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Lihua Zhang - Top 30 Publications

Surface sieving coordinated IMAC material for purification of His-tagged proteins.

Tailor-made materials for the purification of proteins with His-tag was designed through synergizing the selectivity of surface sieving and metal ion affinity. By excluding impurity proteins out of the surface polymer network, such materials could purify His-tagged proteins from the crude cell lysis with purity up to 90%, improved by 14% compared to that obtained by the commercial metal chelating affinity materials. This study might promote the His-tagged protein purification to a new level.

A robust and effective intact protein fractionation strategy by GO/PEI/Au/PEG nanocomposites for human plasma proteome analysis.

Identification of human plasma proteins with deep coverage is considered as a great challenge due to its extreme complexity. In this work, an intact proteins fractionation strategy based on multi-interaction between proteins and GO/PEI/Au/PEG nanocomposites (GPAP strategy) was developed for human plasma proteome deep analysis. Compared with untreated method, the number of identified proteins was increased from 858 to 2023, among which the number of low-abundance proteins (< 100ng/mL) was increased from 2 to 11. The concentration range of the identified proteins was broaden to 9 orders of magnitude. Furthermore, the spectral count of the top three proteins in human plasma (Plasma Albumin, Human IgG, Serotransferrin) were decreased in the range of 37.4-82.6%. An excellent reproducibility of GPAP strategy was verified via stable isotope dimethyl label strategy. The functionalized material was demonstrated to be an efficient method to achieve deep coverage identification of human plasma proteome.

Removal of tetracycline by Fe/Ni bimetallic nanoparticles in aqueous solution.

This study investigated the degradation of tetracycline (TC) by Fe/Ni bimetallic nanoparticles (Fe/Ni BNPs) and nanoscale zero-valent iron (NZVI) in aqueous solution. Results revealed that Fe/Ni BNPs showed much better performance than NZVI. The effects of pH (5, 7 and 9), initial TC concentration and competitive anions (NO3(-), H2PO4(-), SO4(2-) and HCO3(-)) on the removal of TC by Fe/Ni BNPs were investigated. The results indicated that the removal of TC was higher under acidic conditions and the reaction reached equilibrium more quickly at lower initial TC concentrations. The presence of NO3(-) greatly hindered the removal of TC, while the other anions (i.e., H2PO4(-), SO4(2-) and HCO3(-)) exhibited less inhibition. The significant impact of NO3(-) was due to the fact that Fe/Ni BNPs could be consumed via redox reaction with NO3(-). Total organic carbon (TOC) and liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry (LC-MS) analysis shed light on the removal mechanisms of TC by Fe/Ni BNPs. The decrease of TOC in solution and the appearance of intermediate products on the surface of Fe/Ni BNPs indicated that both adsorption and degradation were involved in the reaction process. Based on the results of LC-MS, the detailed pathway of TC degradation by Fe/Ni BNPs was proposed.

2D molybdenum and vanadium nitrides synthesized by ammoniation of 2D transition metal carbides (MXenes).

MXenes are a rapidly growing class of 2D transition metal carbides and nitrides, finding applications in fields ranging from energy storage to electromagnetic interference shielding and transparent conductive coatings. However, while more than 20 carbide MXenes have already been synthesized, Ti4N3 and Ti2N are the only nitride MXenes reported so far. Here by ammoniation of Mo2CTx and V2CTx MXenes at 600 °C, we report on their transformation to 2D metal nitrides. Carbon atoms in the precursor MXenes are replaced with N atoms, resulting from the decomposition of ammonia molecules. The crystal structures of the resulting Mo2N and V2N were determined with transmission electron microscopy and X-ray pair distribution function analysis. Our results indicate that Mo2N retains the MXene structure and V2C transforms to a mixed layered structure of trigonal V2N and cubic VN. Temperature-dependent resistivity measurements of the nitrides reveal that they exhibit metallic conductivity, as opposed to semiconductor-like behavior of their parent carbides. As important, room-temperature electrical conductivity values of Mo2N and V2N are three and one order of magnitude larger than those of the Mo2CTx and V2CTx precursors, respectively. This study shows how gas treatment synthesis such as ammoniation can transform carbide MXenes into 2D nitrides with higher electrical conductivities and metallic behavior, opening a new avenue in 2D materials synthesis.

Interfaces between hexagonal and cubic oxides and their structure alternatives.

Multi-layer structure of functional materials often involves the integration of different crystalline phases. The film growth orientation thus frequently exhibits a transformation, owing to multiple possibilities caused by incompatible in-plane structural symmetry. Nevertheless, the detailed mechanism of the transformation has not yet been fully explored. Here we thoroughly probe the heteroepitaxially grown hexagonal zinc oxide (ZnO) films on cubic (001)-magnesium oxide (MgO) substrates using advanced scanning transition electron microscopy, X-ray diffraction and first principles calculations, revealing two distinct interface models of (001) ZnO/(001) MgO and (100) ZnO/(001) MgO. We have found that the structure alternatives are controlled thermodynamically by the nucleation, while kinetically by the enhanced Zn adsorption and O diffusion upon the phase transformation. This work not only provides a guideline for the interface fabrication with distinct crystalline phases but also shows how polar and non-polar hexagonal ZnO films might be manipulated on the same cubic substrate.

Physicochemical transformation of Fe/Ni bimetallic nanoparticles during aging in simulated groundwater and the consequent effect on contaminant removal.

To assess the fate and long-term reactivity of bimetallic nanoparticles used in groundwater remediation, it is important to trace the physicochemical transformation of nanoparticles during aging in water. This study investigated the short-term (within 5 d) and long-term (up to 90 d) aging process of Fe/Ni bimetallic nanoparticles (Fe/Ni BNPs) in simulated groundwater and the consequent effect on the particle reactivity. Results indicate that the morphological, compositional and structural transformation of Fe/Ni BNPs happened during the aging. In the 5-d short-term aging, Fe(0) corrosion occurred rapidly and was transformed to ferrous ions which were adsorbed onto the surface of Fe/Ni BNPs, accompanied by the elevation of solution pH and the negative redox potential. In the long-term aging, scanning electron microscopy (SEM) images show that the particles transformed from spherical to rod-like and further to sheet-like and needle-like. X-ray diffraction (XRD) analysis reveals that the main aging product was magnetite (Fe3O4) and/or maghemite (γ-Fe2O3) after aging for 60-90 d. Energy dispersive spectrometer (EDS) analysis demonstrates that the mass ratio of Fe/Ni increased with aging, revealing that Ni were possibly gradually entrapped and covered by the iron oxides. Besides, the release of Ni into solution was also detected during the aging. The reactivity of the aged Fe/Ni BNPs was examined by studying its performance in tetracycline (TC) removal. The aged Fe/Ni BNPs within 2 d kept similar removal efficiency of TC as the fresh particles. However, the removal efficiency of TC by Fe/Ni BNPs aged for 5-15 d dropped by 20-50% due to aggregation and oxidation of particles, and the removal efficiency further decreased slowly with the prolongation of aging time up to 90 d. This reveals that Fe/Ni BNPs were vulnerable to passivation in water environments.

lncRNAs PVT1 and HAR1A are prognosis biomarkers and indicate therapy outcome for diffuse glioma patients.

Diffuse gliomas are well known malignant brain tumors. Long non-coding RNAs (lncRNAs), a type of RNA transcript with more than 200 nucleotides, involve in tumorigenesis and development of various cancers. This study focused on identifying differentially expressed lncRNAs in gliomas based on gene expression profiling, and chose certain lncRNAs PVT1, CYTOR, HAR1A and MIAT, which changed with significant differences. Further analysis of TCGA and GEO data revealed that the expressions of PVT1 and CYTOR were up-regulated, while HAR1A and MIAT expressions were down-regulated in gliomas. Their expression patterns were validated in an independent cohort containing 98 glioma specimens and 12 non-tumor tissue controls. High expression of PVT1 and CYTOR as well as low HAR1A and MIAT expression were associated with high Ki-67 level and more TP53 mutation. Kaplan-Meier survival curve and Cox regression analyses showed that glioma patients with high PVT1 expression or low HAR1A expression had poor survival outcome, aberrantly expressed PVT1 and HAR1A could be the independent prognosis biomarkers for glioma patients. Moreover, down-regulation of PVT1 and up-regulation of HAR1A contributed to improve the survival of patients who received chemotherapy and radiotherapy. These results implied that these four lncRNAs might play important role in diffuse gliomas progression, particularly, PVT1 and HAR1A could be explored as promising biomarkers for diagnosis, prognosis and target therapy of diffuse gliomas.

CRTC2 promotes non-small cell lung cancer A549 migration and invasion in vitro.

CRTC2 is highly expressed in lung cancer and contributes to lung cancer pathogenesis; however, whether CRTC2 promotes lung cancer metastasis remains unknown. In the present study, we investigated the role of CRTC2 in lung cancer metastasis in vitro.

Bacterial community of a spider, Marpiss magister (Salticidae).

Arthropods are associated with various microorganisms which confer benefits to their hosts. Recently, research has been conducted on bacterial communities of insects to provide an insight into the potential interactions of the symbiotic bacteria and their hosts. Spiders are interesting to study as they are perceived to be natural enemies of pests. The effect of endosymbionts on spiders has been reported, but little is known about the overall bacterial communities present in spiders. Here, we report on the characterization of bacterial communities present in the whole body of the spider Marpiss magister using Illumina sequencing of 16S rRNA amplicons. Our study shows that the most abundant phyla of bacteria included Proteobacteria, Tenericutes, Bacteroidetes and Actinobacteria. At the genus level, the most abundant genera included Rickettsia, Wolbachia, Spiroplasma, and Cardinium. Besides these dominant endosymbionts, our study also showed the existence of bacteria in the genera Arthrobacter, Novosphingobium, Acinetobacter, Pseudomonas, Aquabacterium and Sphingomonas at an abundance ranging from 0.65 to 0.84%, and the existence of bacterial in genera Lactobacillus, Sphingobium, Methylobacterium, Bradyrhizobium, Propionibacterium, Brevundimonas, Achromobacter, Microbacterium, Corynebacterium, and Flavobacterium at a slightly lower abundance ranging from 0.1 to 0.5%. Therefore, our finding indicates that endosymbionts are not the only microbiota present in the spider M. magister, and other bacterial taxa also exist in its bacterial community.

Atomically Thin Femtojoule Memristive Device.

The morphology and dimension of the conductive filament formed in a memristive device are strongly influenced by the thickness of its switching medium layer. Aggressive scaling of this active layer thickness is critical toward reducing the operating current, voltage, and energy consumption in filamentary-type memristors. Previously, the thickness of this filament layer has been limited to above a few nanometers due to processing constraints, making it challenging to further suppress the on-state current and the switching voltage. Here, the formation of conductive filaments in a material medium with sub-nanometer thickness formed through the oxidation of atomically thin two-dimensional boron nitride is studied. The resulting memristive device exhibits sub-nanometer filamentary switching with sub-pA operation current and femtojoule per bit energy consumption. Furthermore, by confining the filament to the atomic scale, current switching characteristics are observed that are distinct from that in thicker medium due to the profoundly different atomic kinetics. The filament morphology in such an aggressively scaled memristive device is also theoretically explored. These ultralow energy devices are promising for realizing femtojoule and sub-femtojoule electronic computation, which can be attractive for applications in a wide range of electronics systems that desire ultralow power operation.

Sciatic neurosteatosis: Relationship with age, gender, obesity and height.

To evaluate inter-reader performance for cross-sectional area and fat quantification of bilateral sciatic nerves on MRI and assess correlations with anthropometrics.

Prion Protein Family Contributes to Tumorigenesis via Multiple Pathways.

A wealth of evidence suggests that proteins from prion protein (PrP) family contribute to tumorigenesis in many types of cancers, including pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC), breast cancer, glioblastoma, colorectal cancer, gastric cancer, melanoma, etc. It is well documented that PrP is a biomarker for PDAC, breast cancer, and gastric cancer. However, the underlying mechanisms remain unclear. The major reasons for cancer cell-caused patient death are metastasis and multiple drug resistance, both of which connect to physiological functions of PrP expressing in cancer cells. PrP enhances tumorigenesis by multiple pathways. For example, PrP existed as pro-PrP in most of the PDAC cell lines, thus increasing cancer cell motility by binding to cytoskeletal protein filamin A (FLNa). Using PDAC cell lines BxPC-3 and AsPC-1 as model system, we identified that dysfunction of glycosylphosphatidylinositol (GPI) anchor synthesis machinery resulted in the biogenesis of pro-PrP. In addition, in cancer cells without FLNa expression, pro-PrP can modify cytoskeleton structure by affecting cofilin/F-actin axis, thus influencing cancer cell movement. Besides pro-PrP, we showed that GPI-anchored unglycosylated PrP can elevate cell mobility by interacting with VEGFR2, thus stimulating cell migration under serum-free condition. Besides affecting cancer cell motility, overexpressed PrP or doppel (Dpl) in cancer cells has been shown to increase cell proliferation, multiple drug resistance, and angiogenesis, thus, proteins from PrP gene family by affecting important processes via multiple pathways for cancer cell growth exacerbating tumorigenesis.

High-sensitive detection of multiple allergenic proteins in infant food with high-resolution mass spectrometry.

A novel method of the simultaneous detection of multiple kinds of allergenic proteins in infant food with parallel reaction monitoring (PRM) mode using liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS) was established. In this method, unique peptides with good stability and high sensibility were used to quantify the corresponding allergenic proteins. Furthermore, multiple kinds of allergenic proteins are inspected simultaneously with high sensitivity. In addition, such method was successfully used for the detection of multiple allergenic proteins in infant food. As for the sample preparation for infant food, compared with the traditional acetone precipitation strategy, the protein extraction efficiency and capacity of resisting disturbance are both higher with in-situ filter-aided sample pretreatment (i-FASP) method. All allergenic proteins gave a good linear response with the correlation coefficients (R(2)) ≥ 0.99, and the largest concentration range of the allergenic proteins could be four orders of magnitude, and the lowest detection limit was 0.028 mg/L, which was better than that reported in references. Finally, the method was conveniently used to detect the allergens from four imported infant food real samples. All the results demonstrate that this novel strategy is of great significance for providing a rapid and reliable analytical technique for allergen proteomics.

Atlantoaxial Langerhans cell histiocytosis radiographic characteristics and corresponding prognosis analysis.

Langerhans cell histiocytosis (LCH) may affect atlas and axis, and there were very few published cases describing a characteristic of LCH of atlantoaxial.

"Thiol-ene" grafting of silica particles with three-dimensional branched copolymer for HILIC/cation-exchange chromatographic separation and N-glycopeptide enrichment.

Three-dimensional branched copolymer, with N,N'-methylene bisacrylamide as the crosslinker and 3-allyloxy-2-hydroxy-1-propane sulfonic acid sodium salt as the monomer, was grafted from silica particles by thiol-ene click reaction. The obtained hydrophilic material with sulfonic acid groups was successfully applied for chromatography separation and glycopeptide enrichment. The separation mechanism was proven as the mixed mode of hydrophilic interaction and cation-exchange by investigating the effect of various chromatographic factors on the retention of polar analytes. By such mixed-mode chromatography, nucleosides, nucleobases, and acidic compounds were successfully separated. The column efficiency was up to 136,000 theoretical plates m(-1) for cytidine, which was much higher than those of previous reports. Furthermore, benefitting from the large amount of hydrophilic groups provided by the branched copolymer, the material was used for the selective enrichment of glycopeptides. Results demonstrated the great potential of such material for chromatography separation and glycoproteome analysis. Graphical abstract The branched copolymer modified HILIC/cation-exchange particles [email protected](AHPS-co-MBAAm) were prepared via thiol-ene click copolymerization reaction. Such [email protected](AHPS-co-MBAAm) particles showed great performance in the separation of polar compounds and the enrichment of glycopeptides.

Incremental value of multiparametric whole-body MR imaging over whole spine magnetic resonance imaging in Neurofibromatosis type I patients.

To determine the incremental value of multiparametric whole-body (WBMRI) over whole spine magnetic resonance imaging (WSMRI) in neurofibromatosis type1 (NF1) patients.

Carboxymethyl chitosan/phospholipid bilayer-capped mesoporous carbon nanoparticles with pH-responsive and prolonged release properties for oral delivery of the antitumor drug, Docetaxel.

In this article, a new type of carboxymethyl chitosan/phospholipid bilayer-capped mesoporous carbon nanomatrix (CCS/PL/MC) was fabricated as a potential nano-drug delivery system. In this drug delivery system, a mesoporous carbon nanomatrix (MC) acts as the support for loading drug molecules, a positively charged phospholipid (PL) layer works as the inner shell for prolonged drug release and a negatively charged carboxymethyl chitosan (CCS) layer serves as the outer shell for pH-responsive drug release. Docetaxel (DTX) was selected as a model drug. The drug-loaded CCS/PL/MC was synthesized via a combination approach of double emulsion/solvent evaporation followed by lyophilization. The drug-loaded nanoparticles were characterized for their particle size, structure, morphology, zeta (ζ)-potential, specific surface area, porosity, drug loading and solid state. In vitro drug release tests showed that the drug-loaded CCS/PL/MC nanoparticles possess a good pH-sensitivity and prolonged releasing ability with negligible release in gastric media and controlled release in intestinal media. Compared with MC and PL-capped MC, CCS/PL/MC had a greater mucoadhesiveness. Moreover, cellular uptake study indicated that CCS/PL/MC might improve intracellular drug delivery. These results suggest that this hybrid nanocarrier, combining the beneficial features of CCS, PL and MC, is a promising drug delivery system able to improve the oral absorption of antitumor drugs.

Therapeutic Mechanism of Glucocorticoids on Cellular Crescent Formation in Patients With Antiglomerular Basement Membrane Disease.

This study aimed to explore the therapeutic mechanism of glucocorticoids (GCs) in antiglomerular basement membrane disease.

Aptamer-immobilized open tubular capillary column to capture circulating tumor cells for proteome analysis.

Circulating tumor cells hold the key to predicting the prognosis and discovering the therapeutic targets. Herein, we proposed a strategy to develop an aptamer-immobilized open tubular capillary column by which SMMC-7721 human hepatoma cells (SMMC-7721 cells) could be captured with an over 70% of capture efficiency and a 3.0 ± 0.2 of enrichment factor. Owing to the compatibility of the column, the captured cells by the column could be analyzed by LC-MS from protein level and 5 unique proteins of SMMC-7721 cells were identified which could be used as markers to identify SMMC-7721 cells when Jurkat T-leukemia cells (Jurkat cells) were employed as interfering cells. As the key component, the aptamer-immobilized column had the potential to be integrated into the platform for separating, enriching and characterizing rare cells simultaneously.

Colonization prevalence and antibiotic susceptibility of Group B Streptococcus in pregnant women over a 6-year period in Dongguan, China.

This study investigated the prevalence of recto-vaginal Group B Streptococcus (GBS) colonization, serotype distribution, and antimicrobial susceptibility patterns among pregnant women in Dongguan, China. Recto-vaginal swabs were collected from pregnant women at gestational age 35-37 weeks between January 1st 2009 and December 31st 2014. Isolates were serotyped by latex-agglutination and were tested against seven antimicrobials by disk diffusion. Of 7,726 pregnant women who completed GBS testing, 636 (8.2%) were GBS carriers. Of 153 GBS isolates available for typing, 6 serotypes (Ia, Ib, III, V, VI and VIII) were identified with type III being predominant, while 9 (5.9%) were non-typable isolates. All isolates were sensitive to penicillin, ceftriaxone, linezolid and vancomycin, whereas 52.4% were resistant to clindamycin, 25.9% were resistant to levofloxacin and 64.9% were resistant to erythromycin. This study showed the recto-vaginal colonization prevalence of GBS in Dongguan is significant. Due to 100% susceptibility to penicillin of all GBS samples, penicillin remains the first recommendation for treatment and prevention against GBS infection. Susceptibility testing should be performed for women allergic to penicillin in order to choose the most appropriate antibacterial agents for treatment and prevention of vertical transmission to neonates. In addition, we suggest establishing standard processes for GBS culture and identification in China as early as possible.

Proteomics Investigations into Serum Proteins Adsorbed by High-Flux and Low-Flux Dialysis Membranes.

Hemodialysis is one of the most important therapies for patients with uremia, and the dialysis membrane is the predominant factor that impacts the efficiency of dialysis. Here, a protein adsorption on two different membranes is investigated to provide a basis for improving dialysis materials. Two cases treated with the Polyflux 14L low-flux dialyzer and the Polyflux 140H high-flux dialyzers during two continuous therapies are selected. Four used dialyzers from selected patients are infused with C12Im-Cl to elute the adsorbed proteins. Then labeled digested proteins adsorb by Polyflux 140H and Polyflux 14L with (13) CD2 O and NaCNBD3 (light labeling, L) and CD2 O and NaCNBH3 (heavy labeling, H), respectively. Liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS) is used to identify the proteins. According to the ratio (Light labeling/Heavy labeling), the eluted proteins are divided into three groups: significantly higher, significantly lower, and no significant differences with a ratio of >2, <0.5, and 0.5-2, respectively. A total of 668 proteins are identified by LC-MS/MS, among which 177 proteins are retained more by the Polyflux 140H membrane (ratio >2), 320 proteins are retained more by the Polyflux 14L membrane (ratio <0.5), and 171 proteins show no significant difference (ratio 0.5-2) between the two types of membranes. Statistical significance is shown in the percentage of adsorbed proteins with an isoelectric point (pI) ranging from 9 to 10 (19.08 versus 7.69%; χ(2) = 11.87, p = 0.0006). Proteins with a molecular weight (MW) of 10-15 kDa tend to deposit on Polyflux 140H compared with Polyflux 14L (25 versus 9.23%; χ(2) = 18.66, p = 0.0000) and proteins with a MW of 30-60 kDa tend to deposit on Polyflux 14L compared with Polyflux 140H (36.54 versus 22.37%; χ(2) = 8.96, p = 0.0028). According to gene ontology analysis, the proteins adsorbed by dialysis membranes are closely related to activation of complement system and the coagulation cascade. The proteins adsorbed by Polyflux 140H and Polyflux 14L show significant differences in PI, MW, and protein class. Proteomic techniques are an effective approach for studying hemodialysis membranes.

Quantum dots-based lateral flow immunoassay combined with image analysis for semiquantitative detection of IgE antibody to mite.

Semiquantitative and rapid detection of specific IgE (sIgE) with well clinical relevance to house dust mite (HDM) are promising for prevalence rhinitis and asthma patients due to the increasing air pollution. However, the conventional IgE measurement systems are time-consuming, complicated and require special instruments. Herein, we overcome the above limitations of sIgE to HDM detection system by developing a quantum dot nanobeads-based lateral flow immunoassay and an image analysis procedure. The proposed detection system could semiquantitatively measure the IgE in a linear range of 0.2-10 U/mL. Moreover, there is a well correlation between the developed detection system and the clinical symptoms by a comparison study using 56 positive patients' sera and 40 healthy control sera. The proposed detection system is simple, robust and easy-to-use and promising for in home test.

Novel Surgical Technique of Peeled Internal Limiting Membrane Reposition for Idiopathic Macular Holes.

Enhanced performance of microbial fuel cell with in situ preparing dual graphene modified bioelectrode.

This study proposed a three-step method to prepare dual graphene modified bioelectrode (D-GM-BE) by in situ microbial-induced reduction of GO and polarity reversion in microbial fuel cell (MFC). Both graphene modified bioanode (GM-BA) and biocathode (GM-BC) were of 3D graphene/biofilm architectures; the viability and thickness of microbial biofilm decreased compared with control bioelectrode (C-BE). The coulombic efficiency (CE) of GM-BA was 2.1 times of the control bioanode (C-BA), which demonstrated higher rate of substrates oxidation; the relationship between peak current and scan rates data meant that GM-BC was of higher efficiency of catalyzing oxygen reduction than the control biocathode (C-BC). The maximum power density obtained in D-GM-BE MFC was 122.4±6.9mWm(-2), the interfacial charge transfer resistance of GM-BA and GM-BC were decreased by 79% and 75.7%. The excellent electrochemical performance of D-GM-BE MFC was attributed to the enhanced extracellular electron transfer (EET) process and catalyzing oxygen reduction.

Comparative Mapping of Seed Dormancy Loci Between Tropical and Temperate Ecotypes of Weedy Rice (Oryza sativa L.).

Genotypic variation at multiple loci for seed dormancy (SD) contributes to plant adaptation to diverse ecosystems. Weedy rice (Oryza sativa) was used as a model to address the similarity of SD genes between distinct ecotypes. A total of 12 quantitative trait loci (QTL) for SD were identified in one primary and two advanced backcross (BC) populations derived from a temperate ecotype of weedy rice (34.3°N Lat.). Nine (75%) of the 12 loci were mapped to the same positions as those identified from a tropical ecotype of weedy rice (7.1°N Lat.). The high similarity suggested that the majority of SD genes were conserved during the ecotype differentiation. These common loci are largely those collocated/linked with the awn, hull color, pericarp color, or plant height loci. Phenotypic correlations observed in the populations support the notion that indirect selections for the wild-type morphological characteristics, together with direct selections for germination time, were major factors influencing allelic distributions of SD genes across ecotypes. Indirect selections for crop-mimic traits (e.g., plant height and flowering time) could also alter allelic frequencies for some SD genes in agroecosystems. In addition, 3 of the 12 loci were collocated with segregation distortion loci, indicating that some gametophyte development genes could also influence the genetic equilibria of SD loci in hybrid populations. The SD genes with a major effect on germination across ecotypes could be used as silencing targets to develop transgene mitigation (TM) strategies to reduce the risk of gene flow from genetically modified crops into weed/wild relatives.

The Arabidopsis Cys2/His2 zinc finger transcription factor ZAT18 is a positive regulator of plant tolerance to drought stress.

Environmental stress poses a global threat to plant growth and reproduction, especially drought stress. Zinc finger proteins comprise a family of transcription factors that play essential roles in response to various abiotic stresses. Here, we found that ZAT18 (At3g53600), a nuclear C2H2 zinc finger protein, was transcriptionally induced by dehydration stress. Overexpression (OE) of ZAT18 in Arabidopsis improved drought tolerance while mutation of ZAT18 resulted in decreased plant tolerance to drought stress. ZAT18 was preferentially expressed in stems, siliques, and vegetative rosette leaves. Subcellular location results revealed that ZAT18 protein was predominantly localized in the nucleus. ZAT18 OE plants exhibited less leaf water loss, lower content of reactive oxygen species (ROS), higher leaf water content, and higher antioxidant enzyme activities after drought treatment when compared with the wild type (WT). RNA sequencing analysis showed that 423 and 561 genes were transcriptionally modulated by the ZAT18 transgene before and after drought treatment, respectively. Pathway enrichment analysis indicated that hormone metabolism, stress, and signaling were over-represented in ZAT18 OE lines. Several stress-responsive genes including COR47, ERD7, LEA6, and RAS1, and hormone signaling transduction-related genes including JAZ7 and PYL5 were identified as putative target genes of ZAT18. Taken together, ZAT18 functions as a positive regulator and plays a crucial role in the plant response to drought stress.

The comparison of Se(IV) and Se(VI) sequestration by nanoscale zero-valent iron in aqueous solutions: The roles of solution chemistry.

The sequestration of Se(IV) and Se(VI) by nanoscale zero-valent iron (NZVI) particles were compared under different solution conditions. Firstly, the comparison was conducted at three pH values (4.0, 6.0 and 8.0) in deionized water. Generally, the removal of Se(IV)/Se(VI) by NZVI was more rapid under acidic conditions and the removal efficiency of Se(IV) was much higher than that of Se(VI). Moreover, the pH variation exhibited much larger influence on the sequestration of Se(VI) than that of Se(IV) by NZVI. The spectroscopic analysis showed that both the Se(IV) and Se(VI) were reduced to Se(0) and Se(2-), while NZVI was transformed into iron (hydr)oxides. When the selenium-NZVI reactions occurred in synthetic groundwater, all the reaction systems were inhibited in varying degrees. The individual effects of humic acid (HA) and typical inorganic ions were also examined. It seems that HA could substantially hinder the sequestration of Se(IV) compared with that in deionized water, while sulfate (SO4(2-)) and bicarbonate (HCO3(-)) inhibited the Se(VI) removal significantly. Notably, the presence of cations (i.e., Na(+) or Ca(2+)) ions did not cause obvious interference to the Se(IV)/Se(VI) removal by NZVI, while the presence of Ca(2+) could alleviate the adverse effect of HA on Se(IV) removal to some degree.

Co-expression analysis among microRNAs, long non-coding RNAs, and messenger RNAs to understand the pathogenesis and progression of diabetic kidney disease at the genetic level.

Diabetic kidney disease (DKD) is a serious disease that presents a major health problem worldwide. There is a desperate need to explore novel biomarkers to further facilitate the early diagnosis and effective treatment in DKD patients, thus preventing them from developing end-stage renal disease (ESRD). However, most regulation mechanisms at the genetic level in DKD still remain unclear. In this paper, we describe our innovative methodologies that integrate biological, computational, and statistical approaches to investigate important roles performed by regulations among microRNAs (miRs), long non-coding RNAs (lncRNAs), and messenger RNAs (mRNAs) in DKD. We conducted fully transparent, rigorously designed experiments. Our robust and reproducible results identified hsa-miR-223-3p as a candidate novel biomarker performing important roles in DKD disease process.

Bacterial community shift and incurred performance in response to in situ microbial self-assembly graphene and polarity reversion in microbial fuel cell.

In this work, bacterial community shift and incurred performance of graphene modified bioelectrode (GM-BE) in microbial fuel cell (MFC) were illustrated by high throughput sequencing technology and electrochemical analysis. The results showed that Firmicutes occupied 48.75% in graphene modified bioanode (GM-BA), while Proteobacteria occupied 62.99% in graphene modified biocathode (GM-BC), both were dominant bacteria in phylum level respectively. Typical exoelectrogens, including Geobacter, Clostridium, Pseudomonas, Geothrix and Hydrogenophaga, were counted 26.66% and 17.53% in GM-BA and GM-BC. GM-BE was tended to decrease the bacterial diversity and enrich the dominant species. Because of the enrichment of exoelectrogens and excellent electrical conductivity of graphene, the maximum power density of MFC with GM-BA and GM-BC increased 33.1% and 21.6% respectively, and the transfer resistance decreased 83.8% and 73.6% compared with blank bioelectrode. This study aimed to enrich the microbial study in MFC and broaden the development and application for bioelectrode.

Metabolic engineering of Escherichia coli to high efficient synthesis phenylacetic acid from phenylalanine.

Phenylacetic acid (PAA) is a fine chemical with a high industrial demand for its widespread uses. Whereas, microorganic synthesis of PAA is impeded by the formation of by-product phenethyl alcohol due to quick, endogenous, and superfluous conversion of aldehydes to their corresponding alcohols, which resulted in less conversation of PAA from aldehydes. In this study, an Escherichia coli K-12 MG1655 strain with reduced aromatic aldehyde reduction (RARE) that does duty for a platform for aromatic aldehyde biosynthesis was used to prompt more PAA biosynthesis. We establish a microbial biosynthetic pathway for PAA production from the simple substrate phenylalanine in E. coli with heterologous coexpression of aminotransferase (ARO8), keto acid decarboxylase (KDC) and aldehyde dehydrogenase H (AldH) gene. It was found that PAA transformation yield was up to ~94% from phenylalanine in E. coli and there was no by-product phenethyl alcohol was detected. Our results reveal the high efficiency of the RARE strain for production of PAA and indicate the potential industrial applicability of this microbial platform for PAA biosynthesis.