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Lihua Zhang - Top 30 Publications

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, we investigated protein adsorption on two different membranes to provide a basis for improving dialysis materials.

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.

MicroRNA Regulatory Networks as Biomarkers in Obesity: The Emerging Role.

Even though it is a pandemic health problem worldwide, the pathogenesis of obesity is poorly understood. Recently, emerging studies verified that microRNAs (miRNAs) are involved in complicated metabolic processes including adipocyte differentiation, fat cell formation (adipogenesis), obesity-related insulin resistance and inflammation. Many regulatory networks have been identified in murine adipose tissue, but those in human adipose tissue are not as well known. In addition, miRNAs have been detected in circulation, and thus may be usable as diagnostic indicators. MiRNAs may play an important part in regulating metabolic functions in adipose tissues and, by extension, obesity and its associated disorders. Consequently, they may be potential candidates for therapeutic targets and biomarkers.

Enzymatic Reactor with Trypsin Immobilized on Graphene Oxide Modified Polymer Microspheres To Achieve Automated Proteome Quantification.

Protein digestion and isotope labeling are two critical steps in proteome quantification. However, the conventional in-solution protocol unavoidably suffers from disadvantages such as time-consuming, low labeling efficiency, and tedious off-line manual operation, which might affect the quantification accuracy, reproducibility, and throughput. To address these problems, we developed a fully automated proteome quantification platform, in which an ultraperformance immobilized microreactor (upIMER) with graphene-oxide-modified polymer microspheres as the matrix was developed, to achieve not only the simultaneous protein digestion and (18)O labeling, but also the online integration with nano-high-pressure liquid chromatography-electrospray ionization-tandem mass spectrometry (nanoHPLC-ESI-MS/MS). Compared to the conventional off-line protocols, such a platform exhibits obviously improved digestion and (18)O labeling efficiency (only 8% peptides with missed cleavage sites, 99% labeling efficiency, and 2.5 min reaction time), leading to the increased quantification coverage, accuracy, precision and throughput. All the results demonstrated that our developed fully automated platform should provide new opportunities to improve the accuracy, reproducibility, and throughput for proteome quantification.

Biosynthesis of the fatty acid isopropyl esters by engineered Escherichia coli.

The fatty acid methyl esters and fatty acid ethyl esters are known as biodiesels which are considered to be renewable, nontoxic and biodegradable biofuels. However, the conventional biodiesels show a high crystallization temperature which is one of the most critical obstacles against the widespread biodiesel usage. The high crystallization temperature of biodiesel can be reduced by replacing the methyl or ethyl ester with an isopropyl moiety. Here we report on a strategy to establish biosynthesis of the fatty acid isopropyl esters(FAIPEs) from the simple substrate glucose in Escherichia coli with heterologous coexpression of atoB encoded acetyl-CoA acetyltransferase and atoAD encode acetoacetyl-CoA transferase from E. coli, ADC encode acetoacetate decarboxylase from Clostridium acetobutylicum, ADH encoded NADP-dependent alcohol dehydrogenase from Clostridium beijerinckii, 'TesA encoded a truncated fatty acyl-ACP thioesterase and FadD encoded fatty acyl-CoA synthetase from E. coli, and the WS/DGAT encoded acyltransferase from Acinetobacter baylyi strain ADP1. It was found that the yield of FAIPEs was up to 203.4mg/L and accounted for around 6.4% (wt/wt) of the dry cell weight. Our results indicates that it is a feasible strategy to improve the yield of FAIPEs by increasing fatty acyl-CoA availability in biosynthetic pathway and exhibit a promising method for production of biodiesels with good low-temperature flow properties.

Bacterial community shift and improved performance induced by in situ preparing dual graphene modified bioelectrode in microbial fuel cell.

Dual graphene modified bioelectrode (D-GM-BE) was prepared by in situ microbial-induced reduction of graphene oxide (GO) and polarity reversion in microbial fuel cell (MFC). Next Generation Sequencing technology was used to elucidate bacterial community shift in response to improved performance in D-GM-BE MFC. The results indicated an increase in the relative ratio of Proteobacteria, but a decrease of Firmicutes was observed in graphene modified bioanode (GM-BA); increase of Proteobacteria and Firmicutes were observed in graphene modified biocathode (GM-BC). Genus analysis demonstrated that GM-BE was beneficial to enrich electrogens. Typical exoelectrogens were accounted for 13.02% and 8.83% in GM-BA and GM-BC. Morphology showed that both GM-BA and GM-BC formed 3D-like graphene/biofilm architectures and revealed that the biofilm viability and thickness would decrease to some extent when GM-BE was formed. D-GM-BE MFC obtained the maximum power density by 124.58±6.32mWm(-2), which was 2.34 times over C-BE MFC.

The prognostic value of D-dimer levels in endometrial cancer patients treated with intensity-modulated radiation therapy.

Explain the important role of plasma D-dimer in cancers. Plasma D-dimer is increased in various tumors. However, the predictive value of plasma D-dimer is unclear. This study is aimed to evaluate the prognostic value of the D-dimer level in patients managed with intensity-modulated radiation for endometrial cancer. The D-dimer levels of forty patients with endometrial cancer were assessed before (D1) and after (D2) intensity-modulated radiation therapy (IMRT), respectively. The D-dimer level changes (ΔD) were defined as D2 minus D1. Cox regression and log-rank tests were used to evaluate the D-dimer levels in relation to progression free survival (PFS) and overall survival (OS). The OS and PFS of patients with a low D1 were significantly longer than those with a high D1 (P< 0.001, P< 0.001). We saw the similar correlation between D2, PFS and OS (P< 0.001, P< 0.001). Multivariate survival analyses showed that D-dimer was independently associated with OS and PFS in patients with endometrial cancer. The ΔD level was not related to the OS and PFS in endometrial cancer patients. The levels of D-dimer may be considered as an important predictor of PFS and OS in endometrial cancer patients treated with IMRT.

Metabolic engineering of Escherichia coli for production of 2-Phenylethylacetate from L-phenylalanine.

In order to meet the need of consumer preferences for natural flavor compounds, microbial synthesis method has become a very attractive alternative to the chemical production. The 2-phenylethanol (2-PE) and its ester 2-phenylethylacetate (2-PEAc) are two extremely important flavor compounds with a rose-like odor. In recent years, Escherichia coli and yeast have been metabolically engineered to produce 2-PE. However, a metabolic engineering approach for 2-PEAc production is rare. Here, we designed and expressed a 2-PEAc biosynthetic pathway in E. coli. This pathway comprised four steps: aminotransferase (ARO8) for transamination of L-phenylalanine to phenylpyruvate, 2-keto acid decarboxylase KDC for the decarboxylation of the phenylpyruvate to phenylacetaldehyde, aldehyde reductase YjgB for the reduction of phenylacetaldehyde to 2-PE, alcohol acetyltransferase ATF1 for the esterification of 2-PE to 2-PEAc. Using the engineered E. coli strain for shake flasks cultivation with 1 g/L L-phenylalanine, we achieved co-production of 268 mg/L 2-PEAc and 277 mg/L 2-PE. Our results suggest that approximately 65% of L-phenylalanine was utilized toward 2-PEAc and 2-PE biosynthesis and thus demonstrate potential industrial applicability of this microbial platform.

In-Depth Proteome Coverage by Improving Efficiency for Membrane Proteome Analysis.

Although great achievement has been made in the mapping of human proteome, the efficiency of sample preparation still needs to be improved, especially for membrane proteins. Herein, we presented a novel method to deepen proteome coverage by the sequential extraction of proteins using urea and 1-dodecyl-3- methylimidazolium chloride (C12Im-Cl). With such a strategy, the commonly lost hydrophobic proteins by 8 M urea extraction could be further recovered by C12Im-Cl, as well as the suppression effect of high abundance soluble proteins could be decreased. Followed by the in situ sample preparation and separation with different stationary phases, more than 9810 gene products could be identified, covering 8 orders of magnitude in abundance, which was, to the best of our knowledge, the largest data set of HeLa cell proteome. Compared with previous work, not only the number of proteins identified was obviously increased, but also the analysis time was shortened to a few days. Therefore, we expect that such a strategy has great potential applications to achieve unprecedented coverage for proteome analysis.

Formation of CuO nano-flowered surfaces via submerged photo-synthesis of crystallites and their antimicrobial activity.

We report the fabrication of flower-like CuO nanostructured surfaces via submerged photo-synthesis of crystallites (SPSC), which requires only UV illumination in neutral water. In this paper, we discuss the reaction mechanism of the photochemical formation of the SPSC-fabricated CuO nanostructures in detail based on surface microstructural analyses and a radiation-chemical consideration with additional gamma-ray irradiation. Since the SPSC method for surface nanostructural fabrication can work at low temperatures at atmospheric pressure without using harmful substances, it is a potential fabrication method for green nanotechnology applications. In this vein, the antibacterial activity of the nano-flowered CuO surfaces was tested against Gram-positive (Staphylococcus aureus) bacteria and Gram-negative (Escherichia coli K12) bacteria, and the results demonstrate that the nano-flowered CuO nanostructures act as an effective antimicrobial agent.

Aberration-Corrected Electron Beam Lithography at the One Nanometer Length Scale.

Patterning materials efficiently at the smallest length scales is a longstanding challenge in nanotechnology. Electron-beam lithography (EBL) is the primary method for patterning arbitrary features, but EBL has not reliably provided sub-4 nm patterns. The few competing techniques that have achieved this resolution are orders of magnitude slower than EBL. In this work, we employed an aberration-corrected scanning transmission electron microscope for lithography to achieve unprecedented resolution. Here we show aberration-corrected EBL at the one nanometer length scale using poly(methyl methacrylate) (PMMA) and have produced both the smallest isolated feature in any conventional resist (1.7 ± 0.5 nm) and the highest density patterns in PMMA (10.7 nm pitch for negative-tone and 17.5 nm pitch for positive-tone PMMA). We also demonstrate pattern transfer from the resist to semiconductor and metallic materials at the sub-5 nm scale. These results indicate that polymer-based nanofabrication can achieve feature sizes comparable to the Kuhn length of PMMA and ten times smaller than its radius of gyration. Use of aberration-corrected EBL will increase the resolution, speed, and complexity in nanomaterial fabrication.

Surfactant-Free Shape Control of Gold Nanoparticles Enabled by Unified Theoretical Framework of Nanocrystal Synthesis.

Gold nanoparticles have unique properties that are highly dependent on their shape and size. Synthetic methods that enable precise control over nanoparticle morphology currently require shape-directing agents such as surfactants or polymers that force growth in a particular direction by adsorbing to specific crystal facets. These auxiliary reagents passivate the nanoparticles' surface, and thus decrease their performance in applications like catalysis and surface-enhanced Raman scattering. Here, a surfactant- and polymer-free approach to achieving high-performance gold nanoparticles is reported. A theoretical framework to elucidate the growth mechanism of nanoparticles in surfactant-free media is developed and it is applied to identify strategies for shape-controlled syntheses. Using the results of the analyses, a simple, green-chemistry synthesis of the four most commonly used morphologies: nanostars, nanospheres, nanorods, and nanoplates is designed. The nanoparticles synthesized by this method outperform analogous particles with surfactant and polymer coatings in both catalysis and surface-enhanced Raman scattering.

One-Pot Sintering Strategy for Efficient Fabrication of High-Performance and Multifunctional Graphene Foams.

Macroscopic three-dimensional (3D) graphene foams (GFs) were fabricated efficiently by immediately sintering low-temperature exfoliated graphene powder under inert atmosphere at the temperature over 500 °C. The one-pot sintering process not only integrated two-dimensional (2D) graphene sheets into 3D GF, but also accelerated the structural integrity of graphene by inducing its deoxygenation and repairing the defects. More importantly, the whole process could be finished within hours, usually less than 12 h, and the resultant GFs with interconnected graphene framework as well as meso- and macroporous structure exhibited exceptional attenuating performance for high-frequency electromagnetic interference and adsorption capacities for organic pollutants. In comparison with conventional hydro/solvothermal, sol-gel chemistry, sol-freezing, and templating methods, our sintering strategy possesses more advantages in maneuverability, efficiency, and repeatability, benefiting for the mass production of high-performance and multifunctional GFs.

HBx represses RIZ1 expression by DNA methyltransferase 1 involvement in decreased miR-152 in hepatocellular carcinoma.

Hepatitis B virus (HBV) is mainly suspected to promote hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) development by epigenetic alteration. The HBV X protein (HBx) plays a key role in the molecular pathogenesis of HBV-related HCC. However, the mechanism of HBx-mediated hepatocarcinogenesis remains to be elucidated. RIZ1 gene, a candidate HCC suppressor gene, is frequently found to be hypermethylated and downregulated in HCC. In the present study, we show that the expression of RIZ1 was downregulated in 65% HCC tissues. Decreased expression of RIZ1 was restored by 5'-Aza in MHCC-97H HCC cell lines. HBx recombinant transfection increased DNMT1 expression level and suppressed RIZ1 expression. Moreover, knockdown of DNMT1 by siRNA restored RIZ1 expression in HCC cell SMMC-7721 and reduced methylated CpG sites of RIZ1. ChIP results showed that DNMT1 protein could bind to RIZ1 promoter, and this interaction was further enhanced with the transfected HBX recombinant. Moreover, miR-152 was decreased and involved in upregulation of DNMT1 in HBx transfected cells, at least partly, contributed to the epigenetic inactivation of RIZ1. Taken together, our data found that HBx repressed RIZ1 expression via DNMT1, which offered a new mechanism of RIZ1 inactivation in HCC, except for the widely known DNA methylation. These results enriched the epigenetic mechanism by which HBx contributes to pathogenesis of HBV-HCC.

Down-regulation of mediator complex subunit 19 (Med19) induces apoptosis in human laryngocarcinoma HEp2 cells in an Apaf-1-dependent pathway.

Mediator 19 (Med19) is a component of the mediator complex which is a co-activator for DNA-binding factors that activate transcription via RNA polymerase II. Accumulating evidence has shown that Med19 plays important roles in cancer cell proliferation and tumorigenesis. The physiological mechanism by which Med19 exerts its promoting effects in laryngocarcinoma is not yet fully understood. Here, we found that the expression of Med19 was increased in laryngocarcinoma samples from patients compared to normal bone tissues. Med19 knockdown significantly induced growth inhibition and suppressed migration in the HEp2 cell lines. Med19 knockdown also induced apoptosis in HEp2 cells via activation of caspase-3, 9 and Apaf-1. In addition, The tumorigenicity of Med19 short hairpin RNA (shRNA)-expressing cells were decreased after inoculating into nude mice. Taken together, our data suggest that Med19 acts as an oncogene in laryngocarcinoma via a possible caspase modulation pathway.

VaERD15, a Transcription Factor Gene Associated with Cold-Tolerance in Chinese Wild Vitis amurensis.

Early responsive to dehydration (ERD) genes can be rapidly induced to counteract abiotic stresses, such as drought, low temperatures or high salinities. Here, we report on an ERD gene (VaERD15) related to cold tolerance from Chinese wild Vitis amurensis accession 'Heilongjiang seedling'. The full-length VaERD15 cDNA is 685 bp, including a 66 bp 5'-untranslated region (UTR), a 196 bp 3'-UTR region and a 423 bp open reading frame encoding 140 amino acids. The VaERD15 protein shares a high amino acid sequence similarity with ERD15 of Arabidopsis thaliana. In our study, VaERD15 was shown to have a nucleic localization function and a transcriptional activation function. Semi-quantitative PCR and Western blot analyses showed that VaERD15 was constitutively expressed in young leaves, stems and roots of V. amurensis accession 'Heilongjiang seedling' plants, and expression levels increased after low-temperature treatment. We also generated a transgenic Arabidopsis Col-0 line that over-expressed VaERD15 and carried out a cold-treatment assay. Real-time quantitative PCR (qRT-PCR) and Western blot analyses showed that as the duration of cold treatment increased, the expression of both gene and protein levels increased continuously in the transgenic plants, while almost no expression was detected in the wild type Arabidopsis. Moreover, the plants that over-expressed VaERD15 showed higher cold tolerance and accumulation of proline, soluble sugars, proteins, malondialdehyde and three antioxidases (superoxide dismutase, peroxidase, and catalase). Lower levels of relative ion leakage also occurred under cold stress. Taken together, our results indicate that the transcription factor VaERD15 was induced by cold stress and was able to enhance cold tolerance.

High-Indexed Pt3Ni Alloy Tetrahexahedral Nanoframes Evolved through Preferential CO Etching.

Chemically controlling crystal structures in nanoscale is challenging, yet provides an effective way to improve catalytic performances. Pt-based nanoframes are a new class of nanomaterials that have great potential as high-performance catalysts. To date, these nanoframes are formed through acid etching in aqueous solutions, which demands long reaction time and often yields ill-defined surface structures. Herein we demonstrate a robust and unprecedented protocol for facile development of high-performance nanoframe catalysts using size and crystallographic facet-controlled PtNi4 tetrahexahedral nanocrystals prepared through a colloidal synthesis approach as precursors. This new protocol employs the Mond process to preferentially dealloy nickel component in the ⟨100⟩ direction through carbon monoxide etching of carbon-supported PtNi4 tetrahexahedral nanocrystals at an elevated temperature. The resultant Pt3Ni alloy tetrahexahedral nanoframes possess an open, stable, and high-indexed microstructure, containing a segregated Pt thin layer strained to the Pt-Ni alloy surfaces and featuring a down-shift d-band center as revealed by the density functional theory calculations. These nanoframes exhibit much improved catalytic performance, such as high stability under prolonged electrochemical potential cycles, promoting direct electro-oxidation of formic acid to carbon dioxide and enhancing oxygen reduction reaction activities. Because carbon monoxide can be generated from the carbon support through thermal annealing in air, a common process for pretreating supported catalysts, the developed approach can be easily adopted for preparing industrial scale catalysts that are made of Pt-Ni and other alloy nanoframes.

The impact of silver nanoparticles on the co-composting of sewage sludge and agricultural waste: Evolutions of organic matter and nitrogen.

This study evaluated the influence of silver nanoparticles (AgNPs) on evolutions of organic matter and nitrogen during co-composting of sewage sludge and agricultural waste. Two co-composting piles were conducted, one was treated without AgNPs (pile 1) and the other with AgNPs (pile 2). Results showed that the AgNPs affected the quality of final composts. Less organic matter (OM) losses were determined in pile 2 (57.96%) than pile 1 (61.66%). 27.22% and 30.1% of the initial total organic matter (TOC) was decomposed in pile 1 and pile 2, respectively. The final water soluble carbon (WSC) concentration in pile 2 was 23559.27mg/kg DW compost which was significantly lower than pile 1 (25642.75mg/kg DW compost). Changes of different forms of nitrogen in the two piles showed that AgNPs could reduce the losses of TN but increase the losses of mineral N.