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Articles by Z Wang
Total Records ( 21 ) for Z Wang
  Z Wang , Z Zhou , Z. Y Guo and C. W. Chi

The human immunodeficiency virus-1 (HIV-1) envelope glycoprotein 120 (gp120) binds to cell surface receptors and mediates HIV entry. Previous studies suggest the cell surface protein disulfide isomerase (PDI) might interact with disulfide bond(s) of gp120 and thus facilitate HIV-1 entry. In the present study, a kinetic trapping approach was used to capture the disulfide cross-linking intermediate between gp120 and PDI. Active site mutant PDIs were prepared in which the C-terminal cysteine at the active site was replaced by a serine. The active site mutant PDIs were able to covalently cross-link with gp120 through a mixed disulfide bond in vitro. The cross-linking efficiency was enhanced by CD4 protein (primary receptor of HIV-1) and was inhibited both by bacitracin (a PDI inhibitor) and by catalytically inactive PDI. The present results suggested the cell surface PDI might play a role in HIV entry in vivo.

  Q Liu , Z Dai , Z Liu , X Liu , C Tang , Z Wang , G Yi , L Liu , Z Jiang , Y Yang and Z. Yuan

It has been reported that oxidized low-density lipoprotein (Ox-LDL) can increase the expression of adipophilin. However, the detailed mechanisms are not fully understood. The aim of this study was to investigate the mechanism of Ox-LDL on adipophilin expression and the intracellular lipid droplet accumulation. A mouse macrophage-like cell line, RAW264.7, was used throughout, and it was found that Ox-LDL induced adipophilin expression in a dose-dependent manner. Moreover, Ox-LDL induced peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor- (PPAR) expression and PPAR-specific inhibitor T0070907 abrogated Ox-LDL-induced adipophilin expression, but specific agonist GW1929 not. Furthermore, Ox-LDL induced phosphorylation of ERK1/2, and ERK1/2-specific inhibition by PD98059 suppressed the Ox-LDL-induced PPAR and adipophilin expression. The results showed that ERK1/2 or PPAR-specific inhibition decreased the amounts of intracellular lipid droplets. Meanwhile, the PPAR-specific agonist increased intracellular lipid droplets. These results suggested that Ox-LDL-induced increase in adipophilin level via ERK1/2 activation is one of the mechanisms of inducing greater amounts of intracellular lipid droplets in RAW264.7 cells, which indicated that adipophilin is involved in atherosclerotic progression.

  B. S Peterson , M. N Potenza , Z Wang , H Zhu , A Martin , R Marsh , K. J Plessen and S. Yu

OBJECTIVE: The authors examined the effect of psychostimulants on brain activity in children and adolescents with ADHD performing the Stroop Color and Word Test. METHOD: The authors acquired 52 functional MRI scans in 16 youths with ADHD who were known responders to stimulant medication and 20 healthy comparison youths. Participants with ADHD were scanned on and off medication in a counterbalanced design, and comparison subjects were scanned once without medication. RESULTS: Stimulant medication significantly improved suppression of default-mode activity in the ventral anterior cingulate cortex in the ADHD group. When off medication, youths with ADHD were unable to suppress default-mode activity to the same degree as comparison subjects, whereas when on medication, they suppressed this activity to comparison group levels. Greater activation of the lateral prefrontal cortex when off medication predicted a greater reduction in ADHD symptoms when on medication. Granger causality analyses demonstrated that activity in the lateral prefrontal and ventral anterior cingulate cortices mutually influenced one another but that the influence of the ventral anterior cingulate cortex on the lateral prefrontal cortex was significantly reduced in youths with ADHD off medication relative to comparison subjects and increased significantly to normal levels when ADHD youths were on medication. CONCLUSIONS: Psychostimulants in youths with ADHD improved suppression of default-mode activity in the ventral anterior cingulate and posterior cingulate cortices, components of a circuit in which activity has been shown to correlate with the degree of mind-wandering during attentional tasks. Stimulants seem to improve symptoms in youths with ADHD by normalizing activity within this circuit and improving its functional interactions with the lateral prefrontal cortex.

  L Mazzone , S Yu , C Blair , B. C Gunter , Z Wang , R Marsh and B. S. Peterson

The authors sought to study activity in neural circuits that subserve the inhibition of a semi-involuntary motor behavior, eye blinking, in children and adults with Tourette syndrome and in healthy comparison subjects.


Functional magnetic resonance imaging was used to scan 120 participants (51 with Tourette syndrome and 69 comparison subjects) as they either blinked normally or successfully inhibited eye blinking. The authors compared the blood-oxygen-level dependent signal during these two conditions across the Tou­rette and comparison groups.


Results: Relative to comparison subjects, patients with Tourette syndrome activated more strongly the frontal cortex and striatum during eye blink inhibition. Activation increased more with age in the dorsolateral and inferolateral prefrontal cortex and caudate nucleus in the Tourette group relative to comparison subjects. In addition, the Tourette group more strongly activated the middle frontal gyrus, dorsal anterior cingulate, and temporal cortices. The severity of tic symptoms in the Tourette group correlated inversely with activation in the putamen and inferolateral prefrontal cortex.


Conclusions: Frontostriatal activity is increased in persons with Tourette syndrome during the inhibition of eye blinks. Activation of frontostriatal circuits in this population may help to maintain regulatory control over semi-involuntary behaviors, whether these are tics or eye blinks.

  Z Wang , T. C Neylan , S. G Mueller , M Lenoci , D Truran , C. R Marmar , M. W Weiner and N. Schuff

Context  Most neuroimaging studies of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) have focused on potential abnormalities in the whole hippocampus, but the subfields of this structure, which have distinctive histological characteristics and specialized functions, have not been investigated. Studies of individual subfields may clarify the role of the hippocampus in PTSD.

Objective  To determine if PTSD is associated with structural alterations in specific subfields of the hippocampus.

Design  Case-control study.

Participants  A total of 17 male veterans with combat trauma and PTSD (mean [SD] age, 41 [12] years) and 19 age-matched male veterans without PTSD who were recruited from the outpatient mental health clinic of the San Francisco Veterans Affairs Medical Center and by advertising in the community.

Interventions  High-resolution magnetic resonance imaging at 4 T.

Main Outcome Measure  Volumes of hippocampal subfields.

Results  Posttraumatic stress disorder was associated with 11.4% (1.5%) (P = .02) smaller mean (SD) cornu ammonis 3 (CA3)/dentate gyrus subfield volumes, irrespective of age-related alterations, whereas other subfields were spared. Age was associated with reduced volume of the CA1 subfield (P = .03). Total hippocampal volume was also reduced in PTSD by a mean (SD) of 6.5% (0.6%) but, related to both PTSD (P = .05) and age (P = .01), was consistent with the measurements in the subfields.

Conclusions  The findings indicate for the first time in humans that PTSD is associated with selective volume loss of the CA3/dentate gyrus subfields, consistent with animal studies, implying that chronic stress suppresses neurogenesis and dendritic branching in these structures.

  W. Y Cheung , R Zhai , M. H Kulke , R. S Heist , K Asomaning , C Ma , Z Wang , L Su , M Lanuti , K. K Tanabe , D. C Christiani and G. Liu

Background: Single-nucleotide polymorphisms of key cancer genes, such as EGF A61G, are associated with an elevated risk of esophageal adenocarcinoma (EAC). As gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) is an established risk factor for EAC, we evaluated whether the association between epidermal growth factor (EGF) polymorphism and EAC development is altered by the presence of GERD. Methods: EGF genotyping of DNA samples was performed and GERD history was collected for 309 EAC patients and 275 matched healthy controls. Associations between genotypes and EAC risk were evaluated using adjusted logistic regression. Genotype–GERD relationships were explored using analyses stratified by GERD history and joint effects models that considered severity and duration of GERD symptoms. Results: EGF variants (A/G or G/G) were more common (P = 0.02) and GERD was more prevalent (P < 0.001) in cases than in controls. When compared with the EGF wild-type A/A genotype, the G/G variant was associated with a substantial increase in EAC risk among individuals with GERD [Odds ratio 9.7; 95% confidence interval (CI), 3.8–25.0; P < 0.001] and a slight decrease in risk for GERD-free individuals (odds ratio 0.4; 95% CI = 0.22–0.90; P = 0.02). In the joint effects models, the odds of EAC was also highest for G/G patients (when compared with A/A) who either experienced frequent GERD of more than once per week (odds ratio 21.8; 95% CI = 5.1–94.0; P < 0.001) or suffered GERD for longer than 15 years (odds ratio 22.4; 95% CI = 6.5–77.6; P < 0.001). There was a highly significant interaction between the G/G genotype and the presence of GERD (P < 0.001). Conclusions: EGF A61G polymorphism may alter EAC susceptibility through an interaction with GERD.

  C. y Liu , M. C Wu , F Chen , M Ter Minassian , K Asomaning , R Zhai , Z Wang , L Su , R. S Heist , M. H Kulke , X Lin , G Liu and D. C. Christiani

The incidence of esophageal adenocarcinoma (EA) has been increasing rapidly, particularly among white males, over the past few decades in the USA. However, the etiology of EA and the striking male predominance is not fully explained by known risk factors. To identify susceptible genes for EA risk, we conducted a pathway-based candidate gene association study on 335 Caucasian EA cases and 319 Caucasian controls. A total of 1330 single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) selected from 354 genes were analyzed using an Illumina GoldenGate assay. The genotyped common SNPs include missense and exonic SNPs, SNPs within untranslated regions and 2 kb 5' of the gene, and tagSNPs for genes with little functional information available. Logistic regression adjusted for potential confounders was used to assess the genetic effect of each SNP on EA risk. We also tested gene–gender interactions using the likelihood ratio tests. We found that the genetic variants in the apoptosis pathway were significantly associated with EA risk after correcting for multiple comparisons. SNPs of rs3127075 in Caspase-7 (CASP7) and rs4661636 in Caspase-9 (CASP9) genes that play a critical role in apoptosis were found to be associated with an increased risk of EA. A protective effect of SNP rs572483 in the progesterone receptor (PGR) gene was observed among women carrying the variant G allele [adjusted odds ratio (OR) = 0.19; 95% confidence interval (CI) = 0.08–0.46] but was not observed among men (adjusted OR = 1.38; 95% CI = 0.95–2.00). In conclusion, this study suggests that the genetic variants of CASP7 and CASP9 in the apoptosis pathway may be important predictive markers for EA susceptibility and that PGR in the sex hormone signaling pathway may be associated with the gender differences in EA risk.

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

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

Methods and Results—

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


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

  N Suematsu , C Ojaimi , F. A Recchia , Z Wang , Y Skayian , X Xu , S Zhang , P. M Kaminski , D Sun , M. S Wolin , G Kaley and T. H. Hintze

Rationale: Patients on a low salt (LS) diet have increased mortality.

Objective: To determine whether reduction in NO bioactivity may contribute to the LS-induced cardiac dysfunction and mortality.

Methods and Results: Adult male mongrel dogs were placed on LS (0.05% sodium chloride) for 2 weeks. Body weight (25.4±0.4 to 23.6±0.4 kg), left ventricular systolic pressure (137.0±3.4 to 124.0±6.7 mm Hg), and mean aortic pressure (111±3.1 to 98±4.3 mm Hg) decreased. Plasma angiotensin II concentration increased (4.4±0.7 to 14.8±3.7 pg/mL). Veratrine-induced (5 µg/kg) NO-mediated vasodilation was inhibited by 44% in LS; however, the simultaneous intravenous infusion of ascorbic acid or apocynin acutely and completely reversed this inhibition. In LS heart tissues, lucigenin chemiluminescence was increased 2.3-fold to angiotensin II (10–8 mol/L), and bradykinin (10–4 mol/L) induced reduction of myocardial oxygen consumption in vitro was decreased (40±1.3% to 16±6.3%) and completely restored by coincubation with tiron, tempol or apocynin. Switching of substrate uptake from free fatty acid to glucose by the heart was observed (free fatty acid: 8.97±1.39 to 4.53±1.12 µmol/min; glucose: 1.31±0.52 to 6.86±1.78 µmol/min). Western blotting indicated an increase in both p47phox (121%) and gp91phox (44%) as did RNA microarray analysis (433 genes changed) showed an increase in p47phox (1.6-fold) and gp91phox (2.0 fold) in the LS heart tissue.

Conclusions: LS diet induces the activation of the renin–angiotensin system, which increases oxidative stress via the NADPH oxidase and attenuates NO bioavailability in the heart.

  B Zheng , Z Wang , S Li , B Yu , J. Y Liu and X. Chen

Intergenic transcription by RNA Polymerase II (Pol II) is widespread in plant and animal genomes, but the functions of intergenic transcription or the resulting noncoding transcripts are poorly understood. Here, we show that Arabidopsis Pol II is indispensable for endogenous siRNA-mediated transcriptional gene silencing (TGS) at intergenic low-copy-number loci, despite the presence of two other polymerases—Pol IV and Pol V—that specialize in TGS through siRNAs. We show that Pol II produces noncoding scaffold transcripts that originate outside of heterochromatic, siRNA-generating loci. Through these transcripts and physical interactions with the siRNA effector protein ARGONAUTE4 (AGO4), Pol II recruits AGO4/siRNAs to homologous loci to result in TGS. Meanwhile, Pol II transcription also recruits Pol IV and Pol V to different locations at heterochromatic loci to promote siRNA biogenesis and siRNA-mediated TGS, respectively. This study establishes that intergenic transcription by Pol II is required for siRNA-mediated TGS, and reveals an intricate collaboration and division of labor among the three polymerases in gene silencing.

  V. M Bruno , Z Wang , S. L Marjani , G. M Euskirchen , J Martin , G Sherlock and M. Snyder

Candida albicans is the major invasive fungal pathogen of humans, causing diseases ranging from superficial mucosal infections to disseminated, systemic infections that are often lifethreatening. We have used massively parallel high-throughput sequencing of cDNA (RNA-seq) to generate a high-resolution map of the C. albicans transcriptome under several different environmental conditions. We have quantitatively determined all of the regions that are transcribed under these different conditions, and have identified 602 novel transcriptionally active regions (TARs) and numerous novel introns that are not represented in the current genome annotation. Interestingly, the expression of many of these TARs is regulated in a condition-specific manner. This comprehensive transcriptome analysis significantly enhances the current genome annotation of C. albicans, a necessary framework for a complete understanding of the molecular mechanisms of pathogenesis for this important eukaryotic pathogen.

  J Du , M A Meledeo , Z Wang and H. S Khanna

This report provides a perspective on metabolic glycoengineering methodology developed over the past two decades that allows natural sialic acids to be replaced with chemical variants in living cells and animals. Examples are given demonstrating how this technology provides the glycoscientist with chemical tools that are beginning to reproduce Mother Nature's control over complex biological systems – such as the human brain – through subtle modifications in sialic acid chemistry. Several metabolic substrates (e.g., ManNAc, Neu5Ac, and CMP-Neu5Ac analogs) can be used to feed flux into the sialic acid biosynthetic pathway resulting in numerous – and sometime quite unexpected – biological repercussions upon nonnatural sialoside display in cellular glycans. Once on the cell surface, ketone-, azide-, thiol-, or alkyne-modified glycans can be transformed with numerous ligands via bioorthogonal chemoselective ligation reactions, greatly increasing the versatility and potential application of this technology. Recently, sialic acid glycoengineering methodology has been extended to other pathways with analog incorporation now possible in surface-displayed GalNAc and fucose residues as well as nucleocytoplasmic O-GlcNAc-modified proteins. Finally, recent efforts to increase the "druggability" of sugar analogs used in metabolic glycoengineering, which have resulted in unanticipated "scaffold-dependent" activities, are summarized.

  P Gao , K Liu , L Liu , Z Wang , Z Liao , Z Xu , W Wang , X Bai , E Wang and Y. Li

The higher-order harmonic resonances, including second and third harmonic modes, were induced by applying alternative current signals inside a high-resolution transmission electron microscope (HRTEM), which have been used to study the mechanical properties of individual cadmium sulphide (CdS) nanowires. Young's moduli (E) and mechanical quality factors (Q) of individual CdS nanowires with diameters in the range of 50–350 nm were measured with the assistance of the mechanical resonances. The results indicate that the smooth nanowires have larger E and Q in comparison with the rough nanowires, and for the rough nanowires, E and Q increase with increasing diameters. The morphology- and size-dependent mechanical properties of CdS nanowires are directly correlated with their structure, as imaged by in situ TEM.

  H. L Glenn , Z Wang and L. M. Schwartz

Acheron (Achn) was originally identified as novel gene that is induced when insect muscles become committed to die at the end of metamorphosis. In separate studies, we have demonstrated that Achn acts upstream of MyoD and is required by mammalian myoblasts to either differentiate or undergo apoptosis following loss of growth factors. In the present study we examined the role of Achn in regulating integrin-extracellular matrix interactions that are required for myogenesis. Both control C2C12 myoblasts and those engineered to express ectopic Achn expressed the fibronectin receptor integrin 5β1 in the presence of growth factors and the laminin receptor 7β1 following growth factor withdrawal. Expression of the laminin receptor was blocked in cells expressing either Achn antisense or an Achn deletion mutant that blocks differentiation. Control cells and those expressing ectopic Achn undergo sequential and transient increases in both substrate adhesion and migration before cell fusion. Blockade of Achn expression reduced these effects on laminin but not on fibronectin. Taken together, these data suggest that Achn may influence differentiation in part via its control of cell adhesion dynamics.

  Z Wang , C. W Do , V Valiunas , C. T Leung , A. K. W Cheng , A. F Clark , M. B Wax , J. E Chatterton and M. M. Civan

Aqueous humor is formed by fluid transfer from the ciliary stroma sequentially across the pigmented ciliary epithelial (PE) cells, gap junctions, and nonpigmented ciliary epithelial (NPE) cells. Which connexins (Cx) contribute to PE-NPE gap junctional formation appears species specific. We tested whether small interfering RNA (siRNA) against Cx43 (siCx43) affects bovine PE-NPE communication and whether cAMP affects communication. Native bovine ciliary epithelial cells were studied by dual-cell patch clamping, Lucifer Yellow (LY) transfer, quantitative polymerase chain reaction with reverse transcription (qRT-PCR), and Western immunoblot. qRT-PCR revealed at least 100-fold greater expression for Cx43 than Cx40. siCx43 knocked down target mRNA expression by 55 ± 7% after 24 h, compared with nontargeting control siRNA (NTC1) transfection. After 48 h, siCx43 reduced Cx43 protein expression and LY transfer. The ratio of fluorescence intensity (Rf) in recipient to donor cell was 0.47 ± 0.09 (n = 11) 10 min after whole cell patch formation in couplets transfected with NTC1. siCx43 decreased Rf by ~60% to 0.20 ± 0.07 (n = 13, P < 0.02). Dibutyryl-cAMP (500 µM) also reduced LY dye transfer by ~60%, reducing Rf from 0.41 ± 0.05 (n = 15) to 0.17 ± 0.05 (n = 20) after 10 min. Junctional currents were lowered by ~50% (n = 6) after 10-min perfusion with 500 µM dibutyryl-cAMP (n = 6); thereafter, heptanol abolished the currents (n = 5). Preincubation with the PKA inhibitor H-89 (2 µM) prevented cAMP-triggered current reduction (n = 6). We conclude that 1) Cx43, but not Cx40, is a major functional component of bovine PE-NPE gap junctions; and 2) under certain conditions, cAMP may act through PKA to inhibit bovine PE-NPE gap junctional communication.

  H Amlal , S Petrovic , J Xu , Z Wang , X Sun , S Barone and M. Soleimani

The anion exchanger Pendrin, which is encoded by SLC26A4 (human)/Slc26a4 (mouse) gene, is localized on the apical membrane of non-acid-secreting intercalated (IC) cells in the kidney cortical collecting duct (CCD). To examine its role in the mediation of bicarbonate secretion in vivo and the apical Cl/HCO3 exchanger in the kidney CCD, mice with genetic deletion of pendrin were generated. The mutant mice show the complete absence of pendrin expression in their kidneys as assessed by Northern blot hybridization, Western blot, and immunofluorescence labeling. Pendrin knockout (KO) mice display significantly acidic urine at baseline [pH 5.20 in KO vs. 6.01 in wild type (WT); P < 0.0001] along with elevated serum HCO3 concentration (27.4 vs. 24 meq/l in KO vs. WT, respectively; P < 0.02), consistent with decreased bicarbonate secretion in vivo. The urine chloride excretion was comparable in WT and KO mice. For functional studies, CCDs were microperfused and IC cells were identified by their ability to trap the pH fluorescent dye BCECF. The apical Cl/HCO3 exchanger activity in B-IC and non-A, non-B-IC cells, as assessed by intracellular pH monitoring, was significantly reduced in pendrin-null mice. The basolateral Cl/HCO3 exchanger activity in A-IC cells and in non-A, non-B-IC cells, was not different in pendrin KO mice relative to WT animals. Urine NH4+ (ammonium) excretion increased significantly, consistent with increased trapping of NH3 in the collecting duct in pendrin KO mice. We conclude that Slc26a4 (pendrin) deletion impairs the secretion of bicarbonate in vivo and reduces apical Cl/HCO3 exchanger activity in B-IC and non-A, non-B-IC cells in CCD. Additional apical Cl/HCO3 exchanger(s) is (are) present in the CCD.

  G Chen , Z Wang , X. y Liu and F. y. Liu

Even if complete resection was performed, some patients with esophageal carcinoma still develop tumor recurrence. This study was undertaken to evaluate the effectiveness of adjuvant radiotherapy after modified Ivor-Lewis esophagectomy on preventing lymph node recurrence of the mid-thoracic esophageal carcinoma.


Three hundred sixty-six patients with mid-thoracic esophageal squamous cell carcinoma who underwent modified Ivor-Lewis esophagectomy between June 1999 and June 2004 were retrospectively reviewed. All patients were followed up within 3 years after surgery to detect lymph node recurrence. The Kaplan-Meier method was used to calculate the recurrence rate, and Cox regression analysis was performed to identify risk factors of lymph node recurrence.


The overall 3-year and 5-year survival rates in all patients were 57.9% and 43.7%, respectively. Lymph node recurrence occurred in 105 patients (28.7%) within 3 years after surgery. The lymph node recurrence rate of patients with postoperative adjuvant radiotherapy was significantly lower than that of those with adjuvant chemotherapy (p = 0.03) and those without adjuvant therapy (p < 0.01). Cox regression analysis showed that T stage, N status, and postoperative adjuvant radiotherapy were independent relevant factors for lymph node recurrence.


Postoperative adjuvant radiotherapy after modified Ivor-Lewis esophagectomy might prevent lymph node recurrence of mid-thoracic esophageal carcinoma.

  Y Wang , D Liang , S Wang , Z Qiu , X Chu , S Chen , L Li , X Nie , R Zhang , Z Wang and D. Zhu

It has been previously reported by us that hypoxia activates lung 15-lipoxygenase (15-LO), which catalyzes arachidonic acid to 15-hydroxyeicosatetraenoic acid (15-HETE), leading to the constriction of pulmonary artery (PA). Rho-associated serine/threonine kinase (ROK), a downstream effector of small GTPase RhoA that may be modulated by G-protein and tyrosine kinase, plays an important role in smooth muscle contraction. However, whether the 15-HETE induced PA vasoconstriction involves the Rho/ROK pathway remains to be demonstrated. Therefore, we studied the contribution of ROK as well as G-protein and tyrosine kinase to the 15-HETE induced pulmonary vasoconstriction using PA ring technique, RNA interference technology, RP-HPLC, western blot and RT-PCR combined with the blockers. The hypoxia-induced expression of ROK is regulated by 15-HETE in rat PA smooth muscle cells (PASMCs), leading to vasoconstriction. The up-regulation of ROK expression caused by 15-HETE appears to be mediated by the G-protein and tyrosine kinase pathways. The translocation of ROK2 from the nucleus to the cytoplasm during hypoxia exposure relies on the mechanism for 15-HETE production. These results suggest that 15-HETE may mediate the up-regulation of ROK expression through G-protein and tyrosine kinase pathways under hypoxic condition, leading to PA vasoconstriction.

  H Zhang , D Zhao , Z Wang and D. Zheng

Although there is increasing evidence that the ATP sensitive potassium channel (KATP) opener exhibits neuroprotective effects against ischaemic neural damage, little is known about the mechanism. Mitochondria play a key role in apoptosis by releasing many important factors, including cytochrome c and apoptosis-inducing factor, which in turn initiate the caspase-dependent and -independent mitochondrial pathway, respectively. In the present study, we sought to determine the locus that KATP opener uses to mediate this protection in PC12 cells. We found that pre-treatment of PC12 cells with diazoxide (DZX), a mitochondrial ATP sensitive potassium channel (mitoKATP) opener, dose-dependently increased cell viability under conditions of oxygen glucose deprivation (OGD). The protective effect of this pre-conditioning was attenuated by 5-hydroxydecanoic acid, a selective mitoKATP blocker. The results showed that DZX inhibits the release of cytochrome c, the activation of caspase-3 and the release of AIF evoked by OGD. Taken together, our results demonstrate for the first time that activation of the mitoKATP channel elicits protective effects against OGD-induced cell apoptosis by caspase-dependent and -independent mitochondrial pathways.

  T Ma , Z Wang , Y Guo and D. Pei

Overexpression of Nanog in mouse embryonic stem (ES) cells has been shown to abrogate the requirement of leukemia inhibitory factor for self-renewal in culture. Little is known about the molecular mechanism of Nanog function. Here we describe the role of the tryptophan repeat (WR) domain, one of the two transactivators at its C terminus, in regulating stem cell proliferation as well as pluripotency. We first created a supertransactivator, W2W3x10, by duplicating repeats W2W3 10 times and discovered that it can functionally substitute for wild type WR at sustaining pluripotency, albeit with a significantly slower cell cycle, phenocopying Nanog(9W) with the C-terminal pentapeptide (WNAAP) of WR deleted. ES cells carrying both W2W3x10 and Nanog(9W) have a longer G1 phase, a shorter S phase in cell cycle distribution and progression analysis, and a lower level of pAkt(Ser473) compared with wild type Nanog, suggesting that both mutants impact the cell cycle machinery via the phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase/Akt pathway. Both mutants remain competent in dimerizing with Nanog but cannot form a complex with Nac1 efficiently, suggesting that WNAAP may be involved in Nac1 binding. By tagging Gal4DBD with WNAAP, we demonstrated that this pentapeptide is sufficient to confer Nac1 binding. Furthermore, we can rescue W2W3x10 by placing WNAAP at the corresponding locations. Finally, we found that Nanog and Nac1 synergistically up-regulate ERas expression and promote the proliferation of ES cells. These results suggest that Nanog interacts with Nac1 through WNAAP to regulate the cell cycle of ES cells via the ERas/phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase/Akt pathway, but not pluripotency, thus decoupling cell cycle control from pluripotency.

  C Wang , R Qi , N Li , Z Wang , H An , Q Zhang , Y Yu and X. Cao

Notch signaling plays a critical role in regulating cell proliferation, differentiation, and apoptosis. Our previous study showed that overexpression of Notch1 could inhibit human hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) cell growth by arresting the cell cycle and inducing apoptosis. HCC cells are resistant to apoptotic induction by tumor necrosis factor-related apoptosis-inducing ligand (TRAIL), so new therapeutic approaches have been explored to sensitize HCC cells to TRAIL-induced apoptosis. We are wondering whether and how Notch1 signaling can enhance the sensitivity of HCC cells to TRAIL-induced apoptosis. In this study, we found that overexpression of ICN, the constitutive activated form of Notch1, up-regulated p53 protein expression in HCC cells by inhibiting proteasome degradation. p53 up-regulation was further observed in human primary hepatocellular carcinoma cells after activation of Notch signaling. Inhibition of the Akt/Hdm2 pathway by Notch1 signaling was responsible for the suppression of p53 proteasomal degradation, thus contributing to the Notch1 signaling-mediated up-regulation of p53 expression. Accordingly, Notch1 signaling could make HCC cells more sensitive to TRAIL-induced apoptosis, whereas Notch1 signaling lost the synergistic promotion of TRAIL-induced apoptosis in p53-silenced HepG2 HCC cells and p53-defective Hep3B HCC cells. The data suggest that enhancement of TRAIL-induced apoptosis by Notch1 signaling is dependent upon p53 up-regulation. Furthermore, Notch1 signaling could enhance DR5 expression in a p53-dependent manner. Taken together, Notch1 signaling sensitizes TRAIL-induced apoptosis in HCC cells by inhibiting Akt/Hdm2-mediated p53 degradation and up-regulating p53-dependent DR5 expression. Thus, our results suggest that activation of Notch1 signaling may be a promising approach to improve the therapeutic efficacy of TRAIL-resistant HCC.

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