format for the treatment of tissue ischemia.

  J Sun , K Hartvigsen , M. Y Chou , Y Zhang , G. K Sukhova , J Zhang , M Lopez Ilasaca , C. J Diehl , N Yakov , D Harats , J George , J. L Witztum , P Libby , H Ploegh and G. P. Shi
 

Background— Adaptive immunity and innate immunity play important roles in atherogenesis. Invariant chain (CD74) mediates antigen-presenting cell antigen presentation and T-cell activation. This study tested the hypothesis that CD74-deficient mice have reduced numbers of active T cells and resist atherogenesis.

Methods and Results— In low-density lipoprotein receptor–deficient (Ldlr–/–) mice, CD74 deficiency (Ldlr–/–Cd74–/–) significantly reduced atherosclerosis and CD25+-activated T cells in the atheromata. Although Ldlr–/–Cd74–/– mice had decreased levels of plasma immunoglobulin (Ig) G1, IgG2b, and IgG2c against malondialdehyde-modified LDL (MDA-LDL), presumably as a result of impaired antigen-presenting cell function, Ldlr–/–Cd74–/– mice showed higher levels of anti–MDA-LDL IgM and IgG3. After immunization with MDA-LDL, Ldlr–/–Cd74–/– mice had lower levels of all anti–MDA-LDL Ig isotypes compared with Ldlr–/– mice. As anticipated, only Ldlr–/– splenocytes responded to in vitro stimulation with MDA-LDL, producing Th1/Th2 cytokines. Heat shock protein-65 immunization enhanced atherogenesis in Ldlr–/– mice, but Ldlr–/– Cd74–/– mice remained protected. Compared with Ldlr–/– mice, Ldlr–/–Cd74–/– mice had higher anti–MDA-LDL autoantibody titers, fewer lesion CD25+-activated T cells, impaired release of Th1/Th2 cytokines from antigen-presenting cells after heat shock protein-65 stimulation, and reduced levels of all plasma anti–heat shock protein-65 Ig isotypes. Cytofluorimetry of splenocytes and peritoneal cavity cells of MDA-LDL– or heat shock protein-65–immunized mice showed increased percentages of autoantibody-producing marginal zone B and B-1 cells in Ldlr–/–Cd74–/– mice compared with Ldlr–/– mice.

Conclusions— Invariant chain deficiency in Ldlr–/– mice reduced atherosclerosis. This finding was associated with an impaired adaptive immune response to disease-specific antigens. Concomitantly, an unexpected increase in the number of innate-like peripheral B-1 cell populations occurred, resulting in increased IgM/IgG3 titers to the oxidation-specific epitopes.

  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
  Background—

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.

Conclusions—

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.

  H. J Park , Y Zhang , C Du , C. M Welzig , C Madias , M. J Aronovitz , S. P Georgescu , I Naggar , B Wang , Y. B Kim , R. O Blaustein , R. H Karas , R Liao , C. E Mathews and J. B. Galper
 

Rationale: Diabetic autonomic neuropathy (DAN), a major complication of diabetes mellitus, is characterized, in part, by impaired cardiac parasympathetic responsiveness. Parasympathetic stimulation of the heart involves activation of an acetylcholine-gated K+ current, IKAch, via a (GIRK1)2/(GIRK4)2 K+ channel. Sterol regulatory element binding protein-1 (SREBP-1) is a lipid-sensitive transcription factor.

Objective: We describe a unique SREBP-1–dependent mechanism for insulin regulation of cardiac parasympathetic response in a mouse model for DAN.

Methods and Results: Using implantable EKG transmitters, we demonstrated that compared with wild-type, Ins2Akita type I diabetic mice demonstrated a decrease in the negative chronotropic response to carbamylcholine characterized by a 2.4-fold decrease in the duration of bradycardia, a 52±8% decrease in atrial expression of GIRK1 (P<0.01), and a 31.3±2.1% decrease in SREBP-1 (P<0.05). Whole-cell patch-clamp studies of atrial myocytes from Akita mice exhibited a markedly decreased carbamylcholine stimulation of IKAch with a peak value of –181±31 pA/pF compared with –451±62 pA/pF (P<0.01) in cells from wild-type mice. Western blot analysis of extracts of Akita mice demonstrated that insulin treatment increased the expression of GIRK1, SREBP-1, and IKAch activity in atrial myocytes from these mice to levels in wild-type mice. Insulin treatment of cultured atrial myocytes stimulated GIRK1 expression 2.68±0.12-fold (P<0.01), which was reversed by overexpression of dominant negative SREBP-1. Finally, adenoviral expression of SREBP-1 in Akita atrial myocytes reversed the impaired IKAch to levels in cells from wild-type mice.

Conclusions: These results support a unique molecular mechanism for insulin regulation of GIRK1 expression and parasympathetic response via SREBP-1, which might play a role in the pathogenesis of DAN in response to insulin deficiency in the diabetic heart.

  M. G Chang , Y Zhang , C. Y Chang , L Xu , R Emokpae , L Tung , E Marban and M. R. Abraham
 

Rationale: Reentry underlies most ventricular tachycardias (VTs) seen postmyocardial infarction (MI). Mapping studies reveal that the majority of VTs late post-MI arise from the infarct border zone (IBZ).

Objective: To investigate reentry dynamics and the role of individual ion channels on reentry in in vitro models of the "healed" IBZ.

Methods and Results: We designed in vitro models of the healed IBZ by coculturing skeletal myotubes with neonatal rat ventricular myocytes and performed optical mapping at high temporal and spatial resolution.

In culture, neonatal rat ventricular myocytes mature to form striated myocytes and electrically uncoupled skeletal myotubes simulate fibrosis seen in the healed IBZ. High resolution mapping revealed that skeletal myotubes produced localized slowing of conduction velocity (CV), increased dispersion of CV and directional-dependence of activation delay without affecting myocyte excitability. Reentry was easily induced by rapid pacing in cocultures; treatment with lidocaine, a Na+ channel blocker, significantly decreased reentry rate and CV, increased reentry path length and terminated 30% of reentrant arrhythmias (n=18). In contrast, nitrendipine, an L-type Ca2+ channel blocker terminated 100% of reentry episodes while increasing reentry cycle length and path length and decreasing reentry CV (n=16). K+ channel blockers increased reentry action potential duration but infrequently terminated reentry (n=12).

Conclusions: Cocultures reproduce several architectural and electrophysiological features of the healed IBZ. Reentry termination by L-type Ca2+ channel, but not Na+ channel, blockers suggests a greater Ca2+-dependence of propagation. These results may help explain the low efficacy of pure Na+ channel blockers in preventing and terminating clinical VTs late after MI.

  J Endo , M Sano , T Katayama , T Hishiki , K Shinmura , S Morizane , T Matsuhashi , Y Katsumata , Y Zhang , H Ito , Y Nagahata , S Marchitti , K Nishimaki , A. M Wolf , H Nakanishi , F Hattori , V Vasiliou , T Adachi , I Ohsawa , R Taguchi , Y Hirabayashi , S Ohta , M Suematsu , S Ogawa and K. Fukuda
 

Rationale: Aldehyde accumulation is regarded as a pathognomonic feature of oxidative stress–associated cardiovascular disease.

Objective: We investigated how the heart compensates for the accelerated accumulation of aldehydes.

Methods and Results: Aldehyde dehydrogenase 2 (ALDH2) has a major role in aldehyde detoxification in the mitochondria, a major source of aldehydes. Transgenic (Tg) mice carrying an Aldh2 gene with a single nucleotide polymorphism (Aldh2*2) were developed. This polymorphism has a dominant-negative effect and the Tg mice exhibited impaired ALDH activity against a broad range of aldehydes. Despite a shift toward the oxidative state in mitochondrial matrices, Aldh2*2 Tg hearts displayed normal left ventricular function by echocardiography and, because of metabolic remodeling, an unexpected tolerance to oxidative stress induced by ischemia/reperfusion injury. Mitochondrial aldehyde stress stimulated eukaryotic translation initiation factor 2 phosphorylation. Subsequent translational and transcriptional activation of activating transcription factor-4 promoted the expression of enzymes involved in amino acid biosynthesis and transport, ultimately providing precursor amino acids for glutathione biosynthesis. Intracellular glutathione levels were increased 1.37-fold in Aldh2*2 Tg hearts compared with wild-type controls. Heterozygous knockout of Atf4 blunted the increase in intracellular glutathione levels in Aldh2*2 Tg hearts, thereby attenuating the oxidative stress–resistant phenotype. Furthermore, glycolysis and NADPH generation via the pentose phosphate pathway were activated in Aldh2*2 Tg hearts. (NADPH is required for the recycling of oxidized glutathione.)

Conclusions: The findings of the present study indicate that mitochondrial aldehyde stress in the heart induces metabolic remodeling, leading to activation of the glutathione–redox cycle, which confers resistance against acute oxidative stress induced by ischemia/reperfusion.

  W Peng , Y Zhang , M Zheng , H Cheng , W Zhu , C. M Cao and R. P. Xiao
 

Rationale: Ca2+/calmodulin-dependent protein kinase (CaMK)II is a multifunctional kinase involved in vital cellular processes such as Ca2+ handling and cell fate regulation. In mammalian heart, 2 primary CaMKII isoforms, B and C, localize in nuclear and cytosolic compartments, respectively. Although previous studies have established an essential role of CaMKII-C in cardiomyocyte apoptosis, the functional role of the more abundant isoform, CaMKII-B, remains elusive.

Objective: Here, we determined the potential role of CaMKII-B in regulating cardiomyocyte viability and explored the underlying mechanism.

Methods and Results: In cultured neonatal rat cardiomyocytes, the expression of CaMKII-B and CaMKII-C was inversely regulated in response to H2O2-induced oxidative stress with a profound reduction of the former and an increase of the later. Similarly, in vivo ischemia/reperfusion (IR) led to an opposite regulation of these CaMKII isoforms in a rat myocardial IR model. Notably, overexpression of CaMKII-B protected cardiomyocytes against oxidative stress-, hypoxia-, and angiotensin II-induced apoptosis, whereas overexpression of its cytosolic counterpart promoted apoptosis. Using cDNA microarray, real-time PCR and Western blotting, we demonstrated that overexpression of CaMKII-B but not CaMKII-C elevated expression of heat shock protein (HSP)70 family members, including inducible (i)HSP70 and its homolog (Hst70). Moreover, overexpression of CaMKII-B led to phosphorylation and activation of heat shock factor (HSF)1, the primary transcription factor responsible for HSP70 gene regulation. Importantly, gene silencing of iHSP70, but not Hst70, abolished CaMKII-B-mediated protective effect, indicating that only iHSP70 was required for CaMKII-B elicited antiapoptotic signaling.

Conclusions: We conclude that cardiac CaMKII-B and CaMKII-C were inversely regulated in response to oxidative stress and IR injury, and that in contrast to CaMKII-C, CaMKII-B serves as a potent suppressor of cardiomyocyte apoptosis triggered by multiple death-inducing stimuli via phosphorylation of HSF1 and subsequent induction of iHSP70, marking both CaMKII- isoforms as promising therapeutic targets for the treatment of ischemic heart disease.

  S. J Matkovich , Y Zhang , D. J Van Booven and G. W. Dorn
 

Rationale: Transcriptional profiling can detect subclinical heart disease and provide insight into disease etiology and functional status. Current microarray-based methods are expensive and subject to artifact.

Objective: To develop RNA sequencing methodologies using next generation massively parallel platforms for high throughput comprehensive analysis of individual mouse cardiac transcriptomes. To compare the results of sequencing- and array-based transcriptional profiling in the well-characterized Gq transgenic mouse hypertrophy/cardiomyopathy model.

Methods and Results: The techniques for preparation of individually bar-coded mouse heart RNA libraries for Illumina Genome Analyzer II resequencing are described. RNA sequencing showed that 234 high-abundance transcripts (>60 copies/cell) comprised 55% of total cardiac mRNA. Parallel transcriptional profiling of Gq transgenic and nontransgenic hearts by Illumina RNA sequencing and Affymetrix Mouse Gene 1.0 ST arrays revealed superior dynamic range for mRNA expression and enhanced specificity for reporting low-abundance transcripts by RNA sequencing. Differential mRNA expression in Gq and nontransgenic hearts correlated well between microarrays and RNA sequencing for highly abundant transcripts. RNA sequencing was superior to arrays for accurately quantifying lower-abundance genes, which represented the majority of the regulated genes in the Gq transgenic model.

Conclusions: RNA sequencing is rapid, accurate, and sensitive for identifying both abundant and rare cardiac transcripts, and has significant advantages in time- and cost-efficiencies over microarray analysis.

  X Wang , W Xie , Y Zhang , P Lin , L Han , P Han , Y Wang , Z Chen , G Ji , M Zheng , N Weisleder , R. P Xiao , H Takeshima , J Ma and H. Cheng
 

Rationale: Unrepaired cardiomyocyte membrane injury causes irreplaceable cell loss, leading to myocardial fibrosis and eventually heart failure. However, the cellular and molecular mechanisms of cardiac membrane repair are largely unknown. MG53, a newly identified striated muscle-specific protein, is involved in skeletal muscle membrane repair. But the role of MG53 in the heart has not been determined.

Objective: We sought to investigate whether MG53 mediates membrane repair in cardiomyocytes and, if so, the cellular and molecular mechanism underlying MG53-mediated membrane repair in cardiomyocytes. Moreover, we determined possible cardioprotective effect of MG53-mediated membrane repair.

Methods and Results: We demonstrated that MG53 is crucial to the emergency membrane repair response in cardiomyocytes and protects the heart from stress-induced loss of cardiomyocytes. Disruption of the sarcolemmal membrane by mechanical, electric, chemical, or metabolic insults caused rapid and robust translocation of MG53 toward the injury sites. Ablation of MG53 prevented sarcolemmal resealing after infrared laser–induced membrane damage in intact heart, and exacerbated mitochondrial dysfunction and loss of cardiomyocytes during ischemia/reperfusion injury. Unexpectedly, the MG53-mediated cardiac membrane repair was mediated by a cholesterol-dependent mechanism: depletion of membrane cholesterol abolished, and its recovery restored injury-induced membrane translocation of MG53. The redox status of MG53 did not affect initiation of MG53 translocation, whereas MG53 oxidation conferred stability to the membrane repair patch.

Conclusions: Thus, cholesterol-dependent MG53-mediated membrane repair is a vital, heretofore unappreciated cardioprotective mechanism against a multitude of insults and may bear important therapeutic implications.

  G Niu , B. J Scherlag , Z Lu , M Ghias , Y Zhang , E Patterson , T. W Dasari , S Zacharias , R Lazzara , W. M Jackman and S. S. Po
 

Background— The objective of this study was to develop an acute experimental model showing both focal and macroreentrant sustained atrial fibrillation (AF).

Methods and Results— In 31 anesthetized dogs, bilateral thoracotomies allowed the attachment of electrode catheters at the right and left superior pulmonary veins, atrial free walls, and atrial appendages. Acetylcholine, 100 mmol/L, was applied topically to either appendage. Sequential radiofrequency ablation was achieved for the ganglionated plexi (GP), found adjacent to the 4 pulmonary veins. In 12 separate studies, a propafenone bolus, 2 mg/kg, was given before and after GP ablations at the start of acetylcholine-induced AF.

Acetylcholine caused abrupt onset of AF (n=22) or induced AF by burst pacing (n=9) that lasted ≥10 minutes. Rapid, regular, or fractionated atrial electrograms were consistently seen (average cycle length, 37±7 ms) at the appendages versus cycle lengths of 114±23 ms at other atrial sites. After ablations of GP, AF abruptly terminated (n=25). In 6 dogs, sustained atrial tachyarrhythmias continued. Pacing at specific atrial sites organized electrograms of one atrium or also captured the other atrium. The latter resulted in termination when pacing was stopped in 4 of these 6 experiments. Propafenone did not change the duration of focal AF before GP ablation (17±9 versus 14±8 minutes; control, P=0.6) but terminated reentrant atrial tachyarrhythmias (12±3 versus 2±1 minutes, P=0.0009).

Conclusions— Before GP ablation, acetylcholine (100 mmol/L) induced sustained AF characterized by rapid, focal firing. GP ablations were associated with loss of focal firing and regularization of electrograms in both atria before termination. Propafenone failed to terminate focal AF but rapidly terminated entrainable macroreentrant atrial tachyarrhythmias.

  S Li , B. J Scherlag , L Yu , X Sheng , Y Zhang , R Ali , Y Dong , M Ghias and S. S. Po
 

Background— We used high-frequency stimulation delivered during the refractory period of the atrium and pulmonary veins (PVs) to induce focal firing and atrial fibrillation (AF). This study was designed to demonstrate that bilateral low-level vagosympathetic nerve stimulation (LL-VNS) could suppress high-frequency stimulation-induced focal AF at atrial and PV sites.

Methods and Results— In 23 dogs anesthetized with Na-pentobarbital, electrodes in the vagosympathetic trunks allowed LL-VNS at 1 V below that which slowed the sinus rate or atrioventricular conduction. Multielectrode catheters were fixed at the right and left superior and inferior PVs and both atrial appendages. LL-VNS continued for 3 hours. At the end of each hour, the high-frequency stimulation algorithm consisting of a 40-ms train of stimuli (200 Hz; stimulus duration, 0.1 to 1.0 ms) was delivered 2 ms after the atrial pacing stimulus during the refractory period at each PV and atrial appendages site. The lowest voltage of high-frequency stimulation that induced AF was defined as the AF threshold. Five dogs without LL-VNS served as sham controls. Six dogs underwent LL-VNS after transection of bilateral vagosympathetic trunks. LL-VNS induced a progressive increase in AF threshold at all PV and atrial appendages sites, particularly significant (P<0.05) at the right superior PV, right inferior PV, left superior PV, and right atrial appendage. Bilateral vagosympathetic transection did not significantly alter the previous findings, and the 5 sham control dogs did not show changes in AF threshold at any site over a period of 3 hours.

Conclusions— LL-VNS may prevent episodic AF caused by rapid PV and non-PV firing.

  Y Zhang , Z. B Popovic , S Bibevski , I Fakhry , D. A Sica , D. R Van Wagoner and T. N. Mazgalev
 

Background— Autonomic dysfunction, characterized by sympathetic activation and vagal withdrawal, contributes to the progression of heart failure (HF). Although the therapeutic benefits of sympathetic inhibition with β-blockers in HF are clear, the role of increased vagal tone in this setting has been less studied. We have investigated the impact of enhancing vagal tone (achieved through chronic cervical vagus nerve stimulation, [VNS]) on HF development in a canine high-rate ventricular pacing model.

Methods and Results— Fifteen dogs were randomized into control (n=7) and VNS (n=8) groups. All dogs underwent 8 weeks of high-rate ventricular pacing (at 220 bpm for the first 4 weeks to develop HF and another 4 weeks at 180 bpm to maintain HF). Concomitant VNS, at an intensity reducing sinus rate 20 bpm, was delivered together with the ventricular pacing in the VNS group. At 4 and 8 weeks of ventricular pacing, both left ventricular end-diastolic and -systolic volumes were lower and left ventricular ejection fraction was higher in the VNS group than in the control group. Heart rate variability and baroreflex sensitivity improved in the VNS dogs. Rises in plasma norepinephrine, angiotensin II, and C-reactive protein levels, ordinarily expected in this model, were markedly attenuated with VNS treatment.

Conclusions— Chronic VNS improves cardiac autonomic control and significantly attenuates HF development in the canine high-rate ventricular pacing model. The therapeutic benefit of VNS is associated with pronounced anti-inflammatory effects. VNS is a novel and potentially useful therapy for treating HF.

  J Defoiche , Y Zhang , L Lagneaux , R Pettengell , A Hegedus , L Willems and D. C. Macallan
 

Background: Most methods for estimation of rates of RNA production are not applicable in human in vivo clinical studies. We describe here an approach for measuring ribosomal RNA turnover in vivo using [6,6-2H2]-glucose as a precursor for de novo RNA synthesis. Because this method involves neither radioactivity nor toxic metabolites, it is suitable for human studies.

Methods: For method development in vitro, a lymphocyte cell line (PM1) was cultured in the presence of [6,6-2H2]-glucose. RNA was extracted, hydrolyzed enzymatically to ribonucleosides, and derivatized to either the aldonitrile tetra-acetate or the pentafluoro triacetate derivative of the pentose before GC-MS. We identified optimum derivatization and analysis conditions and demonstrated quantitative incorporation of deuterium from glucose into RNA of dividing cells.

Results: Pilot clinical studies demonstrated the applicability of this approach to blood leukocytes and solid tissues. A patient with chronic lymphocytic leukemia received [6,6-2H2]-glucose (1 g/kg) orally in aliquots administered every 30 min for a period of 10 h. When we analyzed CD3 B cells that had been purified by gradient centrifugation and magnetic-bead adhesion, we observed deuterium enrichment, a finding consistent with a ribosomal RNA production rate of about 7%/day, despite the slow division rates observed in concurrent DNA-labeling analysis. Similarly, in 2 patients with malignant infiltration of lymph nodes, administration of [6,6-2H2]-glucose (by intravenous infusion for 24 h) before excision biopsy allowed estimation of DNA and RNA turnover in lymph node samples.

Conclusions: Our study results demonstrate the proof-of-principle that deuterium-labeled glucose may be used to analyze RNA turnover, in addition to DNA production/cell proliferation, in clinical samples.

  Y Zhang , Y Jia , R Zheng , Y Guo , Y Wang , H Guo , M Fei and S. Sun
  BACKGROUND:

The liver is frequently subject to insult because of viral infection, alcohol abuse, or toxic chemical exposure. Extensive research has been conducted to identify blood markers that can better discern liver damage, but little progress has been achieved in clinical practice. Recently, circulating microRNAs (miRNAs) have been reported as potential biomarkers for the noninvasive diagnosis of cancer. In this study, we investigated whether plasma miRNAs have diagnostic utility in identifying liver disease.

METHODS:

The study was divided into 2 phases: marker selection by real-time quantitative PCR analysis of a small set of plasma samples, and marker validation with a large set of plasma samples from 83 patients with chronic hepatitis B viral infections, 15 patients with skeletal muscle disease, and 40 healthy controls. Two mouse model systems, d-galactosamine- and alcohol-induced liver injury, were also developed to evaluate whether differences in miRNA concentration were associated with various liver diseases.

RESULTS:

Among the miRNA candidates identified, miR-122 presented a disease severity–dependent change in plasma concentration in the patients and animal models. Compared with an increase in aminotransferase activity in the blood, the change in miR-122 concentration appeared earlier. Furthermore, this change was more specific for liver injury than for other organ damage and was more reliable, because the change was correlated with liver histologic stage.

CONCLUSIONS:

Our findings suggest that circulating miR-122 has potential as a novel, predictive, and reliable blood marker for viral-, alcohol-, and chemical-induced liver injury.

  C Zhang , C Wang , X Chen , C Yang , K Li , J Wang , J Dai , Z Hu , X Zhou , L Chen , Y Zhang , Y Li , H Qiu , J Xing , Z Liang , B Ren , K Zen and C. Y. Zhang
  BACKGROUND:

Sensitive and specific biomarkers for the early detection of esophageal squamous cell carcinoma (ESCC) are urgently needed to reduce the high morbidity and mortality of the disease. The discovery of serum microRNAs (miRNAs) and their unique concentration profiles in patients with various diseases makes them attractive, novel noninvasive biomarkers for tumor diagnosis. In this study, we investigated the serum miRNA profile in ESCC patients to develop a novel diagnostic ESCC biomarker.

METHODS:

Serum samples were taken from 290 ESCC patients and 140 age- and sex-matched controls. Solexa sequencing technology was used for an initial screen of miRNAs in serum samples from 141 patients and 40 controls. A hydrolysis probe–based stem–loop quantitative reverse-transcription PCR (RT-qPCR) assay was conducted in the training and verification phases to confirm the concentrations of selected miRNAs in serum samples from 149 patients and 100 controls.

RESULTS:

The Solexa sequencing results demonstrated marked upregulation of 25 serum miRNAs in ESCC patients compared with controls. RT-qPCR analysis identified a profile of 7 serum miRNAs (miR-10a, miR-22, miR-100, miR-148b, miR-223, miR-133a, and miR-127-3p) as ESCC biomarkers. The area under the ROC curve for the selected miRNAs ranged from 0.817 to 0.949, significantly higher than for carcinoembryonic antigen (0.549; P < 0.0005). More importantly, this panel of 7 miRNAs clearly distinguished stage I/II ESCC patients from controls.

CONCLUSIONS:

This panel of 7 serum miRNAs holds promise as a novel blood-based biomarker for the diagnosis of ESCC.

  F Abdullah , Y Zhang , M Camp , D Mukherjee , A Gabre Kidan , P. M Colombani and D. C. Chang
 

Necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC) is the most common gastrointestinal emergency of the neonate. Previous information about this disease has largely been gathered from limited series. We analyzed 13 years of the National Inpatient Sample (NIS) and 3 years of the Kids’ Inpatient Database (KID; 1997, 2000, 2003) to generate the most comprehensive profile of outcomes to date of medically versus surgically treated NEC. We identified 20 822 infants with NEC, of whom 15 419 (74.1%) and 5403 (25.9%) were undergoing medical and surgical management, respectively. Overall, surgical patients had greater length of stay, total hospital charges, and mortality. Among infants dying during admission, there was no significant difference in length of stay or charges between the medical and surgical groups. These findings highlight the need for developing a clinically relevant risk stratification tool to identify NEC patients at high risk for death.

  Z Chen , Y Zhang and A. Delis
 

Intrusion detection/prevention systems (IDSs/IPSs) heavily rely on signature databases and pattern matching (PM) techniques to identify network attacks. The engines of such systems often employ traditional PM algorithms to search for telltale patterns in network flows. The observations that real-world network traffic is largely legitimate and that telltales manifested by exploits rarely appear in network streams lead us to the proposal of Fingerprinter. This framework integrates fingerprinting and PM methods to rapidly distinguish well-behaved from malicious traffic. Fingerprinter produces concise digests or fingerprints for attack signatures during its programming phase. In its querying phase, the framework quickly identifies attack-free connections by transforming input traffic into its fingerprint space and matching its digest against those of attack signatures. If the legitimacy of a stream cannot be determined by fingerprints alone, our framework uses the Boyer–Moore algorithm to ascertain whether attack signatures appear in the stream. To reduce false matches, we resort to multiple fingerprinting techniques including Bloom–Filter and Rabin–Fingerprint. Experimentation with a prototype and a variety of traces has helped us establish that Fingerprinter significantly accelerates the attack detection process.

  Y Zhang , L Bao , S. H Yang , M Welling and D. Wu
 

In wireless sensor networks (WSNs), localization has many important applications, among which wireless sensor retrieval bears special importance for cost saving, data analysis and security purposes. Localization for sensor retrieval is especially challenging due to the fact that the number and locations of these sensors are both unknown. In this paper, we propose two probabilistic localization algorithms that iteratively identify the locations of multiple wireless sensors in WSNs, one of which calculates location information offline, and the other online. In both algorithms, we implement a two-step localization process — the first step is called Grid-LEGMM (grid location estimation based on the Gaussian mixture model), a coarse-grain location search using grids by choosing the proper number and locations of the wireless sensors that maximize a likelihood estimation, and the second step is called EM-LEGMM (expectation maximization based on the Gaussian mixture model), which uses the EM-method to refine the results of Grid-LEGMM. An additional step in the online localization algorithm is a credit-based filtering mechanism that removes spurious sensor locations. The performance of both offline and online localization algorithms are analyzed using the Cramer–Rao lower bound (CRLB), and evaluated using simulations and real testbed experiments.

  T Du , M. R Lewin , H Wang , X Ji , H. H Bohn , T Xu , L Xu , Y Zhang and Y. Li
  Objective

To investigate the circadian and seasonal patterns in the presentation of acute upper gastrointestinal bleeding (AUGIB) in Beijing, China.

Methods

Medical records of the Beijing Emergency Medical Service System (EMSS) for 1 August 2005 to 31 July 2007 were reviewed; all patients diagnosed with AUGIB were included in the study.

Results

2580 patients were recorded in the EMSS system with a diagnosis of AUGIB during the study period. 1888 (73%) were male and 692 (27%) were female. Mean age was 53±20 years for male patients and 63±21 years for female patients. Significant differences in the presentation of AUGIB were noticed between seasons (p<0.001) and months (p<0.001). The number of cases in cold months (from December to April) was significantly higher than that in warm months (June to September). There was a significant circadian rhythm; there were fewer cases during daytime hours compared with night-time hours (p<0.001).

Conclusions

The presentation of AUGIB in Beijing has a clear seasonal and circadian rhythm. Circadian and seasonal rhythms associated with AUGIB may aid in identifying modifiable risk factors in individuals and populations.

  D. L Gibbons , W Lin , C. J Creighton , Z. H Rizvi , P. A Gregory , G. J Goodall , N Thilaganathan , L Du , Y Zhang , A Pertsemlidis and J. M. Kurie
 

Metastatic disease is a primary cause of cancer-related death, and factors governing tumor cell metastasis have not been fully elucidated. Here, we address this question by using tumor cell lines derived from mice that develop metastatic lung adenocarcinoma owing to expression of mutant K-ras and p53. Despite having widespread somatic genetic alterations, the metastasis-prone tumor cells retained a marked plasticity. They transited reversibly between epithelial and mesenchymal states, forming highly polarized epithelial spheres in three-dimensional culture that underwent epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition (EMT) following treatment with transforming growth factor-β or injection into syngeneic mice. This transition was entirely dependent on the microRNA (miR)-200 family, which decreased during EMT. Forced expression of miR-200 abrogated the capacity of these tumor cells to undergo EMT, invade, and metastasize, and conferred transcriptional features of metastasis-incompetent tumor cells. We conclude that tumor cell metastasis is regulated by miR-200 expression, which changes in response to contextual extracellular cues.

  T Yamaguchi , F Cubizolles , Y Zhang , N Reichert , H Kohler , C Seiser and P. Matthias
 

Histone deacetylases (HDACs) regulate gene expression by deacetylating histones and also modulate the acetylation of a number of nonhistone proteins, thus impinging on various cellular processes. Here, we analyzed the major class I enzymes HDAC1 and HDAC2 in primary mouse fibroblasts and in the B-cell lineage. Fibroblasts lacking both enzymes fail to proliferate in culture and exhibit a strong cell cycle block in the G1 phase that is associated with up-regulation of the CDK inhibitors p21WAF1/CIP1 and p57Kip2 and of the corresponding mRNAs. This regulation is direct, as in wild-type cells HDAC1 and HDAC2 are bound to the promoter regions of the p21 and p57 genes. Furthermore, analysis of the transcriptome and of histone modifications in mutant cells demonstrated that HDAC1 and HDAC2 have only partly overlapping roles. Next, we eliminated HDAC1 and HDAC2 in the B cells of conditionally targeted mice. We found that B-cell development strictly requires the presence of at least one of these enzymes: When both enzymes are ablated, B-cell development is blocked at an early stage, and the rare remaining pre-B cells show a block in G1 accompanied by the induction of apoptosis. In contrast, elimination of HDAC1 and HDAC2 in mature resting B cells has no negative impact, unless these cells are induced to proliferate. These results indicate that HDAC1 and HDAC2, by normally repressing the expression of p21 and p57, regulate the G1-to-S-phase transition of the cell cycle.

  M Mohan , H. M Herz , Y. H Takahashi , C Lin , K. C Lai , Y Zhang , M. P Washburn , L Florens and A. Shilatifard
 

Epigenetic modifications of chromatin play an important role in the regulation of gene expression. KMT4/Dot1 is a conserved histone methyltransferase capable of methylating chromatin on Lys79 of histone H3 (H3K79). Here we report the identification of a multisubunit Dot1 complex (DotCom), which includes several of the mixed lineage leukemia (MLL) partners in leukemia such as ENL, AF9/MLLT3, AF17/MLLT6, and AF10/MLLT10, as well as the known Wnt pathway modifiers TRRAP, Skp1, and β-catenin. We demonstrated that the human DotCom is indeed capable of trimethylating H3K79 and, given the association of β-catenin, Skp1, and TRRAP, we investigated, and found, a role for Dot1 in Wnt/Wingless signaling in an in vivo model system. Knockdown of Dot1 in Drosophila results in decreased expression of a subset of Wingless target genes. Furthermore, the loss of expression for the Drosophila homologs of the Dot1-associated proteins involved in the regulation of H3K79 shows a similar reduction in expression of these Wingless targets. From yeast to human, specific trimethylation of H3K79 by Dot1 requires the monoubiquitination of histone H2B by the Rad6/Bre1 complex. Here, we demonstrate that depletion of Bre1, the E3 ligase required for H2B monoubiquitination, leads specifically to reduced bulk H3K79 trimethylation levels and a reduction in expression of many Wingless targets. Overall, our study describes for the first time the components of DotCom and links the specific regulation of H3K79 trimethylation by Dot1 and its associated factors to the Wnt/Wingless signaling pathway.

  Y Zhang , S Li , L Yuan , Y Tian , J Weidenfeld , J Yang , F Liu , A. L Chokas and E. E. Morrisey
 

Cardiomyocyte proliferation is high in early development and decreases progressively with gestation, resulting in the lack of a robust cardiomyocyte proliferative response in the adult heart after injury. Little is understood about how both cell-autonomous and nonautonomous signals are integrated to regulate the balance of cardiomyocyte proliferation during development. In this study, we show that a single transcription factor, Foxp1, can control the balance of cardiomyocyte proliferation during development by targeting different pathways in the endocardium and myocardium. Endocardial loss of Foxp1 results in decreased Fgf3/Fgf16/Fgf17/Fgf20 expression in the heart, leading to reduced cardiomyocyte proliferation. This loss of myocardial proliferation can be rescued by exogenous Fgf20, and is mediated, in part, by Foxp1 repression of Sox17. In contrast, myocardial-specific loss of Foxp1 results in increased cardiomyocyte proliferation and decreased differentiation, leading to increased myocardial mass and neonatal demise. We show that Nkx2.5 is a direct target of Foxp1 repression, and Nkx2.5 expression is increased in Foxp1-deficient myocardium. Moreover, transgenic overexpression of Nkx2.5 leads to increased cardiomyocyte proliferation and increased ventricular mass, similar to the myocardial-specific loss of Foxp1. These data show that Foxp1 coordinates the balance of cardiomyocyte proliferation and differentiation through cell lineage-specific regulation of Fgf ligand and Nkx2.5 expression.

  V. J Bailey , H Easwaran , Y Zhang , E Griffiths , S. A Belinsky , J. G Herman , S. B Baylin , H. E Carraway and T. H. Wang
 

DNA methylation contributes to carcinogenesis by silencing key tumor suppressor genes. Here we report an ultrasensitive and reliable nanotechnology assay, MS-qFRET, for detection and quantification of DNA methylation. Bisulfite-modified DNA is subjected to PCR amplification with primers that would differentiate between methylated and unmethylated DNA. Quantum dots are then used to capture PCR amplicons and determine the methylation status via fluorescence resonance energy transfer (FRET). Key features of MS-qFRET include its low intrinsic background noise, high resolution, and high sensitivity. This approach detects as little as 15 pg of methylated DNA in the presence of a 10,000-fold excess of unmethylated alleles, enables reduced use of PCR (as low as eight cycles), and allows for multiplexed analyses. The high sensitivity of MS-qFRET enables one-step detection of methylation at PYCARD, CDKN2B, and CDKN2A genes in patient sputum samples that contain low concentrations of methylated DNA, which normally would require a nested PCR approach. The direct application of MS-qFRET on clinical samples offers great promise for its translational use in early cancer diagnosis, prognostic assessment of tumor behavior, as well as monitoring response to therapeutic agents.

  J Xing , Y Zhang , K Han , A. H Salem , S. K Sen , C. D Huff , Q Zhou , E. F Kirkness , S Levy , M. A Batzer and L. B. Jorde
 

Structural variants (SVs) are common in the human genome. Because approximately half of the human genome consists of repetitive, transposable DNA sequences, it is plausible that these elements play an important role in generating SVs in humans. Sequencing of the diploid genome of one individual human (HuRef) affords us the opportunity to assess, for the first time, the impact of mobile elements on SVs in an individual in a thorough and unbiased fashion. In this study, we systematically evaluated more than 8000 SVs to identify mobile element-associated SVs as small as 100 bp and specific to the HuRef genome. Combining computational and experimental analyses, we identified and validated 706 mobile element insertion events (including Alu, L1, SVA elements, and nonclassical insertions), which added more than 305 kb of new DNA sequence to the HuRef genome compared with the Human Genome Project (HGP) reference sequence (hg18). We also identified 140 mobile element-associated deletions, which removed ~126 kb of sequence from the HuRef genome. Overall, ~10% of the HuRef-specific indels larger than 100 bp are caused by mobile element-associated events. More than one-third of the insertion/deletion events occurred in genic regions, and new Alu insertions occurred in exons of three human genes. Based on the number of insertions and the estimated time to the most recent common ancestor of HuRef and the HGP reference genome, we estimated the Alu, L1, and SVA retrotransposition rates to be one in 21 births, 212 births, and 916 births, respectively. This study presents the first comprehensive analysis of mobile element-related structural variants in the complete DNA sequence of an individual and demonstrates that mobile elements play an important role in generating inter-individual structural variation.

  Y Cheng , W Wu , S Ashok Kumar , D Yu , W Deng , T Tripic , D. C King , K. B Chen , Y Zhang , D Drautz , B Giardine , S. C Schuster , W Miller , F Chiaromonte , G. A Blobel , M. J Weiss and R. C. Hardison
 

The transcription factor GATA1 regulates an extensive program of gene activation and repression during erythroid development. However, the associated mechanisms, including the contributions of distal versus proximal cis-regulatory modules, co-occupancy with other transcription factors, and the effects of histone modifications, are poorly understood. We studied these problems genome-wide in a Gata1 knockout erythroblast cell line that undergoes GATA1-dependent terminal maturation, identifying 2616 GATA1-responsive genes and 15,360 GATA1-occupied DNA segments after restoration of GATA1. Virtually all occupied DNA segments have high levels of H3K4 monomethylation and low levels of H3K27me3 around the canonical GATA binding motif, regardless of whether the nearby gene is induced or repressed. Induced genes tend to be bound by GATA1 close to the transcription start site (most frequently in the first intron), have multiple GATA1-occupied segments that are also bound by TAL1, and show evolutionary constraint on the GATA1-binding site motif. In contrast, repressed genes are further away from GATA1-occupied segments, and a subset shows reduced TAL1 occupancy and increased H3K27me3 at the transcription start site. Our data expand the repertoire of GATA1 action in erythropoiesis by defining a new cohort of target genes and determining the spatial distribution of cis-regulatory modules throughout the genome. In addition, we begin to establish functional criteria and mechanisms that distinguish GATA1 activation from repression at specific target genes. More broadly, these studies illustrate how a "master regulator" transcription factor coordinates tissue differentiation through a panoply of DNA and protein interactions.

  A. R Quinlan , R. A Clark , S Sokolova , M. L Leibowitz , Y Zhang , M. E Hurles , J. C Mell and I. M. Hall
 

Structural variation (SV) is a rich source of genetic diversity in mammals, but due to the challenges associated with mapping SV in complex genomes, basic questions regarding their genomic distribution and mechanistic origins remain unanswered. We have developed an algorithm (HYDRA) to localize SV breakpoints by paired-end mapping, and a general approach for the genome-wide assembly and interpretation of breakpoint sequences. We applied these methods to two inbred mouse strains: C57BL/6J and DBA/2J. We demonstrate that HYDRA accurately maps diverse classes of SV, including those involving repetitive elements such as transposons and segmental duplications; however, our analysis of the C57BL/6J reference strain shows that incomplete reference genome assemblies are a major source of noise. We report 7196 SVs between the two strains, more than two-thirds of which are due to transposon insertions. Of the remainder, 59% are deletions (relative to the reference), 26% are insertions of unlinked DNA, 9% are tandem duplications, and 6% are inversions. To investigate the origins of SV, we characterized 3316 breakpoint sequences at single-nucleotide resolution. We find that ~16% of non-transposon SVs have complex breakpoint patterns consistent with template switching during DNA replication or repair, and that this process appears to preferentially generate certain classes of complex variants. Moreover, we find that SVs are significantly enriched in regions of segmental duplication, but that this effect is largely independent of DNA sequence homology and thus cannot be explained by non-allelic homologous recombination (NAHR) alone. This result suggests that the genetic instability of such regions is often the cause rather than the consequence of duplicated genomic architecture.

  G Zhang , G Guo , X Hu , Y Zhang , Q Li , R Li , R Zhuang , Z Lu , Z He , X Fang , L Chen , W Tian , Y Tao , K Kristiansen , X Zhang , S Li , H Yang , J Wang and J. Wang
 

Understanding the dynamics of eukaryotic transcriptome is essential for studying the complexity of transcriptional regulation and its impact on phenotype. However, comprehensive studies of transcriptomes at single base resolution are rare, even for modern organisms, and lacking for rice. Here, we present the first transcriptome atlas for eight organs of cultivated rice. Using high-throughput paired-end RNA-seq, we unambiguously detected transcripts expressing at an extremely low level, as well as a substantial number of novel transcripts, exons, and untranslated regions. An analysis of alternative splicing in the rice transcriptome revealed that alternative cis-splicing occurred in ~33% of all rice genes. This is far more than previously reported. In addition, we also identified 234 putative chimeric transcripts that seem to be produced by trans-splicing, indicating that transcript fusion events are more common than expected. In-depth analysis revealed a multitude of fusion transcripts that might be by-products of alternative splicing. Validation and chimeric transcript structural analysis provided evidence that some of these transcripts are likely to be functional in the cell. Taken together, our data provide extensive evidence that transcriptional regulation in rice is vastly more complex than previously believed.

  Y Zhang and H. Li
  Objectives

To analyze the clinical and pathological characteristics of adrenal primitive neuroectodermal tumors for a better understanding of the disease.

Methods

A retrospective analysis of four cases of adrenal primitive neuroectodermal tumors (two male, two female; age 21–30, average 24) was made. All patients went through necessary endocrinological exams, computer tomography scans (for site-specific diagnoses) and pathological tests.

Results

No positive result was reported in routine laboratory tests and endocrinological exams. Computer tomography scans showed bulk soft tissue masses with rough borders. The masses were 8–17 cm in diameter with solid–cystic changes. Among the four patients, one refused to receive treatment after definitiver diagnosis through needle biopsy, three received surgical treatments and their post-operative pathological exams all confirmed the diagnoses of primitive neuroectodermal tumors. During the follow-ups, the untreated patient died 6 months afterwards, one patient died 8 months after palliative treatment; one patient showed distant metastasis 13 months after surgery and did not respond well to both radio- and chemotherapy; one patient had local recurrence 1 month after surgery and is presently undergoing chemotherapy.

Conclusions

Adrenal primitive neuroectodermal tumor is a very rare tumor. It originates in primitive neuroectoderma and is found mainly in 20–30-year-old young populations. It has non-specific clinical or imaging manifestation and its diagnosis is mostly based on pathological examinations. The tumor is fast-developing, highly malignant with poor prognosis.

  J Fu , X Chen , Y Zhang , H Gu and Y. Bai
  Objective

To investigate the possible role of CD147 and vascular endothelial growth factor in progression and prognosis of acute myeloid leukemia.

Methods

Immunohistochemical staining was performed to detect the expression of CD147 and vascular endothelial growth factor in paraffin-embedded sections from 62 bone marrow biopsies obtained from an equal number of patients with newly diagnosed acute myeloid leukemia.

Results

CD147 and vascular endothelial growth factor expression in the bone marrow of acute myeloid leukemia patients were significantly higher than those in normal controls (both P < 0.001). Expression of them was significantly increased in patients with a high degree of microvessel density compared with those with a low degree (CD147: P = 0.009; vascular endothelial growth factor: P = 0.01) and correlated well with bone marrow microvessel density (CD147: P = 0.01; vascular endothelial growth factor: P = 0.02). In addition, higher levels of CD147 and vascular endothelial growth factor were also found in acute myeloid leukemia patients with an unfavorable karyotype compared with those with intermediate and favorable karyotypes (both P = 0.01). Moreover, the expression of CD147 was significantly correlated with that of vascular endothelial growth factor (P < 0.001). Furthermore, the co-expression of CD147 and vascular endothelial growth factor in the bone marrow indicated a poor prognosis in acute myeloid leukemia and was an independent prognostic factor for overall survival by multivariate analysis.

Conclusions

Our data show for the first time that the co-expression of CD147 and vascular endothelial growth factor may indicate a poor prognosis in acute myeloid leukemia and may be a highly sensitive marker for predicting the clinical outcome of patients.

  Y Zhang , X Li , J Qi , J Wang , X Liu , H Zhang , S. C Lin and A. Meng
 

The Rho-associated serine/threonine kinases Rock1 and Rock2 play important roles in cell contraction, adhesion, migration, proliferation and apoptosis. Here we report that Rock2 acts as a negative regulator of the TGFβ signaling pathway. Mechanistically, Rock2 binds to and accelerates the lysosomal degradation of TGFβ type I receptors internalized from the cell surface in mammalian cells. The inhibitory effect of Rock2 on TGFβ signaling requires its kinase activity. In zebrafish embryos, injection of rock2a mRNA attenuates the expression of mesodermal markers during late blastulation and blocks the induction of mesoderm by ectopic Nodal signals. By contrast, overexpression of a dominant negative form of zebrafish rock2a, dnrock2a, has an opposite effect on mesoderm induction, suggesting that Rock2 proteins are endogenous inhibitors for mesoderm induction. Thus, our data have unraveled previously unidentified functions of Rock2, in controlling TGFβ signaling as well as in regulating embryonic patterning.

  F Abdullah , Y Zhang , T Lardaro , M Black , P. M Colombani , K Chrouser , P. J Pronovost and D. C. Chang
  Background

The number of uninsured children in the USA is increasing while the impact on children's health of being uninsured remains largely uncharacterized. We analyzed data from more than 23 million US children to evaluate the effect of insurance status on the outcome of US pediatric hospitalization.

Methods

In our analysis of two well-known large inpatient databases, we classified patients less than 18 years old as uninsured (self-pay) or insured (including Medicaid or private insurance). We adjusted for gender, race, age, geographic region, hospital type, admission source using regression models. In-hospital death was the primary outcome and secondary outcomes were hospital length of stay and total hospital charges adjusted to 2007 dollars.

Results

The crude in-hospital mortality was 0.75% for uninsured versus 0.47% for insured children, with adjusted mortality rates of 0.74 and 0.46%, respectively. On multivariate analysis, uninsured compared with insured patients had an increased mortality risk (odds ratio: 1.60, 95% CI: 1.45–1.76). The excess mortality in uninsured children in the US was 37.8%, or 16 787, of the 38 649 deaths over the 18 period of the study.

Conclusion

Children who were hospitalized without insurance have significantly increased all-cause in-hospital mortality as compared with children who present with insurance.

  N. M Teplyuk , Y Zhang , Y Lou , J. R Hawse , M. Q Hassan , V. I Teplyuk , J Pratap , M Galindo , J. L Stein , G. S Stein , J. B Lian and A. J. van Wijnen
 

Steroid hormones including (1,25)-dihydroxyvitamin D3, estrogens, and glucocorticoids control bone development and homeostasis. We show here that the osteogenic transcription factor Runx2 controls genes involved in sterol/steroid metabolism, including Cyp11a1, Cyp39a1, Cyp51, Lss, and Dhcr7 in murine osteoprogenitor cells. Cyp11a1 (P450scc) encodes an approximately 55-kDa mitochondrial enzyme that catalyzes side-chain cleavage of cholesterol and is rate limiting for steroid hormone biosynthesis. Runx2 is coexpressed with Cyp11a1 in osteoblasts as well as nonosseous cell types (e.g. testis and breast cancer cells), suggesting a broad biological role for Runx2 in sterol/steroid metabolism. Notably, osteoblasts and breast cancer cells express an approximately 32-kDa truncated isoform of Cyp11a1 that is nonmitochondrial and localized in both the cytoplasm and the nucleus. Chromatin immunoprecipitation analyses and gel shift assays show that Runx2 binds to the Cyp11a1 gene promoter in osteoblasts, indicating that Cyp11a1 is a direct target of Runx2. Specific Cyp11a1 knockdown with short hairpin RNA increases cell proliferation, indicating that Cyp11a1 normally suppresses osteoblast proliferation. We conclude that Runx2 regulates enzymes involved in sterol/steroid-related metabolic pathways and that activation of Cyp11a1 by Runx2 may contribute to attenuation of osteoblast growth.

  X. j Cai , L Chen , L Li , M Feng , X Li , K Zhang , Y. y Rong , X. b Hu , M. x Zhang , Y Zhang and M. Zhang
 

Adiponectin is an important antiatherogenic adipocytokine that inhibits inflammation, insulin resistance, and oxide stress. Inflammation in the vascular adventitia is a crucial factor in the pathogenesis of atherosclerosis. Adventitial fibroblasts (AFs) can proliferate, divide into myofibroblasts, and migrate to the intima to become a new component of atherosclerotic plaque under inflammation and atherosclerosis. We investigated whether adiponectin might prevent AFs from proliferating, migrating, and transforming into myofibroblasts. Cultured AFs were stimulated with lipopolysaccharide (LPS) in the presence or absence of adiponectin. Methyl thiazolyl tetrazolium assay and migration and scratch-wound assays demonstrated that adiponectin reduced the AF proliferation and migration induced by LPS, respectively, whereas treatment with AdipoR1 small interfering (si) RNA (siAdipoR1), AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) siRNA (siAMPK), and an AMPK inhibitor reversed the effect. Immunocytochemistry and Western blot revealed that adiponectin reduced the transition of AFs to myofibroblasts, and treatment with siAdipoR1, siAMPK, and the AMPK inhibitor increased the transition. RT-PCR, Western blotting, and nitric oxide (NO) assay showed that adiponectin reduces induced NO synthase (iNOS) and nitrotyrosine expression and NO and ONOO production induced by LPS. Treatment with siAdipoR1, siAMPK, and the AMPK inhibitor significantly attenuated adiponectin-induced phosphorylation of AMPK and its downstream target acetyl-coenzyme A carboxylase and up-regulated iNOS mRNA and protein expression, which resulted in a marked increase of NO and ONOO production. In apolipoprotein E-deficient mice, immunohistochemistry of treated vascular adventitia showed that both iNOS expression and ONOO production could be reversed with an adenovirus-adiponectin vector. Taken together, these results suggest that adiponectin reduces LPS-induced NO production and nitrosative stress and prevents AFs from proliferating, transforming to myoflbroblasts, and migrating to the intima, thus worsening atherosclerosis, by inhibiting the AdipoR1-AMPK-iNOS pathway in AFs.

  Y Gan , Y Zhang , D. J DiGirolamo , J Jiang , X Wang , X Cao , K. R Zinn , D. P Carbone , T. L Clemens and S. J. Frank
 

GH promotes longitudinal growth and regulates multiple cellular functions in humans and animals. GH signals by binding to GH receptor (GHR) to activate the tyrosine kinase, Janus kinase 2 (JAK2), and downstream pathways including signal transducer and activator of transcription 5 (STAT5), thereby regulating expression of genes including IGF-I. GH exerts effects both directly and via IGF-I, which signals by activating the IGF-I receptor (IGF-IR). IGF-IR is a cell surface receptor that contains intrinsic tyrosine kinase activity within its intracellular domain. In this study, we examined the potential role of IGF-IR in facilitating GH-induced signal transduction, using mouse primary calvarial osteoblasts with Lox-P sites flanking both IGF-IR alleles. These cells respond to both GH and IGF-I and in vitro infection with an adenovirus that drives expression of Cre recombinase (Ad-Cre) dramatically reduces IGF-IR abundance without affecting the abundance of GHR, JAK2, STAT5, or ERK. Notably, infection with Ad-Cre, but not a control adenovirus, markedly inhibited acute GH-induced STAT5 activity (more than doubling the ED50 and reducing the maximum activity by nearly 50%), while sparing GH-induced ERK activity, and markedly inhibited GH-induced transactivation of a STAT5-dependent luciferase reporter. The effect of Ad-Cre on GH signaling was specific, as platelet-derived growth factor-induced signaling was unaffected by Ad-Cre-mediated reduction of IGF-IR. Ad-Cre-mediated inhibition of GH signaling was reversed by adenoviral reexpression of IGF-IR, but not by infection with an adenovirus that drives expression of a hemagglutination-tagged somatostatin receptor, which drives expression of the unrelated somatostatin receptor, and Ad-Cre infection of nonfloxed osteoblasts did not affect GH signaling. Notably, infection with an adenovirus encoding a C-terminally truncated IGF-IR that lacks the tyrosine kinase domain partially rescued both acute GH-induced STAT5 activity and GH-induced IGF-I gene expression in cells in which endogenous IGF-IR was reduced. These data, in concert with our earlier findings that GH induces a GHR-JAK2-IGF-IR complex, suggest a novel function for IGF-IR. In addition to its role as a key IGF-I signal transducer, this receptor may directly facilitate acute GH signaling. The implications of these findings are discussed.

  F. Y Lee , T. Q de Aguiar Vallim , H. K Chong , Y Zhang , Y Liu , S. A Jones , T. F Osborne and P. A. Edwards
 

The nuclear receptor, farnesoid X receptor (FXR, NR1H4), is known to regulate cholesterol, bile acid, lipoprotein, and glucose metabolism. In the current study, we provide evidence to support a role for FXR in hepatoprotection from acetaminophen (APAP)-induced toxicity. Pharmacological activation of FXR induces the expression of several genes involved in phase II and phase III xenobiotic metabolism in wild-type, but not Fxr–/– mice. We used chromatin immunoprecipitation-based genome-wide response element analyses coupled with luciferase reporter assays to identify functional FXR response elements within promoters, introns, or intragenic regions of these genes. Consistent with the observed transcriptional changes, FXR gene dosage is positively correlated with the degree of protection from APAP-induced hepatotoxicity in vivo. Further, we demonstrate that pretreatment of wild-type mice with an FXR-specific agonist provides significant protection from APAP-induced hepatotoxicity. Based on these findings, we propose that FXR plays a role in hepatic xenobiotic metabolism and, when activated, provides hepatoprotection against toxins such as APAP.

  C Albenne , H Canut , G Boudart , Y Zhang , H San Clemente , R Pont Lezica and E. Jamet
 

Proteomics allows the large-scale study of protein expression either in whole organisms or in purified organelles. In particular, mass spectrometry (MS) analysis of gel-separated proteins produces data not only for protein identification, but for protein structure, location, and processing as well. An in-depth analysis was performed on MS data from etiolated hypocotyl cell wall proteomics of Arabidopsis thaliana. These analyses show that highly homologous members of multigene families can be differentiated. Two lectins presenting 93% amino acid identity were identified using peptide mass fingerprinting. Although the identification of structural proteins such as extensins or hydroxyproline/proline-rich proteins (H/PRPs) is arduous, different types of MS spectra were exploited to identify and characterize an H/PRP. Maturation events in a couple of cell wall proteins (CWPs) were analyzed using site mapping. N-glycosylation of CWPs as well as the hydroxylation or oxidation of amino acids were also explored, adding information to improve our understanding of CWP structure/function relationships. A bioinformatic tool was developed to locate by means of MS the N-terminus of mature secreted proteins and N-glycosylation.

  A Ahmad , Y Zhang and X. F. Cao
 

Epigenetics refers to the study of heritable changes in gene expression or cellular phenotype without changes in DNA sequence. Epigenetic regulation of gene expression is accomplished by DNA methylation, histone modifications, histone variants, chromatin remodeling, and may involve small RNAs. DNA methylation at cytosine is carried out by enzymes called DNA Methyltransferases and is involved in many cellular processes, such as silencing of transposable elements and pericentromeric repeats, X-chromosome inactivation and genomic imprinting, etc. Histone modifications refer to posttranslational covalent attachment of chemical groups onto histones such as phosphorylation, acetylation, and methylation, etc. Histone variants, the non-canonical histones with amino acid sequences divergent from canonical histones, can have different epigenetic impacts on the genome from canonical histones. Higher-order chromatin structures maintained or modified by chromatin remodeling proteins also play important roles in regulating gene expression. Small non-coding RNAs play various roles in the regulation of gene expression at pre- as well as posttranscriptional levels. A special issue of Molecular Plant on ‘Epigenetics and Plant Development’ (Volume 4, Number 2, 2009) published a variety of articles covering many aspects of epigenetic regulation of plant development. We have tried here to present a bird's-eye view of these credible efforts towards understanding the mysterious world of epigenetics. The majority of the articles are about the chromatin modifying proteins, including histone modifiers, histone variants, and chromatin remodeling proteins that regulate various developmental processes, such as flowering time, vernalization, stem cell maintenance, and response to hormonal and environmental stresses, etc. Regulation of expression of seed transcriptome, involvement of direct tandem repeat elements in the PHE1 imprinting in addition to PcG proteins activity, paramutation, and epigenetic barriers in species hybridization are described well. The last two papers are about the Pol V-mediated heterochromatin formation independent of the 24nt-siRNA and the effect of genome position and tissue type on epigenetic regulation of gene expression. These findings not only further our current understanding of epigenetic mechanisms involved in many biological phenomena, but also pave the path for the future work, by raising many new questions that are discussed in the following lines.

  G. S Song , H. L Zhai , Y. G Peng , L Zhang , G Wei , X. Y Chen , Y. G Xiao , L Wang , Y. J Chen , B Wu , B Chen , Y Zhang , H Chen , X. J Feng , W. K Gong , Y Liu , Z. J Yin , F Wang , G. Z Liu , H. L Xu , X. L Wei , X. L Zhao , P. B. F Ouwerkerk , T Hankemeier , T Reijmers , R. v. d Heijden , C. M Lu , M Wang , J. v. d Greef and Z. Zhu
 

Heterosis is a biological phenomenon whereby the offspring from two parents show improved and superior performance than either inbred parental lines. Hybrid rice is one of the most successful apotheoses in crops utilizing heterosis. Transcriptional profiling of F1 super-hybrid rice Liangyou-2186 and its parents by serial analysis of gene expression (SAGE) revealed 1183 differentially expressed genes (DGs), among which DGs were found significantly enriched in pathways such as photosynthesis and carbon-fixation, and most of the key genes involved in the carbon-fixation pathway exhibited up-regulated expression in F1 hybrid rice. Moreover, increased catabolic activity of corresponding enzymes and photosynthetic efficiency were also detected, which combined to indicate that carbon fixation is enhanced in F1 hybrid, and might probably be associated with the yield vigor and heterosis in super-hybrid rice. By correlating DGs with yield-related quantitative trait loci (QTL), a potential relationship between differential gene expression and phenotypic changes was also found. In addition, a regulatory network involving circadian-rhythms and light signaling pathways was also found, as previously reported in Arabidopsis, which suggest that such a network might also be related with heterosis in hybrid rice. Altogether, the present study provides another view for understanding the molecular mechanism underlying heterosis in rice.

  D. J Kelly , A. J Edgley , Y Zhang , K Thai , S. M Tan , A. J Cox , A Advani , K. A Connelly , C. I Whiteside and R. E. Gilbert
 

Background. Activation of protein kinase C (PKC) has been implicated in the pathogenesis of diabetic nephropathy where therapy targeting the β isoform of this enzyme is in advanced clinical development. However, PKC-β is also increased in various forms of human glomerulonephritis with several potentially nephrotoxic factors, other than high glucose, resulting in PKC-β activation. Accordingly, we sought to examine the effects of PKC-β inhibition in a non-diabetic model of progressive kidney disease.

Methods. Subtotally nephrectomized (STNx) rats were randomly assigned to receive either the selective PKC-β inhibitor, ruboxistaurin or vehicle. In addition to functional and structural parameters, gene expression of the podocyte slit-pore diaphragm protein, nephrin, was also assessed.

Results. STNx animals developed hypertension, proteinuria and reduced glomerular filtration rate (GFR) in association with marked glomerulosclerosis and tubulointerstitial fibrosis. Glomerular nephrin expression was also reduced. Without affecting blood pressure, ruboxistaurin treatment attenuated the impairment in GFR and reduced the extent of both glomerulosclerosis and tubulointerstitial fibrosis in STNx rats. In contrast, neither proteinuria nor the reduction in nephrin expression was improved by ruboxistaurin.

Conclusions. These findings indicate firstly that PKC-β inhibition may provide a new therapeutic strategy in non-diabetic kidney disease and secondly that improvement in GFR is not inextricably linked to reduction in proteinuria.

  A. Y. M Wang , C. W. K Lam , M Wang , I. H. S Chan , S. F Lui , Y Zhang and J. E. Sanderson
 

Background. N-terminal-pro-brain natriuretic peptide, cardiac troponin T (cTnT) and high sensitivity C-reactive protein (hs-CRP) have been shown to predict mortality and cardiovascular outcomes in end-stage renal disease patients. However, it is not known which biomarkers have the strongest diagnostic potential for left ventricular (LV) abnormalities in chronic peritoneal dialysis (PD) patients, nor whether residual renal function may confound the diagnostic potential of these biomarkers.

Methods. Two hundred and thirty chronic PD patients underwent two-dimensional echocardiography to determine LV hypertrophy and ejection fraction and had simultaneous measurement of serum NT-pro-BNP, cTnT and hs-CRP.

Results. A significant gain in predictive power was observed when NT-pro-BNP or cTnT but not hs-CRP was included in the multivariable logistic regression models for severe LV hypertrophy (defined as LV mass index ≥ upper tertile, 247.8 g/m2) and systolic dysfunction (defined as ejection fraction ≤45%). Using ROC curve analysis, NT-pro-BNP had the highest diagnostic value for severe LV hypertrophy and systolic dysfunction compared to cTnT and hs-CRP, irrespective of residual renal function. An analysis based on the best cut-off threshold showed that NT-pro-BNP and cTnT had a negative predictive value of 87.1% and 92.6% for severe LV hypertrophy and 95.4% and 93.2% for systolic dysfunction, respectively. Furthermore, the best cut-off threshold of NT-pro-BNP and cTnT for excluding severe LV hypertrophy and systolic dysfunction was nearly 3-fold higher in anuric patients than in patients with residual renal function.

Conclusions. Serum NT-pro-BNP appeared most useful in excluding systolic dysfunction in chronic PD patients followed by cTnT. hs-CRP was not useful in this regard. Residual renal function confounded the interpretation of these biomarkers and reduced their predictive power. A nearly 30% higher cut-off threshold of NT-pro-BNP and cTnT had to be applied in anuric PD patients.

  Y Zhang , E. M Smith , T. M Baye , J. V Eckert , L. J Abraham , E. K Moses , A. H Kissebah , L. J Martin and M. Olivier
 

Neurotransmitters such as serotonin (5-hydroxytryptamine, 5-HT) work closely with leptin and insulin to fine-tune the metabolic and neuroendocrine responses to dietary intake. Losing the sensitivity to excess food intake can lead to obesity, diabetes, and a multitude of behavioral disorders. It is largely unclear how different serotonin receptor subtypes respond to and integrate metabolic signals and which genetic variations in these receptor genes lead to individual differences in susceptibility to metabolic disorders. In an obese cohort of families of Northern European descent (n = 2,209), the serotonin type 5A receptor gene, HTR5A, was identified as a prominent factor affecting plasma levels of triglycerides (TG), supported by our data from both genome-wide linkage and targeted association analyses using 28 publicly available and 12 newly discovered single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs), of which 3 were strongly associated with plasma TG levels (P < 0.00125). Bayesian quantitative trait nucleotide (BQTN) analysis identified a putative causal promoter SNP (rs3734967) with substantial posterior probability (P = 0.59). Functional analysis of rs3734967 by electrophoretic mobility shift assay (EMSA) showed distinct binding patterns of the two alleles of this SNP with nuclear proteins from glioma cell lines. In conclusion, sequence variants in HTR5A are strongly associated with high plasma levels of TG in a Northern European population, suggesting a novel role of the serotonin receptor system in humans. This suggests a potential brain-specific regulation of plasma TG levels, possibly by alteration of the expression of HTR5A.

  Y Zhang , S Banerjee , R Yang , C Lungu and G. Ramachandran
 

Mathematical modeling is being increasingly used as a means for assessing occupational exposures. However, predicting exposure in real settings is constrained by lack of quantitative knowledge of exposure determinants. Validation of models in occupational settings is, therefore, a challenge. Not only do the model parameters need to be known, the models also need to predict the output with some degree of accuracy. In this paper, a Bayesian statistical framework is used for estimating model parameters and exposure concentrations for a two-zone model. The model predicts concentrations in a zone near the source and far away from the source as functions of the toluene generation rate, air ventilation rate through the chamber, and the airflow between near and far fields. The framework combines prior or expert information on the physical model along with the observed data. The framework is applied to simulated data as well as data obtained from the experiments conducted in a chamber. Toluene vapors are generated from a source under different conditions of airflow direction, the presence of a mannequin, and simulated body heat of the mannequin. The Bayesian framework accounts for uncertainty in measurement as well as in the unknown rate of airflow between the near and far fields. The results show that estimates of the interzonal airflow are always close to the estimated equilibrium solutions, which implies that the method works efficiently. The predictions of near-field concentration for both the simulated and real data show nice concordance with the true values, indicating that the two-zone model assumptions agree with the reality to a large extent and the model is suitable for predicting the contaminant concentration. Comparison of the estimated model and its margin of error with the experimental data thus enables validation of the physical model assumptions. The approach illustrates how exposure models and information on model parameters together with the knowledge of uncertainty and variability in these quantities can be used to not only provide better estimates of model outputs but also model parameters.

  J. P DiNitto , G. D Deshmukh , Y Zhang , S. L Jacques , R Coli , J. W Worrall , W Diehl , J. M English and J. C. Wu
 

The activation of receptor tyrosine kinases (RTKs) is tightly regulated through a variety of mechanisms. Kinetic studies show that activation of c-Kit RTK occurs through an inter-molecular autophosphorylation. Phosphopeptide mapping of c-Kit reveals that 14–22 phosphates are added to each mol of wild-type (WT) c-Kit during the activation. Phosphorylation sites are found on the JM, kinase insert (KID), c-terminal domains and the activation loop (A-loop), but only the sites on the JM domain contribute to the kinase activation. The A-loop tyrosine (Y823) is not phosphorylated until very late in the activation (>90% completion), indicating that the A-loop phosphorylation is not required for c-Kit activation. A sunitinib-resistant mutant D816H that accelerates auto-activation by 184-fold shows no phosphorylation on the A-loop tyrosine after full activation. A loss-of-phosphorylation mutation Y823F remains fully competent in auto-activation. Similar to WT and D816H, the unactivated Y823F mutant binds sunitinib and imatinib with high affinity (KD = 5.9 nM). But unlike the WT and D816H where the activated enzymes lose the ability to bind the two drugs, activated Y823F binds the two inhibitors effectively. These observations suggest that the A-loop of activated Y823F remains flexible and can readily adopt unactivated conformations to accommodate DFG-out binders.

  Z Zhang , X Xu , Y Zhang , J Zhou , Z Yu and C. He
 

LINGO-1 is a component of the tripartite receptor complexes, which act as a convergent mediator of the intracellular signaling in response to myelin-associated inhibitors and lead to collapse of growth cone and inhibition of neurite extension. Although the function of LINGO-1 has been intensively studied, its downstream signaling remains elusive. In the present study, a novel interaction between LINGO-1 and a serine-threonine kinase WNK1 was identified by yeast two-hybrid screen. The interaction was further validated by fluorescence resonance energy transfer and co-immunoprecipitation, and this interaction was intensified by Nogo66 treatment. Morphological evidences showed that WNK1 and LINGO-1 were co-localized in cortical neurons. Furthermore, either suppressing WNK1 expression by RNA interference or overexpression of WNK1-(123–510) attenuated Nogo66-induced inhibition of neurite extension and inhibited the activation of RhoA. Moreover, WNK1 was identified to interact with Rho-GDI1, and this interaction was attenuated by Nogo66 treatment, further indicating its regulatory effect on RhoA activation. Taken together, our results suggest that WNK1 is a novel signaling molecule involved in regulation of LINGO-1 mediated inhibition of neurite extension.

  D Grandy , J Shan , X Zhang , S Rao , S Akunuru , H Li , Y Zhang , I Alpatov , X. A Zhang , R. A Lang , D. L Shi and J. J. Zheng
 

Dishevelled (Dvl) is an essential protein in the Wnt signaling pathways; it uses its PDZ domain to transduce the Wnt signals from the membrane receptor Frizzled to downstream components. Here, we report identifying a drug-like small molecule compound through structure-based ligand screening and NMR spectroscopy and show the compound to interact at low micromolar affinity with the PDZ domain of Dvl. In a Xenopus testing system, the compound could permeate the cell membrane and block the Wnt signaling pathways. In addition, the compound inhibited Wnt signaling and reduced the levels of apoptosis in the hyaloid vessels of eye. Moreover, this compound also suppressed the growth of prostate cancer PC-3 cells. These biological effects suggest that by blocking the PDZ domain of Dvl, the compound identified in our studies effectively inhibits the Wnt signaling and thus provides a useful tool for studies dissecting the Wnt signaling pathways.

  I Plo , Y Zhang , J. P Le Couedic , M Nakatake , J. M Boulet , M Itaya , S. O Smith , N Debili , S. N Constantinescu , W Vainchenker , F Louache and S. de Botton
 

We identify an autosomal mutation in the CSF3R gene in a family with a chronic neutrophilia. This T617N mutation energetically favors dimerization of the granulocyte colony-stimulating factor (G-CSF) receptor transmembrane domain, and thus, strongly promotes constitutive activation of the receptor and hypersensitivity to G-CSF for proliferation and differentiation, which ultimately leads to chronic neutrophilia. Mutant hematopoietic stem cells yield a myeloproliferative-like disorder in xenotransplantation and syngenic mouse bone marrow engraftment assays. The survey of 12 affected individuals during three generations indicates that only one patient had a myelodysplastic syndrome. Our data thus indicate that mutations in the CSF3R gene can be responsible for hereditary neutrophilia mimicking a myeloproliferative disorder.

  R. A Irani , Y Zhang , S. C Blackwell , C. C Zhou , S. M Ramin , R. E Kellems and Y. Xia
 

Growth-restricted fetuses are at risk for a variety of lifelong medical conditions. Preeclampsia, a life-threatening hypertensive disorder of pregnancy, is associated with fetuses who suffer from intrauterine growth restriction (IUGR). Recently, emerging evidence indicates that preeclamptic women harbor AT1 receptor agonistic autoantibodies (AT1-AAs) that contribute to the disease features. However, the exact role of AT1-AAs in IUGR and the underlying mechanisms have not been identified. We report that these autoantibodies are present in the cord blood of women with preeclampsia and retain the ability to activate AT1 receptors. Using an autoantibody-induced animal model of preeclampsia, we show that AT1-AAs cross the mouse placenta, enter fetal circulation, and lead to small fetuses with organ growth retardation. AT1-AAs also induce apoptosis in the placentas of pregnant mice, human villous explants, and human trophoblast cells. Finally, autoantibody-induced IUGR and placental apoptosis are diminished by either losartan or an autoantibody-neutralizing peptide. Thus, these studies identify AT1-AA as a novel causative factor of preeclampsia-associated IUGR and offer two possible underlying mechanisms: a direct detrimental effect on fetal development by crossing the placenta and entering fetal circulation, and indirectly through AT1-AA–induced placental damage. Our findings highlight AT1-AAs as important therapeutic targets.

  D Zotos , J. M Coquet , Y Zhang , A Light , K D'Costa , A Kallies , L. M Corcoran , D. I Godfrey , K. M Toellner , M. J Smyth , S. L Nutt and D. M. Tarlinton
 

Germinal centers (GCs) are sites of B cell proliferation, somatic hypermutation, and selection of variants with improved affinity for antigen. Long-lived memory B cells and plasma cells are also generated in GCs, although how B cell differentiation in GCs is regulated is unclear. IL-21, secreted by T follicular helper cells, is important for adaptive immune responses, although there are conflicting reports on its target cells and mode of action in vivo. We show that the absence of IL-21 signaling profoundly affects the B cell response to protein antigen, reducing splenic and bone marrow plasma cell formation and GC persistence and function, influencing their proliferation, transition into memory B cells, and affinity maturation. Using bone marrow chimeras, we show that these activities are primarily a result of CD3-expressing cells producing IL-21 that acts directly on B cells. Molecularly, IL-21 maintains expression of Bcl-6 in GC B cells. The absence of IL-21 or IL-21 receptor does not abrogate the appearance of T cells in GCs or the appearance of CD4 T cells with a follicular helper phenotype. IL-21 thus controls fate choices of GC B cells directly.

  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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