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Meng Yao - Top 30 Publications

Exogenous DCPTA Ameliorates Simulated Drought Conditions by Improving the Growth and Photosynthetic Capacity of Maize Seedlings.

Previous reports have indicated that 2-(3,4-dichlorophenoxy)triethylamine (DCPTA) can promote the growth and photosynthetic capacity of plants. However, only a small number of these studies have focused on crops, and few reports have focused on whether DCPTA affects stress tolerance. In this study, maize (Zea mays L.) seedlings were pretreated with or without DCPTA and then exposed to drought stress in a controlled growth room for 7 days, and the growth and photosynthesis indexes of the seedlings were investigated. The DCPTA treatment partly counteracted the observed decreases in biomass, net photosynthetic rate (Pn), stomatal conductance (Gs), transpiration rate (Tr), effective photochemical efficiency of photosystem II (ΦPSII), maximum photochemical efficiency of PSII (Fv/Fm), non-photochemical quenching (NPQ), and photosynthetic pigment content and increased the minimal fluorescence (Fo) induced by drought stress. The DCPTA treatment also alleviated the damage induced by drought stress in the photosynthetic apparatus. In addition, DCPTA pretreatment simultaneously increased the root size (e.g., the length, surface area, and volume) and root hydraulic conductivity, which promoted the maintenance of higher relative leaf water contents (RLWCs) under stress conditions. These results indicate that exogenous DCPTA ameliorates simulated drought conditions by improving the growth and photosynthetic capacity of maize seedlings.

Regulation of bacteria population behaviors by AI-2 "consumer cells" and "supplier cells".

Autoinducer-2 (AI-2) is a universal signal molecule and enables an individual bacteria to communicate with each other and ultimately control behaviors of the population. Harnessing the character of AI-2, two kinds of AI-2 "controller cells" ("consumer cells" and "supplier cells") were designed to "reprogram" the behaviors of entire population.

Trichostatin A attenuates oxidative stress-mediated myocardial injury through the FoxO3a signaling pathway.

Trichostatin A (TSA), a histone deacetylase inhibitor, is widely used as an anticancer drug. Recently, TSA has been shown to exert a protective effect on ischemia/reperfusion (I/R) injury; however, the underlying mechanisms remain unclear. Forkhead box O3a (FoxO3a), a unique FoxO family member, has been shown to attenuate myocardial injury by increasing resistance to oxidative stress in mice. The present study aimed to investigate whether TSA exerts its cardioprotective effects through the FoxO3a signaling pathway. For this purpose, healthy male Wistar rats were pre-treated with TSA for 5 days before they were subjected to ligation/relaxation of the left anterior descending branch of the coronary artery and to 30 min of ischemia, followed by 24 h of reperfusion. The activities of creatine kinase (CK), lactate dehydrogenase (LDH), aspartate aminotransferase (AST) and superoxide diamutase (SOD), as well as the malondialdehyde (MDA) levels were examined. The H9c2 rat myocardial cell line was cultured in 10% FBS-containing DMEM for 24 h. The cells were incubated with/without TSA (50 nmol/l) for 1 h and then incubated with/without H2O2 (400 µM) for 2 h. Reactive oxygen species (ROS) and mitochondrial membrane potential (Δψm) were measured by probe staining in the H9c2 cells. The expression of FoxO3a, mitochondrial SOD2 and catalase was quantified by western blot analysis. The levels of H3 and H4 acetylation of the FoxO3a promoter region were examined by chromatin immunoprecipitation assay. TSA significantly reduced the myocardial infarct size and the activities of serum LDH, AST and CK in the rats. TSA also decreased the levels of MDA and increased the activities of SOD in the myocardial tissue of the rats. Consistent with the reduced injury to the TSA-treated rats, TSA significantly reduced the H2O2-induced levels of ROS and increased Δψm. In addition, TSA increased the expression of FoxO3a, SOD2 and catalase, which may be related to increasing the level of H4 acetylation of the FoxO3a promoter region. Our results thus revealed that TSA protected the myocardium from oxidative stress-mediated damage by increasing H4 acetylation of the FoxO3a promoter region, and the expression of FoxO3a, SOD2 and catalase.

Cerebral gray matter volume reduction in subcortical vascular mild cognitive impairment patients and subcortical vascular dementia patients, and its relation with cognitive deficits.

Subcortical vascular mild cognitive impairment (svMCI) is the predementia stage of subcortical vascular dementia (SVaD). The aim of this research is to explore and compare cerebral gray matter (GM) volume reduction in svMCI patients and SVaD patients, and to investigate the relationship between cerebral GM volume reduction and cognitive deficits.

Effects of Autologous Cytokine-Induced Killer Cells Infusion in Colorectal Cancer Patients: A Prospective Study.

To evaluate the efficacy and safety of postoperative adjuvant immunotherapy with cytokine-induced killer (CIK) cells in combination with chemotherapy (CT) in colorectal cancer (CRC) patients.

Secure Localization in the Presence of Colluders in WSNs.

We address the challenge of correctly estimating the position of wireless sensor network (WSN) nodes in the presence of malicious adversaries. We consider adversarial situations during the execution of node localization under three classes of colluding adversaries. We describe a decentralized algorithm that aims at determining the position of nodes in the presence of such colluders. Colluders are assumed to either forge or manipulate the information they exchange with the other nodes of the WSN. This algorithm allows location-unknown nodes to successfully detect adversaries within their communication range. Numeric simulation is reported to validate the approach. Results show the validity of the proposal, both in terms of localization and adversary detection.

Exogenous spermine preserves mitochondrial bioenergetics via regulating Src kinase signaling in the spinal cord.

Regulation of mitochondrial metabolism is becoming an important target in inhibiting necrosis and apoptosis following secondary spinal cord injury, and physiological compounds that reduce mitochondrial dysfunction are regarded as efficient protective reagents following injury. It has been demonstrated that spermine, a polyamine composed of four primary amines, may be taken up by a mitochondria‑specific uniporter and may preserve mitochondrial bioenergetics, suggesting that it may be important in the pathophysiology of mitochondria. However, the protective mechanism has not yet been definitively clarified. In the present study, isolated spinal cord mitochondria were incubated with spermine to evaluate its physiological functions and Src kinase activities. The results revealed that spermine increased oxidative phosphorylation, attenuated mitochondrial swelling and maintained the membrane potential. An inhibitor of Src kinases, amino‑5-(4‑chlorophenyl)‑7‑(t‑butyl)pyrazolo[3,4‑d]pyrimidine (PP2), markedly reduced the effects of spermine. However, inhibition of tyrosine phosphatases by vanadate led to marginal increases in the effects of spermine. Therefore, the present study hypothesized that tyrosine phosphorylation sites are present in the subunits of respiratory chains and mitochondrial permeability transition pore proteins, which may be modified via phosphorylation and dephosphorylation. Furthermore, spermine may upregulate the phosphorylation of Src kinases, and PP2 and vanadate conversely regulate Src phosphorylation. The results of the present study suggest that spermine is a strategic regulator within mitochondria that may activate Src kinases in the spinal cord, and tyrosine phosphorylation signaling is a primary regulatory pathway of mitochondrial metabolism.

A mechanism study of airflow rate distribution within the zone of influence during air sparging remediation.

In this study, an improved laboratory two-dimensional airflow visualization device was developed for the quantitative analysis of airflow distribution at different heights from the sparger (20, 30, and 40cm) within the zone of influence (ZOI). The results indicated that the measured airflow rate distribution appeared Trapezium when the height was 20cm; however, the airflow rate matched a Gaussian distribution when the heights became 30cm and 40cm. The conical shape of the ZOI was observed in the experimental processes. The experimental results verified that the airflow distribution within the ZOI conformed to turbulent jet theory. According to turbulent jet theory, the distribution of the airflow rate changes from Trapezium to Gaussian, and the jet boundary mixed layer is a linear extension in the processes of jets. Through our study, it was found that this theory could be applied to airflow distribution and predictive models for the ZOI in air sparging remediation. The shape of the ZOI should be cone-like and the boundary layer of the ZOI is a linear extension in air sparging process. All the results from this study can provide theoretical support for the design and prediction of air sparging remediation for groundwater pollution.

Porphyrin aggregates decorated MWCNT film for solar light harvesting: influence of J- and H-aggregation on the charge recombination resistance, photocatalysis, and photoinduced charge transfer kinetics.

J- and H-aggregates of zinc tetraphenylporphyrin (ZnTPP) on carbon nanotube films (CNTFs) were prepared using the mixed solvent method. This resulted in completely different structures, such as the four-leaf clover and flower, on the CNTF, which were observed by recording SEM images. Characteristic changes in the electronic spectra of the ZnTPP monomer appeared when it underwent J- and H-aggregation. The measured photocurrent significantly varied for the same molecule when it was aggregated in two different ways on ITO and ITO/CNTF. The electron recombination resistance of the two aggregates, which was investigated using electrochemical impedance spectroscopy, was also different. The photocatalytic efficiency of the J- and H-aggregates was examined by performing methylene blue dye decoloration studies. In addition, a scanning electrochemical microscope was used to investigate the photoinduced charge transfer kinetics of the J- and H-aggregates at the electrode/electrolyte interface as a fresh attempt. The heterogeneous charge transfer constants for the J- and H-aggregates in the presence of light at varied intensities were calculated. Thereby, striking differences in the photophysical, photocatalytic, and photoelectrochemical properties of the J- and H-aggregates were visualized throughout our studies.

Sustainable pyrolytic sludge-char preparation on improvement of closed-loop sewage sludge treatment: Characterization and combined in-situ application.

Aiming at closed-loop sustainable sewage sludge treatment, an optimal and economical pyrolytic temperature was found at 400-450 °C considering its pyrolysis efficiency of 65%, fast cracking of hydrocarbons, proteins and lipids and development of aromatized porous structure. Fourier-transform infrared (FTIR) and X-ray diffraction (XRD) tests demonstrated the development of adsorptive functional groups and crystallographic phases of adsorptive minerals. The optimal sludge-char, with a medium specific surface area of 39.6 m(2) g(-1) and an iodine number of 327 mgI2 g(-1), performed low heavy metals lixiviation. The application of sludge-char in raw sewage could remove 30% of soluble chemical oxygen demand (SCOD), along with an acetic acid adsorption capacity of 18.0 mg g(-1). The developed mesopore and/or macropore structures, containing rich acidic and basic functional groups, led to good biofilm matrices for enhanced microbial activities and improved autotrophic nitrification in anoxic stage of an A/O reactor through adsorbed extra carbon source, and hence achieved the total nitrogen (TN) removal up to 50.3%. It is demonstrated that the closed-loop sewage sludge treatment that incorporates pyrolytic sludge-char into in-situ biological sewage treatment can be a promising sustainable strategy by further optimization.

Enhancing Mechanical Properties of Silk Fibroin Hydrogel through Restricting the Growth of β-Sheet Domains.

Usually, regenerated silk fibroin (RSF) hydrogels cross-linked by chemical agents such as horseradish peroxide (HRP)/H2O2 perform elastic properties, while display unsatisfactory strength for practical applications especially as load-bearing materials, and inadequate stability when incubated in a simulated in vivo environment. Here, the RSF hydrogel with both excellent strength and elasticity was prepared by inducing the conformation transition from random coil to β-sheet in a restricted RSF network precross-linked by HRP/H2O2. Such "dual-networked" hydrogels, regarding the one with 10 wt % RSF (Mw: 220 kDa) as a representative, show around 100% elongation, as well as the compressive modulus and tensile modulus up to 3.0 and 2.5 MPa respectively, which are much higher than those of physically cross-linked natural polymer hydrogels (commonly within 0.01-0.1 MPa at the similar solid content). It has been shown that the enhanced comprehensive mechanical properties of RSF hydrogels derive from the formation of small-sized and uniformly distributed β-sheet domains in the hydrogel during the conformation transition of RSF whose size is limited by the first network formed by cross-linkers with HRP/H2O2. Importantly, the tough RSF hydrogel changes the normally weak recognition of various RSF hydrogels and holds a great potential to be the material in biomedical field because it seems to be very promising regarding its biocompatibility, biodegradability, etc.

The impact of deep-tier burrow systems in sediment mixing and ecosystem engineering in early Cambrian carbonate settings.

Bioturbation plays a substantial role in sediment oxygen concentration, chemical cycling, regeneration of nutrients, microbial activity, and the rate of organic matter decomposition in modern oceans. In addition, bioturbators are ecosystem engineers which promote the presence of some organisms, while precluding others. However, the impact of bioturbation in deep time remains controversial and limited sediment mixing has been indicated for early Paleozoic seas. Our understanding of the actual impact of bioturbation early in the Phanerozoic has been hampered by the lack of detailed analysis of the functional significance of specific burrow architectures. Integration of ichnologic and sedimentologic evidence from North China shows that deep-tier Thalassinoides mazes occur in lower Cambrian nearshore carbonate sediments, leading to intense disruption of the primary fabric. Comparison with modern studies suggest that some of the effects of this style of Cambrian bioturbation may have included promotion of nitrogen and ammonium fluxes across the sediment-water interface, average deepening of the redox discontinuity surface, expansion of aerobic bacteria, and increase in the rate of organic matter decomposition and the regeneration of nutrients. Our study suggests that early Cambrian sediment mixing in carbonate settings may have been more significant than assumed in previous models.

γ-Aminobutyric Acid Imparts Partial Protection from Salt Stress Injury to Maize Seedlings by Improving Photosynthesis and Upregulating Osmoprotectants and Antioxidants.

γ-Aminobutyric acid (GABA) has high physiological activity in plant stress physiology. This study showed that the application of exogenous GABA by root drenching to moderately (MS, 150 mM salt concentration) and severely salt-stressed (SS, 300 mM salt concentration) plants significantly increased endogenous GABA concentration and improved maize seedling growth but decreased glutamate decarboxylase (GAD) activity compared with non-treated ones. Exogenous GABA alleviated damage to membranes, increased in proline and soluble sugar content in leaves, and reduced water loss. After the application of GABA, maize seedling leaves suffered less oxidative damage in terms of superoxide anion (O2(·-)) and malondialdehyde (MDA) content. GABA-treated MS and SS maize seedlings showed increased enzymatic antioxidant activity compared with that of untreated controls, and GABA-treated MS maize seedlings had a greater increase in enzymatic antioxidant activity than SS maize seedlings. Salt stress severely damaged cell function and inhibited photosynthesis, especially in SS maize seedlings. Exogenous GABA application could reduce the accumulation of harmful substances, help maintain cell morphology, and improve the function of cells during salt stress. These effects could reduce the damage to the photosynthetic system from salt stress and improve photosynthesis and chlorophyll fluorescence parameters. GABA enhanced the salt tolerance of maize seedlings.

Inhibition of microRNA-153 protects neurons against ischemia/reperfusion injury in an oxygen-glucose deprivation and reoxygenation cellular model by regulating Nrf2/HO-1 signaling.

MicroRNAs are emerging as critical regulators in cerebral ischemia/reperfusion injury; however, their exact roles remain poorly understood. miR-153 is reported to be a neuron-related miRNA involved in neuroprotection. In this study, we aimed to investigate the precise role of miR-153 in regulating neuron survival during cerebral ischemia/reperfusion injury using an oxygen-glucose deprivation and reoxygenation (OGD/R) cellular model. We found that miR-153 was significantly upregulated in neurons subjected to OGD/R treatment. Inhibition of miR-153 significantly attenuated OGD/R-induced injury and oxidative stress in neurons. Nuclear factor erythroid 2-related factor 2 (Nrf2) was identified as a target gene of miR-153. Inhibition of miR-153 significantly promoted the expression of Nrf2 and heme oxygenase-1 (HO-1). However, silencing of Nrf2 significantly blocked the protective effects of miR-153 inhibition. Our study indicates that the inhibition of miR-153 protects neurons against OGD/R-induced injury by regulating Nrf2/HO-1 signaling and suggests a potential therapeutic target for cerebral ischemia/reperfusion injury.

Promotion of cell growth and adhesion of a peptide hydrogel scaffold via mTOR/cadherin signaling.

Understanding neurite outgrowth, orientation, and migration is important for the design of biomaterials that interface with the neural tissue. However, the molecular signaling alternations have not been well elucidated to explain the impact of hydrogels on cell morphology. In our previous studies, a silk fibroin peptide (SF16) hydrogel was found to be an effective matrix for the viability, morphology, and proliferation of PC12 rat pheocrhomocytoma cells. We found that PC12 cells in the peptide hydrogel exhibited adhesive morphology compared to those cultured in agarose or collagen. Moreover, we identified that cell adhesion molecules (E- and N-cadherin) controlled by mTOR signaling were highly induced in PC12 cells cultured in the SF16 peptide hydrogel. Our findings suggest that the SF16 peptide might be suitable to be a cell-adhesion material in cell culture or tissue engineering, and mTOR/cadherin signaling is required for the cell adhesion in the SF16-peptide hydrogel.

Molecular dietary analysis of two sympatric felids in the Mountains of Southwest China biodiversity hotspot and conservation implications.

Dietary information is lacking in most of small to mid-sized carnivores due to their elusive predatory behaviour and versatile feeding habits. The leopard cat (LPC; Prionailurus bengalensis) and the Asiatic golden cat (AGC; Catopuma temminckii) are two important yet increasingly endangered carnivore species in the temperate mountain forest ecosystem in Southwest China, a global biodiversity hotspot and a significant reservoir of China's endemic species. We investigated the vertebrate prey of the two sympatric felids using faecal DNA and a next-generation sequencing (NGS)/metabarcoding approach. Forty vertebrate prey taxa were identified from 93 LPC and 10 AGC faecal samples; 37 taxa were found in the LPC diet, and 20 were detected in the AGC diet. Prey included 27 mammalian taxa, 11 birds, one lizard and one fish, with 73% (29/40) of the taxa assigned to the species level. Rodents and pikas were the most dominant LPC prey categories, whereas rodents, pheasant, fowl and ungulates were the main AGC prey. We also analysed the seasonal and altitudinal variations in the LPC diet. Our results provide the most comprehensive dietary data for these felids and valuable information for their conservation planning.

Autophagy contributes to 4-Amino-2-Trifluoromethyl-Phenyl Retinate-induced differentiation in human acute promyelocytic leukemia NB4 cells.

As a classic differentiation agent, all-trans retinoic acid (ATRA) has been widely used in treatment of acute promyelocytic leukemia (APL). However, clinical application of ATRA has limitations. Our previous studies suggested that 4-Amino-2-Trifluoromethyl-Phenyl Retinate (ATPR), a novel all-trans retinoic acid (ATRA) derivative designed and synthesized by our team, could induce differentiation of APL cells in vivo and in vitro. To explore the underlying mechanism of ATPR, the effect of ATPR on autophagy of APL cells was observed in the present study. The results showed that the differentiation effect of ATPR on APL cells was accompanied with autophagy induction and PML-RARα degradation via activating Notch1 signaling pathway. Moreover, inhibition of autophagy using 3-methyladenine (3-MA) or small interfering RNA (siRNA) that targets essential autophagy gene ATG5 abrogated the ATPR-induced cell differentiation. Furthermore, when pretreated with DAPT, a γ-secretase inhibitor, the Notch1 signaling pathway was blocked in APL cells, followed by the reduction of ATPR-induced autophagy and differentiation. Taken together, these results suggested that autophagy play an important role in ATPR-induced cell differentiation, which may provide a novel approach to cure APL patients.

Fine-scale genetic structure analyses reveal dispersal patterns in a critically endangered primate, Trachypithecus leucocephalus.

Dispersal is a critically important life history trait of social organisms that has a major impact on the population genetic structure and social relationships within groups. Primates exhibit highly diversified dispersal and philopatry patterns, but knowledge of these patterns is difficult to obtain and usually limited to observations of a small number of focal social groups or individuals. Here, we investigated the dispersal pattern of a critically endangered colobine monkey, the white-headed langur (Trachypithecus leucocephalus), using molecular approaches, and sex-specific population genetic structure analyses at fine geographical scales. We non-invasively collected 403 fecal samples from 41 social groups across 90% of the langur's range in Fusui (FS) and Chongzuo (CZ) in southwestern Guangxi Province, China. We identified 214 unique individuals from the samples by genotyping 15 polymorphic autosomal microsatellite loci, a sex-specific marker, and sequencing the mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) hypervariable region I (HVRI). We found higher intragroup than intergroup genetic relatedness in males and females in both populations. A significant positive correlation between genetic distance and geographical distance, that is a pattern of isolation-by-distance, was detected in females from the FS population, but not in males. Spatial autocorrelation analyses revealed high within-group relatedness in both sexes and populations, as well as an additional positive correlation at the 0.5-km distance class in females from the FS population. Furthermore, we inferred first-generation migrants using genetic assignment tests. Our results suggest that male T. leucocephalus disperse at random distances within habitat areas, whereas dispersal of females may mainly occur among adjacent groups near their home site. Our study provides the first genetic evidence for sex-biased dispersal in T. leucocephalus, which has important management and conservation implications for the species.

Multiple Colors Output on Voile through 3D Colloidal Crystals with Robust Mechanical Properties.

Distinguished from the chromatic mechanism of dyes and pigments, structural color is derived from physical interactions of visible light with structures that are periodic at the scale of the wavelength of light. Using colloidal crystals with coloring functions for fabrics has resulted in significant improvements compared with chemical colors because the structural color from colloidal crystals bears many unique and fascinating optical properties, such as vivid iridescence and nonphotobleaching. However, the poor mechanical performance of the structural color films cannot meet actual requirements because of the weak point contact of colloidal crystal particles. Herein, we demonstrate in this study the patterning on voile fabrics with high mechanical strength on account of the periodic array lock effect of polymers, and multiple structural color output was simultaneously achieved by a simple two-phase self-assembly method for printing voile fabrics with 3D colloidal crystals. The colored voile fabrics exhibit high color saturation, good mechanical stability, and multiple-color patterns printable. In addition, colloidal crystals are promising potential substitutes for organic dyes and pigments because colloidal crystals are environmentally friendly.

The Roles of Alpha-Momorcharin and Jasmonic Acid in Modulating the Response of Momordica charantia to Cucumber Mosaic Virus.

Alpha-momorcharin (α-MMC) is a type-I ribosome inactivating protein with a molecular weight of 29 kDa that is found in Momordica charantia, and has been shown to be effective against a broad range of human viruses as well as having anti-tumor activities. However, the role of endogenous α-MMC under viral infection and the mechanism of the anti-viral activities of α-MMC in plants are still unknown. To study the effect of α-MMC on plant viral defense and how α-MMC increases plant resistance to virus, the M. charantia-cucumber mosaic virus (CMV) interaction system was investigated. The results showed that the α-MMC level was positively correlated with the resistance of M. charantia to CMV. α-MMC treatment could alleviate photosystem damage and enhance the ratio of glutathione/glutathione disulfide in M. charantia under CMV infection. The relationship of α-MMC and defense related phytohormones, and their roles in plant defense were further investigated. α-MMC treatment led to a significant increase of jasmonic acid (JA) and vice versa, while there was no obvious relevance between salicylic acid and α-MMC. In addition, reactive oxygen species (ROS) were induced in α-MMC-pretreated plants, in a similar way to the ROS burst in JA-pretreated plants. The production of ROS in both ibuprofen (JA inhibitor) and (α-MMC+ibuprofen)-pretreated plants was reduced markedly, leading to a greater susceptibility of M. charantia to CMV. Our results indicate that the anti-viral activities of α-MMC in M. charantia may be accomplished through the JA related signaling pathway.

N-linked glycosylation at Asn152 on CD147 affects protein folding and stability: promoting tumour metastasis in hepatocellular carcinoma.

Cluster of differentiation 147 (CD147), also known as extracellular matrix metalloproteinase inducer, is a transmembrane glycoprotein that mediates oncogenic processes partly through N-glycosylation modifications. N-glycosylation has been demonstrated to be instrumental for the regulation of CD147 function during malignant transformation. However, the role that site-specific glycosylation of CD147 plays in its defective function in hepatocellular carcinomacells needs to be determined. Here, we demonstrate that the modification of N-glycosylation at Asn152 on CD147 strongly promotes hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) invasion and migration. After the removal of N-glycans at Asn152, CD147 was more susceptible to degradation by ER-localized ubiquitin ligase-mediated endoplasmic reticulum-associated degradation (ERAD). Furthermore, N-linked glycans at Asn152 were required for CD147 to acquire and maintain proper folding in the ER. Moreover, N-linked glycans at Asn152 functioned as a recognition motif that was directly mediated by the CNX quality control system. Two phases in the retention-based ER chaperones system drove ER-localized CD147 trafficking to degradation. Deletion of N-linked glycosylation at Asn152 on CD147 significantly suppressed in situ tumour metastasis. These data could potentially shed light on the molecular regulation of CD147 through glycosylation and provide a valuable means of developing drugs that target N-glycans at Asn152 on CD147.

Mono-PEGylation of Alpha-MMC and MAP30 from Momordica charantia L.: Production, Identification and Anti-Tumor Activity.

PEGylation is a well-established and effective strategy to decrease immunogenicity, which can increase the stability and in vivo half-life time. However, the generation of multi-site modified products is inevitable due to the lysine chemistry, which will bring difficulties in subsequent research, such as purification and quantification. Site-specific modification by mPEG-succinimidyl carbonate (mPEG-SC) is a widely used method for N-terminal conjugation. In this study, we used it for site-directed modification on two ribosome-inactivating proteins (RIPs), alpha-momorcharin (α-MMC) and momordica anti-HIV protein (MAP30), from Momordica charantia L. According to the optimization of previous modification conditions, we compared Macro-Cap SP with SP-Sepharose FF chromatography for separating the final mPEGylated RIPs. Two kinds of methods both can obtain homogenous mPEGylated RIPs which were identified by sodium dodecylsulphate polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis (SDS-PAGE), isoelectric focusing electrophoresis (IEF), and matrix-assisted laser desorption ionization-time of flight/time of flight (MALDI-TOF/TOF) analysis. We also used iodine staining method to detect the amount of unmodified PEG. Furthermore, the inhibition activity of both mPEGylated and non-PEGylated RIPs against human lung adenocarcinoma epithelial A549 cells was detected. All of the results suggested that the mPEGylated α-MMC/MAP30 might be potentially developed as new anti-tumor drugs.

Characterization of re-grown floc size and structure: effect of mixing conditions during floc growth, breakage and re-growth process.

The impact of mixing speed in three stages-before breakage, during breakage, and after breakage-on re-grown floc properties was investigated by using a non-intrusive optical sampling and digital image analysis technique, respectively. And then, on the basis of different influence extent of mixing speed during each stage on size and structure of re-grown flocs, coagulation performance with varying mixing speed was analyzed. The results indicated that the broken flocs could not re-grow to the size before breakage in all cases. Furthermore, increasing mixing intensity contributed to the re-formation of smaller flocs with higher degree of compactness. For slow mixing before breakage, an increase in mixing speed had less influence on re-grown floc properties due to the same breakage strength during breakage, resulting in inconspicuous variation of coagulation efficiency. For rapid mixing during breakage, larger mixing speed markedly decreased the coagulation efficiency. This could be attributed that mixing speed during breakage generated greater influence on re-grown floc size. However, as slow mixing after breakage was elevated, the coagulation efficiency presented significant rise, indicating that slow mixing after breakage had more influence on re-grown floc structure upon re-structuring and re-arrangement mechanism.

Gemcitabine enhances cell invasion via activating HAb18G/CD147-EGFR-pSTAT3 signaling.

Pancreatic cancer, one of the most lethal cancers, has very poor 5-year survival partly due to gemcitabine resistance. Recently, it was reported that chemotherapeutic agents may act as stressors to induce adaptive responses and to promote chemoresistance in cancer cells. During long-term drug treatment, the minority of cancer cells survive and acquire an epithelial-mesenchymal transition phenotype with increased chemo-resistance and metastasis. However, the short-term response of most cancer cells remains unclear. This study aimed to investigate the short-term response of pancreatic cancer cells to gemcitabine stress and to explore the corresponding mechanism. Our results showed that gemcitabine treatment for 24 hours enhanced pancreatic cancer cell invasion. In gemcitabine-treated cells, HAb18G/CD147 was up-regulated; and HAb18G/CD147 down-regulation or inhibition attenuated gemcitabine-enhanced invasion. Mechanistically, HAb18G/CD147 promoted gemcitabine-enhanced invasion by activating the EGFR (epidermal growth factor receptor)-STAT3 (signal transducer and activator of transcription 3) signaling pathway. Inhibition of EGFR-STAT3 signaling counteracted gemcitabine-enhanced invasion, and which relied on HAb18G/CD147 levels. In pancreatic cancer tissues, EGFR was highly expressed and positively correlated with HAb18G/CD147. These data indicate that pancreatic cancer cells enhance cell invasion via activating HAb18G/CD147-EGFR-pSTAT3 signaling. Our findings suggest that inhibiting HAb18G/CD147 is a potential strategy for overcoming drug stress-associated resistance in pancreatic cancer.

Cationic lioposomes with folic acid as targeting ligand for gene delivery.

In our previous Letter, we have carried out the synthesis of a novel DDCTMA cationic lipid which was formulated with DOPE for gene delivery. Herein, we used folic acid (FA) as targeting ligand and cholesterol (Chol) as helper lipid instead of DOPE for enhancing the stability of the liposomes. These liposomes were characterized by dynamic laser scattering (DLS), transmission electron microscopy (TEM) and agarose gel electrophoresis assays of pDNA binding affinity. The lipoplexes were prepared by using different weight ratios of DDCTMA/Chol (1:1, 2:1, 3:1, 4:1) liposomes and different concentrations of FA (50-200μg/mL) combining with pDNA. The transfection efficiencies of the lipoplexes were evaluated using pGFP-N2 and pGL3 plasmid DNA against NCI-H460 cells in vitro. Among them, the optimum gene transfection efficiency with DDCTMA/Chol (3:1)/FA (100μg/mL) was obtained. The results showed that FA could improve the gene transfection efficiencies of DDCTMA/Chol cationic liposome. Our results also convincingly demonstrated FA (100μg/mL)-coated DDCTMA/Chol (3:1) cationic liposome could serve as a promising candidate for the gene delivery.

Oxygen tolerance capacity of upflow anaerobic solid-state (UASS) with anaerobic filter (AF) system.

In order to investigate the oxygen tolerance capacity of upflow anaerobic solid-state (UASS) with anaerobic filter (AF) system, the effect of microaeration on thermophilic anaerobic digestion of maize straw was investigated under batch conditions and in the UASS with AF system. Aeration intensities of 0-431mL O2/gvs were conducted as pretreatment under batch conditions. Aeration pretreatment obviously enhanced anaerobic digestion and an aeration intensity of 431mL O2/gvs increased the methane yield by 82.2%. Aeration intensities of 0-355mL O2/gvs were conducted in the process liquor circulation of the UASS with AF system. Dissolved oxygen (DO) of UASS and AF reactors kept around 1.39±0.27 and 0.99±0.38mg/L, respectively. pH was relatively stable around 7.11±0.04. Volatile fatty acids and soluble chemical oxygen demand concentration in UASS reactor were higher than those in AF reactor. Methane yield of the whole system was almost stable at 85±7mL/gvs as aeration intensity increased step by step. The UASS with AF system showed good oxygen tolerance capacity.

Electrocatalytic determination of nitrite based on straw cellulose/molybdenum sulfide nanocomposite.

Cellulose is the most abundant, renewable, biodegradable natural polymer resource on earth, which can be a good substrate for catalysis. In this work, straw cellulose has been oxidized through 2,2,6,6-tetramethylpiperidine-1-oxyl radical (TEMPO)-mediated oxidation, and then a TEMPO oxidized straw cellulose/molybdenum sulfide (TOSC-MoS2) composite has been synthesized via a hydrothermal method. Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FT-IR) and X-ray diffraction (XRD) analysis confirm that TOSC and MoS2 have successfully composited. Scanning electron microscopy (SEM) and transmission electron microscopy (TEM) images show the TOSC as a carbon nanotube-like structure and edged MoS2 grows on the TOSC substrate. The TOSC-MoS2 modified glassy carbon electrode (GCE) is used as a simple and non-enzymatic electrochemical sensor. Cyclic Voltammetry (CV) result shows TOSC-MoS2 has excellent electrocatalytic activity for the oxidation of nitrite. The amperometric response result indicates the TOSC-MoS2 modified GCE can be used to determine nitrite concentration in wide linear ranges of 6.0-3140 and 3140-4200µM with a detection limit of 2.0µM. The proposed sensor has good anti-interference property. Real sample analysis and the electrocatalytic mechanism have also been presented.

Effect of aluminum speciation on fouling mechanisms by pre-coagulation/ultrafiltration process with different NOM fractions.

Ultrafiltration is an emerging technology for drinking water production, but the membrane fouling is still a challenge. This study was carried out to investigate the effect of aluminum speciation on UF membrane fouling behavior by different NOM fractions-humic substances and proteins, as represented by humic acid (HA) and bovine serum albumin (BSA), respectively. The interesting results showed that the total fouling resistance of the mixture of HA-BSA-kaolinite solution without coagulant demonstrated a slight decrease in comparison with those of the individually filtered substances, indicating a mitigatory fouling effect. The hydrolysis of aluminum products was various as pH and membrane fouling was related to aluminum speciation. The average size of flocs dramatically increased and fractal dimension of flocs decreased with the increasing of pH value independent on water quality, which indicated that aluminum speciation had a significant impact on floc properties. For the mixture of HA-BSA-kaolinte, the slightly larger of flocs average size in comparison with the individual organic fraction after coagulation was probably attributing that BSA was encapsulated by HA to enlarge the molecular length and floc size further increased. The membrane performance also showed that coagulation effluent of HA-BSA-kaolinite mitigated membrane fouling. The strong linear relationship was observed between flocs fractal dimension and final membrane flux in this research. From the results, the control of flocs fractal dimension should be considered as a new technique for traditional hybrid coagulation/ultrafiltration system, which resulted in minimized total and irreversible fouling and has a meaningful engineering application value.

Breakage and regrowth of flocs formed by sweep coagulation using additional coagulant of poly aluminium chloride and non-ionic polyacrylamide.

The breakage and regrowth of flocs formed by sweep flocculation were investigated on different flocculation mechanisms using additional dosage coagulant of poly aluminium chloride (PACl) and non-ionic polyacrylamide (PAM) to explore the reversibility after floc breakage. The optimal dosage of PACl was 0.15 mM (as alum), and zeta potential exceeding 1 mV meant that sweep flocculation was dominant in the pre-flocculated process. Re-coagulation efficiency increased with additional coagulants dosing, and sedimentation rates of flocs re-formed by small additional dosage of non-ionic PAM are faster than that of flocs re-formed by additional PACl. For additional inorganic coagulant (PACl) during regrowth processes, few negatively charged particles that existed in water sample restricted the effect of charge neutralization. An amorphous aluminum hydroxide precipitation could re-activate the weaker points on the broken floc surface, but regrown flocs have loose structure indicating worse settleability. For additional non-ionic PAM dosing, lower dosage showed large values of fractal dimension and average size, probably due to that unfolded curly molecular chain and exposed amide groups of non-ionic PAM which provide superb conditions for amide group interacting with particles. The use of non-ionic PAM in flocculation has advantage of being more effective than the cationic PACl, probably because it may avoid the re-stabilization of broken flocs by polymer adsorption driven by electrostatic attraction. Hence, appropriate dosing of PAM after breakage could improve the flocs characteristics with large size and compact structure.

Isolation of microsatellite loci and reliable genotyping using noninvasive samples of a critically endangered primate, Trachypithecus leucocephalus.

Genetic information can be critical in identifying conservation priorities and developing conservation strategies. There is an urgent need for noninvasive genetic tools to study the wild populations of Asian colobine monkeys. The majority of these species are threatened with habitat destruction, population reduction and even extinction, but generally lack information on their genetic diversity and population structure. Genetic sampling and tissue collection have been scarce in these species owing to strict regulations on manipulation of endangered species, and the difficulties and risks associated with capturing these arboreal and fast-moving monkeys in the challenging environments that they inhabit. These difficulties have hindered the development of molecular genetic markers, which are usually derived from tissues or blood. In this study, we present a method for de novo microsatellite isolation and genotyping using DNA from noninvasive origins of a critically endangered Asian colobine, the white-headed langur (Trachypithecus leucocephalus). Genomic DNA isolated from hair was shown to be sufficient for microsatellite enrichment and isolation, with similar isolation efficiencies as from tissue DNA. We identified and characterized 20 polymorphic microsatellite loci, and evaluated their amplification success and genotyping reliability with 86 field-collected fecal samples. These results show that this panel of loci can produce reliable genotypes from fecal samples, and represent a useful tool for noninvasive investigation of genetic structure, individual identification and kinship assessment in this highly endangered species. Our approach can be applied to conservation genetic studies of other wild species that lack sequence information and tissue samples.