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Articles by L Li
Total Records ( 28 ) for L Li
  L Li , J Xie , M Zhang and S. Wang

Homocysteine (Hcy) can induce proliferation of vascular smooth muscle cells (VSMCs), which is a key event in the genesis of the lesions of atherosclerosis. Insulin-like growth factor 2 (IGF2) and H19 are two important regulating molecules of cell proliferation. The role of Hcy in the proliferation of smooth muscle cell by regulating IGF2 and H19 has not been shown or analyzed so far. This study aims to investigate the potential impact of Hcy on gene imprinting of IGF2 and H19. Cultured human umbilical VSMCs were treated with different concentrations of Hcy. The DNA methylation status of VSMCs was assayed by nested methylation-specific polymerase chain reaction (PCR). The mRNA levels of H19, IGF2, and CCCTC-binding factor (CTCF) were detected by reverse transcription PCR, and the protein expression of IGF2 by Western blotting. The results showed that the Hcy treatment resulted in hypomethylation of the sixth CTCF-binding site upstream of H19 of VSMCs. The expression of H19 was increased, whereas the IGF2 mRNA and protein were decreased, the CTCF expression increased with the increase in Hcy concentration. These data indicated that Hcy could induce hypomethylation of the sixth CTCF-binding sites upstream of H19, which is an important regulating area for the imprinting expression of IGF2 and H19. The increased CTCF expression may be a potential mechanism for the demethylation modification of DNA, which resulted from the Hcy treatment.

  M. I Frisard , R. P McMillan , J Marchand , K. A Wahlberg , Y Wu , K. A Voelker , L Heilbronn , K Haynie , B Muoio , L Li and M. W. Hulver

Toll-like receptor 4 (TLR4), a protein integral to innate immunity, is elevated in skeletal muscle of obese and type 2 diabetic humans and has been implicated in the development of lipid-induced insulin resistance. The purpose of this study was to examine the role of TLR4 as a modulator of basal (non-insulin-stimulated) substrate metabolism in skeletal muscle with the hypothesis that its activation would result in reduced fatty acid oxidation and increased partitioning of fatty acids toward neutral lipid storage. Human skeletal muscle, rodent skeletal muscle, and skeletal muscle cell cultures were employed to study the functional consequences of TLR4 activation on glucose and fatty acid metabolism. Herein, we demonstrate that activation of TLR4 with low (metabolic endotoxemia) and high (septic conditions) doses of LPS results in increased glucose utilization and reduced fatty acid oxidation in skeletal muscle and that these changes in metabolism in vivo occur in concert with increased circulating triglycerides. Moreover, animals with a loss of TLR4 function possess increased oxidative capacity in skeletal muscle and present with lower fasting levels of triglycerides and nonesterified free fatty acids. Evidence is also presented to suggest that these changes in substrate metabolism under metabolic endotoxemic conditions are independent of skeletal muscle-derived proinflammatory cytokine production. This report illustrates that skeletal muscle is a target for circulating endotoxin and may provide critical insight into the link between a proinflammatory state and dysregulated metabolism as observed with obesity, type 2 diabetes, and metabolic syndrome.

  B Lu , N Congdon , X Liu , K Choi , D. S. C Lam , M Zhang , M Zheng , Z Zhou , L Li , A Sharma and Y. Song

Objective  To study the associations between near work, outdoor activity, and myopia among children attending secondary school in rural China.

Methods  Among a random cluster sample of 1892 children in Xichang, China, subjects with an uncorrected acuity of 6/12 or less in either eye (n = 984) and a 25% sample of children with normal vision (n = 248) underwent measurement of refractive error. Subjects were administered a questionnaire on parental education, time spent outdoors, and weekly time spent engaged in and preferred working distance for a variety of near-work activities.

Results  Among 1232 children with refraction data, 998 (81.0%) completed the near-work survey. Their mean age was 14.6 years (SD, 0.8 years), 55.6% were girls, and 83.1% had myopia of –0.5 diopters or less (more myopia) in both eyes. Time and diopter-hours spent on near activities did not differ between children with and without myopia. In regression models, time spent on near activities and time outdoors were unassociated with myopia, adjusting for age, sex, and parental education.

Conclusions  These and other recent results raise some doubts about the association between near work and myopia. Additional efforts to identify other environmental factors associated with myopia risk and that may be amenable to intervention are warranted.

  M Zhang , N Congdon , L Li , Y Song , K Choi , Y Wang , Z Zhou , X Liu , A Sharma , W Chen and D. S. C. Lam

Objective  To study the effect of myopia and spectacle wear on bicycle-related injuries in rural Chinese students. Myopia is common among Chinese students but few studies have examined its effect on daily activities.

Methods  Data on visual acuity, refractive error, current spectacle wear, and history of bicycle use and accidents during the past 3 years were sought from 1891 students undergoing eye examinations in rural Guangdong province.

Results  Refractive and accident data were available for 1539 participants (81.3%), among whom the mean age was 14.6 years, 52.5% were girls, 26.8% wore glasses, and 12.9% had myopia of less than –4 diopters in both eyes. More than 90% relied on bicycles to get to school daily. A total of 2931 accidents were reported by 423 participants, with 68 requiring medical attention. Male sex (odds ratio, 1.55; P < .001) and spectacle wear (odds ratio, 1.38; P = .04) were associated with a higher risk of accident, but habitual visual acuity and myopia were unassociated with the crash risk, after adjusting for age, sex, time spent riding, and risky riding behaviors.

Conclusion  These results may be consistent with data on motor vehicle accidents implicating peripheral vision (potentially compromised by spectacle wear) more strongly than central visual acuity in mediating crash risk.

  A Rotnitzky , L Li and X. Li

Standardized means, commonly used in observational studies in epidemiology to adjust for potential confounders, are equal to inverse probability weighted means with inverse weights equal to the empirical propensity scores. More refined standardization corresponds with empirical propensity scores computed under more flexible models. Unnecessary standardization induces efficiency loss. However, according to the theory of inverse probability weighted estimation, propensity scores estimated under more flexible models induce improvement in the precision of inverse probability weighted means. This apparent contradiction is clarified by explicitly stating the assumptions under which the improvement in precision is attained.

  Y Wu , X Feng , Y Jin , Z Wu , W Hankey , C Paisie , L Li , F Liu , S. H Barsky , W Zhang , R Ganju and X. Zou

The natural compound indole-3-carbinol (I3C; found in vegetables of the genus Brassica) is a promising cancer prevention or therapy agent. The cell division cycle 25A (Cdc25A) phosphatase is overexpressed in a variety of human cancers and other diseases. In the present study, I3C induced degradation of Cdc25A, arrest of the G1 cell cycle, and inhibition of the growth of breast cancer cells. We also showed that the Ser124 site of Cdc25A, which is related to cyclin-dependent kinase 2, is required for I3C-induced degradation of Cdc25A in breast cancer cells, and that interruption of the ATM-Chk2 pathway suppressed I3C-induced destruction of Cdc25A. Our in vivo studies of different mutated forms of Cdc25A found that the mutation Cdc25AS124A (Ser124 to Ala124), which confers resistance to I3C-induced degradation of Cdc25A, attenuated I3C inhibition of breast tumorigenesis in a mouse xenograft model. The present in vitro and in vivo studies together show that I3C-induced activation of the ATM-Chk2 pathway and degradation of Cdc25A represent a novel molecular mechanism of I3C in arresting the G1 cell cycle and inhibiting the growth of breast cancer cells. The finding that I3C induces Cdc25A degradation underscores the potential use of this agent for preventing and treating cancers and other human diseases with Cdc25A overexpression. Cancer Prev Res; 3(7); 818–28. ©2010 AACR.

  D. E Sosnovik , M Nahrendorf , P Panizzi , T Matsui , E Aikawa , G Dai , L Li , F Reynolds , G. W Dorn , R Weissleder , L Josephson and A. Rosenzweig

Background— The ability to image cardiomyocyte (CM) apoptosis in heart failure could facilitate more accurate diagnostics and optimize targeted therapeutics. We thus aimed to develop a platform to image CM apoptosis quantitatively and specifically in heart failure in vivo. The myocardium in heart failure, however, is characterized by very low levels of CM apoptosis and normal vascular permeability, factors thought to preclude the use of molecular MRI.

Methods and Results— Female mice with overexpression of Gaq were studied. Two weeks postpartum, these mice develop a cardiomyopathy characterized by low levels of CM apoptosis and minimal myocardial necrosis or inflammation. The mice were injected with the annexin-labeled nanoparticle (AnxCLIO-Cy5.5) or a control probe (CLIO-Cy5.5) and imaged in vivo at 9.4 T. Uptake of AnxCLIO-Cy5.5 occurred in isolated clusters, frequently in the subendocardium. Myocardial T2* was significantly lower (7.6±1.5 versus 16.8±2.7 ms, P<0.05) in the mice injected with AnxCLIO-Cy5.5 versus CLIO-Cy5.5, consistent with the uptake of AnxCLIO-Cy5.5 by apoptotic CMs. A strong correlation (r2=0.86, P<0.05) was seen between in vivo T2* (AnxCLIO-Cy5.5 uptake) and myocardial caspase-3 activity.

Conclusions— The ability of molecular MRI to image sparsely expressed targets in the myocardium is demonstrated in this study. Moreover, a novel platform for high-resolution and specific imaging of CM apoptosis in heart failure is established. In addition to providing novel insights into the pathogenesis of CM apoptosis, the developed platform could facilitate the development of novel antiapoptotic therapies in heart failure.

  C. G Koch , L Li , G. A Kaplan , J Wachterman , M. H Shishehbor , J Sabik and E. H. Blackstone

Background— Health disparities have been associated with the prevalence of cardiovascular disease. In cardiac surgery, association has been found between race, sex, and poorer prognosis after surgery. However, there is a complex interplay between race, sex, and socioeconomic position (SEP). In our investigation we sought to identify which of these was the driver of risk-adjusted survival.

Methods and Results— From January 1, 1995, and December 30, 2005, 23 330 patients (15 156 white men, 6932 white women, 678 black men, and 564 black women) underwent isolated coronary artery bypass grafting, valve, or combined coronary artery bypass grafting and valve procedures. Median follow-up was 5.8 years (25th and 75th percentiles: 3 and 8.6 years). Effect of race, sex, and SEP on all-cause mortality was examined with 2-phase Cox model and generalized propensity score technique. As expected, blacks and women had lower SEP as compared with whites and men for all 6 SEP indicators. Patients with lower SEP had more atherosclerotic disease burden, more comorbidity, and were more symptomatic. Lower SEP was associated with a risk-adjusted dose-dependent reduction in survival after surgery (men, P<0.0001; women, P=0.0079), but black race, once adjusted for SEP, was not.

Conclusions— Our large investigation demonstrates that disparities in SEP are present and significantly affect health outcomes. Although race per se was not the driver for reduced survival, patients of low SEP were predominantly represented by blacks and women. Socioeconomically disadvantaged patients had significantly higher risk-adjusted mortality after surgery. Further investigation and targeted intervention should focus specifically on patients of low SEP, their health behaviors, and secondary prevention efforts.

  N Dong , S Chen , J Yang , L He , P Liu , D Zheng , L Li , Y Zhou , C Ruan , E Plow and Q. Wu

Background— Corin is a transmembrane protease that processes natriuretic peptides in the heart. Like many membrane proteins, corin is shed from the cell surface.

Methods and Results— In this study, we obtained plasma samples from healthy controls and patients with heart failure (HF) and acute myocardial infarction. Soluble corin levels in plasma were measured by an ELISA method. In healthy adults (n=198), plasma corin levels were 690 pg/mL (SD, 260 pg/mL). The corin levels did not differ significantly among different age groups. In patients with HF (n=291), plasma corin levels were significantly lower compared with that of healthy controls (365 pg/mL [SD, 259]; P<0.001). The reduction in plasma corin levels seemed to correlate with the severity of HF. In patients of New York Heart Association classes II, III, and IV, plasma corin levels were 450 pg/mL (SD, 281 pg/mL; n=69), 377 pg/mL (SD, 270 pg/mL; n=132), and 282 pg/mL (SD, 194 pg/mL; n=90), respectively (P<0.001 class II vs class IV; P<0.05 class III vs class IV). In contrast, plasma corin levels in patients with acute myocardial infarction (n=73) were similar to that of healthy controls (678 pg/mL [SD, 285 pg/mL]; P>0.05).

Conclusions— Soluble corin was detected in human plasma. Plasma corin levels were reduced significantly in patients with HF but not in those with acute myocardial infarction. Our results indicate that corin deficiency may contribute to the pathogenesis of HF and that plasma corin may be used as a biomarker in the diagnosis of HF.

  C Cras Meneur , L Li , R Kopan and M. A. Permutt

Canonical Notch signaling is thought to control the endocrine/exocrine decision in early pancreatic progenitors. Later, RBP-J interacts with Ptf1a and E12 to promote acinar differentiation. To examine the involvement of Notch signaling in selecting specific endocrine lineages, we deregulated this pathway by targeted deletion of presenilin1 and presenilin2, the catalytic core of -secretase, in Ngn3- or Pax6-expressing endocrine progenitors. Surprisingly, whereas Pax6+ progenitors were irreversibly committed to the endocrine fate, we discovered that Ngn3+ progenitors were bipotential in vivo and in vitro. When presenilin amounts are limiting, Ngn3+ progenitors default to an acinar fate; subsequently, they expand rapidly to form the bulk of the exocrine pancreas. -Secretase inhibitors confirmed that enzymatic activity was required to block acinar fate selection by Ngn3 progenitors. Genetic interactions identified Notch2 as the substrate, and suggest that -secretase and Notch2 act in a noncanonical titration mechanism to sequester RBP-J away from Ptf1a, thus securing selection of the endocrine fate by Ngn3 progenitors. These results revise the current view of pancreatic cell fate hierarchy, establish that Ngn3 is not in itself sufficient to commit cells to the endocrine fate in the presence of Ptf1a, reveal a noncanonical action for Notch2 protein in endocrine cell fate selection, and demonstrate that acquisition of an endocrine fate by Ngn3+ progenitors is -secretase-dependent until Pax6 expression begins.

  P. A Morin , F. I Archer , A. D Foote , J Vilstrup , E. E Allen , P Wade , J Durban , K Parsons , R Pitman , L Li , P Bouffard , S. C Abel Nielsen , M Rasmussen , E Willerslev , M. T. P Gilbert and T. Harkins

Killer whales (Orcinus orca) currently comprise a single, cosmopolitan species with a diverse diet. However, studies over the last 30 yr have revealed populations of sympatric "ecotypes" with discrete prey preferences, morphology, and behaviors. Although these ecotypes avoid social interactions and are not known to interbreed, genetic studies to date have found extremely low levels of diversity in the mitochondrial control region, and few clear phylogeographic patterns worldwide. This low level of diversity is likely due to low mitochondrial mutation rates that are common to cetaceans. Using killer whales as a case study, we have developed a method to readily sequence, assemble, and analyze complete mitochondrial genomes from large numbers of samples to more accurately assess phylogeography and estimate divergence times. This represents an important tool for wildlife management, not only for killer whales but for many marine taxa. We used high-throughput sequencing to survey whole mitochondrial genome variation of 139 samples from the North Pacific, North Atlantic, and southern oceans. Phylogenetic analysis indicated that each of the known ecotypes represents a strongly supported clade with divergence times ranging from ~150,000 to 700,000 yr ago. We recommend that three named ecotypes be elevated to full species, and that the remaining types be recognized as subspecies pending additional data. Establishing appropriate taxonomic designations will greatly aid in understanding the ecological impacts and conservation needs of these important marine predators. We predict that phylogeographic mitogenomics will become an important tool for improved statistical phylogeography and more precise estimates of divergence times.

  B. G Hoffman , G Robertson , B Zavaglia , M Beach , R Cullum , S Lee , G Soukhatcheva , L Li , E. D Wederell , N Thiessen , M Bilenky , T Cezard , A Tam , B Kamoh , I Birol , D Dai , Y Zhao , M Hirst , C. B Verchere , C. D Helgason , M. A Marra , S. J. M Jones and P. A. Hoodless

The liver and pancreas share a common origin and coexpress several transcription factors. To gain insight into the transcriptional networks regulating the function of these tissues, we globally identify binding sites for FOXA2 in adult mouse islets and liver, PDX1 in islets, and HNF4A in liver. Because most eukaryotic transcription factors bind thousands of loci, many of which are thought to be inactive, methods that can discriminate functionally active binding events are essential for the interpretation of genome-wide transcription factor binding data. To develop such a method, we also generated genome-wide H3K4me1 and H3K4me3 localization data in these tissues. By analyzing our binding and histone methylation data in combination with comprehensive gene expression data, we show that H3K4me1 enrichment profiles discriminate transcription factor occupied loci into three classes: those that are functionally active, those that are poised for activation, and those that reflect pioneer-like transcription factor activity. Furthermore, we demonstrate that the regulated presence of H3K4me1-marked nucleosomes at transcription factor occupied promoters and enhancers controls their activity, implicating both tissue-specific transcription factor binding and nucleosome remodeling complex recruitment in determining tissue-specific gene expression. Finally, we apply these approaches to generate novel insights into how FOXA2, PDX1, and HNF4A cooperate to drive islet- and liver-specific gene expression.

  Y Hao , L Li , W Li , X Zhou and J. Lu

Bacterial virulence could be altered by the antimicrobial agents of the host. Our aim was to identify the damage and survival of Streptococcus sanguinis induced by lysozymes in vitro and to analyse the potential of oral microorganisms to shirk host defences, which cause infective endocarditis. S. sanguinis ATCC 10556 received lysozyme at concentrations of 12.5, 25, 50 and 100 µg/ml. Cells were examined by electron microscopy. The survival was assessed by colony counting and construction of a growth curve. Challenged by lysozymes, cells mainly exhibited cell wall damage, which seemed to increase with increasing lysozyme concentration and longer incubation period in the presence of ions. Cells with little as well as apparent lesion were observed under the same treatment set, and anomalous stick and huge rotund bodies were occasionally observed. After the removal of the lysozyme, some damaged cells could be reverted to its original form with brain heart infusion (BHI), and their growth curve was similar to the control cells. After further incubation in BHI containing lysozyme, S. sanguinis cell damage stopped progressing, and their growth curve was also similar to the control cells. The results suggested that the S. sanguinis lesions caused by the lysozyme in the oral cavity may be nonhomogeneous and that some damaged cells could self-repair and survive. It also indicated that S. sanguinis with damaged cell walls may survive and be transmitted in the bloodstream.

  Y Yu , Y Li , L Li , J Lin , C Zheng and L. Zhang

Tubulin genes are intimately associated with cell division and cell elongation, which are central to plant secondary cell wall development. However, their roles in pollen tube polar growth remain elusive. Here, a TUA1 gene from Picea wilsonii, which is specifically expressed in pollen, was isolated. Semi-quantitative RT-PCR analysis showed that the amount of PwTUA1 transcript varied at each stage of growth of the pollen tube and was induced by calcium ions and boron. Transient expression analysis in P. wilsonii pollen indicated that PwTUA1 improved pollen germination and pollen tube growth. The pollen of transgenic Arabidopsis overexpressing PwTUA1 also showed a higher percentage of germination and faster growth than wild-type plants not only in optimal germination medium, but also in medium supplemented with elevated levels of exogenous calcium ions or boron. Immunofluorescence and electron microscopy showed -tubulin to be enriched and more vesicles accumulated in the apex region in germinating transgenic Arabidopsis pollen compared with wild-type plants. These results demonstrate that PwTUA1 up-regulated by calcium ions and boron contributes to pollen tube elongation by altering the distribution of -tubulin and regulating the deposition of pollen cell wall components during the process of tube growth. The possible role of PwTUA1 in microtubule dynamics and organization was discussed.

  L Li , C Niu and R. Ma

We investigated clone succession and genetic variation of the rotifer Brachionus calyciflorus, in Xihai Pond, Beijing, China, using partial sequence of the COI gene (543 bp). We sampled the rotifer population once per week for 4 weeks in the autumn of 2004, when the water temperature decreased from 27 to 17°C and algal density, correspondingly, from 5.50 x 106 to 3.14 x 106 cells·mL–1. In total of 96 samples, 15 haplotypes were identified, among which 2 distinct lineages (Lineages A and B) were revealed by phylogenetic analysis. Sequence divergence was 12.1% between the two lineages, resembling that of sibling species. The two lineages showed short-term overlap as well as displacement. In the "population" of Lineage A, different responses to environmental variation were observed in the three clades with average sequence divergence ranging from 5.2 to 7.6%. To further investigate the forces shaping the varying pattern of different haplotype clones within the "population" of Lineage A, we selected four frequently collected haplotypes and compared their growth parameters at different algal food (Chlorella pyrenoidosa) concentrations (1 x 106, 6 x 106 and 12 x 106 cells·mL–1) at 25°C or at different temperatures (15, 25 and 35°C) with algal density of 6 x 106 cells·mL–1, respectively. Data derived from life-table demography indicated that the four haplotypes had different reactions to relevant ecological parameters. BC1 clones revealed the highest frequencies, which could be explained by prolific population growth and the build-up of a large resting propagule bank. BC10 and BC11 clones, in contrast to BC1 and BC9 clones, showed no obvious responses to the environmental variations when algal density decreased below 6 x 106 cells·mL–1 or temperature decreased below 25°C.

  B Wang , L Li , F Ni , J Song , J Wang , Y Mu , X Ma and Y. Cao

Pluripotency associated transcription factor, SAL-Like 4 (SALL4), might play an important role in conferring totipotency on oocytes. In the present study, we screened SALL4 coding regions for mutations in 100 Han Chinese women with non-syndromic ovarian failure and discovered two novel non-synonymous variants in the SALL4 gene: c.541G>A (p.Val181Met) and c.2449A>G. (p.Thr817Ala). The former variant was located in an evolutionary conserved region of SALL4 protein and might affect its function. This is the first report to suggest that SALL4 might be a potential candidate gene of premature ovarian failure.

  L Li , J Kang and W. Lei

The aim of the present study was to investigate the potential role of Toll-like receptor 4 (TLR4) in lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-induced preterm delivery. Intraperitoneal injection of LPS in the presence or absence of previous TLR4 blockade was performed to establish a murine model of preterm delivery. The incidences of preterm delivery and fetal death were calculated. Flow cytometry was performed to examine the percentages of blood CD45+CD86+, CD3+CD69+, CD19+CD69+ and CD49b+CD69+ cell subsets, and the percentages of placenta CD45+CD86+, CD45+CD49b+ and CD49b+CD69+ cell subpopulations. In our study, an inflammation-induced preterm delivery model was established by intraperitoneal injection of LPS. Blocking TLR4 significantly decreased LPS-induced preterm delivery and fetal death. LPS treatment markedly up-regulated the percentages of blood CD45+CD86+, CD3+CD69+ and CD49b+CD69+ cells, and of placenta CD45+CD86+, CD45+CD49b+ and CD49b+CD69+ cells. TLR4 blockade almost completely abrogated LPS-induced elevated cell proportions. These data demonstrate that TLR4 plays a critical role in inflammation-induced preterm delivery.

  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.

  L Song , X. Y Zhou , L Li , L. J Xue , X Yang and H. W. Xue

Light and brassinosteroids (BRs) have been proved to be crucial in regulating plant growth and development; however, the mechanism of how they synergistically function is still largely unknown. To explore the underlying mechanisms in photomorphogenesis, genome-wide analyses were carried out through examining the gene expressions of the dark-grown WT or BR biosynthesis-defective mutant det2 seedlings in the presence of light stimuli or exogenous Brassinolide (BL). Results showed that BR deficiency stimulates, while BL treatment suppresses, the expressions of light-responsive genes and photomorphogenesis, confirming the negative effects of BR in photomorphogenesis. This is consistent with the specific effects of BR on the expression of genes involved in cell wall modification, cellular metabolism and energy utilization during dark–light transition. Further analysis revealed that hormone biosynthesis and signaling-related genes, especially those of auxin, were altered under BL treatment or light stimuli, indicating that BR may modulate photomorphogenesis through synergetic regulation with other hormones. Additionally, suppressed ubiquitin-cycle pathway during light–dark transition hinted the presence of a complicated network among light, hormone, and protein degradation. The study provides the direct evidence of BR effects in photomorphogenesis and identified the genes involved in BR and light signaling pathway, which will help to elucidate the molecular mechanism of plant photomorphogenesis.

  L Li , Z. Y Shi , G. Z Shen , X. Q Wang , L. S An and J. L. Zhang

Understanding the genetic mechanism underlying rice leaf-shape development is crucial for optimizing rice configuration and achieving high yields; however, little is known about leaf abaxial curling. We isolated a rice transferred DNA (T-DNA) insertion mutant, BY240, which exhibited an abaxial leaf curling phenotype that co-segregated with the inserted T-DNA. The T-DNA was inserted in the promoter of a novel gene, ACL1 (Abaxially Curled Leaf 1), and led to overexpression of this gene in BY240. Overexpression of ACL1 in wild-type rice also resulted in abaxial leaf curling. ACL1 encodes a protein of 116 amino acids with no known conserved functional domains. Overexpression of ACL2, the only homolog of ACL1 in rice, also induced abaxial leaf curling. RT–PCR analysis revealed high expressions of ACLs in leaf sheaths and leaf blades, suggesting a role for these genes in leaf development. In situ hybridization revealed non-tissue-specific expression of the ACLs in the shoot apical meristem, leaf primordium, and young leaf. Histological analysis showed increased number and exaggeration of bulliform cells and expansion of epidermal cells in the leaves of BY240, which caused developmental discoordination of the abaxial and adaxial sides, resulting in abaxially curled leaves. These results revealed an important mechanism in rice leaf development and provided the genetic basis for agricultural improvement.

  Y Huang , L Li and L. Yu

X-ray repair cross-complementing group 1 (XRCC1) plays an important role in base excision and single-strand break repair, as a scaffold protein that brings together proteins of the DNA repair complex, and appears to be a candidate for cancer risk. However, studies on the association between polymorphisms in this protein and cancer have yielded conflicting results. We performed a meta-analysis to investigate the association between the breast cancer and the XRCC1 polymorphisms Arg194Trp (9411 cases and 9783 controls), Arg399Gln (22 481 cases and 23 905 controls) and Arg280His (6062 cases and 5864 controls) in different inheritance models. Our analysis suggested that Arg399Gln was associated with a trend of increased breast cancer risk when using both dominant [odds ratio (OR) = 1.06, 95% confidence interval (CI): 1.00–1.13] and recessive models (OR = 1.12, 95% CI: 1.02–1.23) to analyse the data. In ethnic subgroups and using recessive model analysis: Arg399Gln increased breast cancer risk in Asians (OR = 1.26, 95% CI: 0.96–1.64) and Africans (OR = 1.80, 95% CI: 0.97–3.32), and also while only slightly increasing the breast cancer risk in Caucasians (OR = 1.08, 95% CI: 0.95–1.22). However, Arg194Trp (recessive model, OR = 0.95, 95% CI: 0.75–1.20) and Arg280His (recessive model, OR = 1.28, 95% CI: 0.64–2.55) did not appear to be risk factors for breast cancer. Larger scale primary studies are required to further evaluate the interaction of XRCC1 polymorphisms and breast cancer risk in specific populations.

  L Li , W Guest , A Huang , S. S Plotkin and N. R. Cashman

Prion diseases are associated with the conversion of cellular prion protein (PrPC) to an abnormal protease-resistant conformational isoform (PrPSc) by template-directed conversion. The interaction between PrPC and PrPSc is mediated by specific sites which have been mapped to six putative ‘binding and conversion domains’ (PrP-BCD) through peptide and antibody competition studies. Monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) directed against the bityrosine motif Tyr-Tyr-Arg (YYR) specifically recognize PrPSc and other misfolded PrP species. Here, we report that select bead-bound PrP-BCD mAbs induce exposure of bityrosine epitopes on mouse brain PrP. By competition immunoprecipitation, we show that PrP-BCD mAb-induced bityrosine exposure occurs at -helices 1 and 3. However, PrP-BCD mAb-induced PrPC misfolding is not accompanied by β-sheet dissociation, a key event in PrPC conversion to PrPSc, and is not associated with acquisition of protease resistance, or the capacity to recruit additional molecules of PrP. Our data suggest that mAb mimics of the physical interaction of PrPC with PrPSc can induce unfolding of specific PrP domains, but that subsequent processes (including the energetically unfavorable β-sheet dissociation) effect isoform conversion in prion disease.

  L Li , S Liang , M. M Pilcher and S. O. Meroueh

The success of antibody-based pharmaceuticals has led to a resurgence in interest in computational structure-based design. Most efforts to date have been on the redesign of existing interfaces. These efforts have mostly neglected the inherent flexibility of the receptor that is critical for binding. In this work, we extend on a previous study to perform a series of designs of protein binding interfaces by incorporating receptor flexibility using an ensemble of conformers collected from explicit-solvent molecular dynamics (MD) simulations. All designer complexes are subjected to 30 ns of MD in explicit solvent to assess for stability for a total of 480 ns of dynamics. This is followed by end-point free energy calculations whereby intermolecular potential energy, polar and non-polar solvation energy and entropy of ligand and receptor are subtracted from that of the complex and averaged over 320 snapshots collected from each of the 30 ns MD simulations. Our initial effort consisted of redesigning the interface of three well-studied complexes, namely barnase–barstar, lysozyme–antibody D1.3 and trypsin–BPTI. The design was performed with flexible backbone approach. MD simulations revealed that all three complexes remained stable. Interestingly, the redesigned trypsin–BPTI complex was significantly more favorable than the native complex. This was attributed to the favorable electrostatics and entropy that complemented the already favorable non-polar component. Another aspect of this work consisted of grafting the surface of three proteins, namely tenascin, CheY and MBP1 to bind to barnase, trypsin and lysozyme. The process was initially performed using fixed backbone, and more than 300 ns of the explicit-solvent MD simulation revealed some of the complexes to dissociate over the course of the trajectories, whereas others remained stable. Free energy calculations confirmed that the non-polar component of the free energy as computed by summing the van der Waals energy and the non-polar solvation energy was a strong predictor of stability. Four complexes (two stable and two unstable) were selected, and redesigned using multiple conformers collected from the MD simulation. The resulting designer systems were then immersed in explicit solvent and 30 ns of MD was carried out on each. Interestingly, those complexes that were initially stable remained stable, whereas one of the unstable complexes became stable following redesign with flexible backbone. Free energy calculations showed significant improvements in the affinity for most complexes, revealing that the use of multiple conformers in protein design may significantly enhance such efforts.

  X Shen , G. b Hu , S. j Jiang , F. r He , W Xing , L Li , J Yang , H. f Zhu , P Lei and G. x. Shen

Transferrin receptor (TfR) has been explored as a target for antibody-based therapy of cancer. In the previous study, we reported a murine anti-TfR monoclonal antibody (mAb) 7579 had good anti-tumor activities in vitro. In an attempt to reduce its immunogenicity and enhance its ability to recruit immune effector mechanism in vivo, we herein developed its chimera in the baculovirus/insect cell expression system based on the mating-assisted genetically integrated cloning (MAGIC) strategy. The chimeric light and heavy chains, containing human IgG1 constant regions, were correctly processed and assembled in insect cells, and then secreted into the mediums as heterodimeric H2L2 immunoglobulins. Furthermore, analyses of antigen-binding assay and competitive binding assay indicated that the chimeric antibody possessed specificity and affinity similar to that of its parental murine antibody. Results of the antibody-dependent cellular cytotoxicity (ADCC) and complement-dependent cytotoxicity (CDC) assay verified that the chimeric antibody could efficiently mediate ADCC and CDC against TfR-overexpressing tumor cells. These results suggested that this baculovirus-expressed chimeric anti-TfR IgG1 might have the potential to be used for cancer immunotherapy. Meanwhile, the MAGIC strategy, facilitating the rapid generation of chimeric mAbs, could be one of the efficient strategies for antibody engineering.

  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.

  J. A Follit , L Li , Y Vucica and G. J. Pazour

An 18-residue motif in the cytoplasmic tail of polycystic kidney disease gene product, fibrocystin, targets it to ciliary membranes through interactions with Rab8.

  L Li , M. J Halaby , A Hakem , R Cardoso , S El Ghamrasni , S Harding , N Chan , R Bristow , O Sanchez , D Durocher and R. Hakem

Signaling and repair of DNA double-strand breaks (DSBs) are critical for preventing immunodeficiency and cancer. These DNA breaks result from exogenous and endogenous DNA insults but are also programmed to occur during physiological processes such as meiosis and immunoglobulin heavy chain (IgH) class switch recombination (CSR). Recent studies reported that the E3 ligase RNF8 plays important roles in propagating DNA DSB signals and thereby facilitating the recruitment of various DNA damage response proteins, such as 53BP1 and BRCA1, to sites of damage. Using mouse models for Rnf8 mutation, we report that Rnf8 deficiency leads to impaired spermatogenesis and increased sensitivity to ionizing radiation both in vitro and in vivo. We also demonstrate the existence of alternative Rnf8-independent mechanisms that respond to irradiation and accounts for the partial recruitment of 53bp1 to sites of DNA damage in activated Rnf8–/– B cells. Remarkably, IgH CSR is impaired in a gene dose-dependent manner in Rnf8 mutant mice, revealing that these mice are immunodeficient. In addition, Rnf8–/– mice exhibit increased genomic instability and elevated risks for tumorigenesis indicating that Rnf8 is a novel tumor suppressor. These data unravel the in vivo pleiotropic effects of Rnf8.

  L Li , J. Y Lee , J Gross , S. H Song , A Dean and P. E. Love

During erythrocyte development, the nuclear cofactor Lim domain binding protein 1 (Ldb1) functions as a core subunit of multiprotein DNA binding complexes that include the transcription factors Scl and Gata-1 and the Lim-only adapter Lmo2. Scl, Gata-1, and Lmo2 are each required for erythropoiesis, suggesting that Ldb1-nucleated transcription complexes regulate key steps during erythropoiesis. We documented a requirement for Ldb1 in erythropoiesis in mice. Analysis of ldb1–/– embryos revealed a critical requirement for Ldb1 during primitive erythropoiesis, and conditional inactivation of ldb1 at later stages of gestation and in adult mice demonstrated that Ldb1 is continuously required for both definitive erythropoiesis and megakaryopoiesis. Down-regulation of Ldb1 in erythroblasts inhibited the expression of multiple erythroid-specific and prosurvival genes. These results represent the first unequivocal demonstration of a role for Ldb1 in erythropoiesis in vivo and establish a critical function for Ldb1-nucleated complexes in regulating the erythroid/megakaryocyte transcriptional program.

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