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Yue Pan - Top 30 Publications

Plumbagin Triggers ER Stress-Mediated Apoptosis in Prostate Cancer Cells via Induction of ROS.

Prostate cancer (PCa) is the second most frequently diagnosed cancer in men worldwide. Currently available therapies for hormone-refractory PCa are only marginally effective. Plumbagin (PLB), a natural naphthoquinone isolated from the traditional folk medicine Plumbago zeylanica, is known to selectively kill tumor cells. Nevertheless, antitumor mechanisms initiated by PLB in cancer cells have not been fully defined.

An epigenome-wide study of obesity in African American youth and young adults: novel findings, replication in neutrophils, and relationship with gene expression.

We conducted an epigenome-wide association study (EWAS) on obesity in healthy youth and young adults and further examined to what extent identified signals influenced gene expression and were independent of cell type composition and obesity-related cardio-metabolic risk factors. Genome-wide DNA methylation data from leukocytes were obtained from 700 African Americans aged 14-36. We also measured genome-wide DNA methylation data from neutrophils as well as genome-wide gene expression data from leukocytes in a subset of samples (n = 188).

BCSG1 siRNA delivered by lentiviral vector suppressed proliferation and migration of MDA-MB-231 cells.

Breast cancer-specific gene 1 (BCSG1), also referred to as γ-synuclein (SNCG), is highly expressed in human infiltrating breast carcinomas, but not in normal or benign breast tissue. The present study aimed to evaluate the effects of BCSG1 siRNA delivered by lentiviral vector on breast cancer cells and investigate the underlying mechanisms. BCSG1 RNAi lentiviral vector was constructed and transfected into MDA-MB-231 cells. BCSG1 mRNA levels were determined by quantitative polymerase chain reaction analysis. Cell proliferation, migration and apoptosis were evaluated by using the cell counting kit‑8, Transwell assay and flow cytometry, respectively, followed by western blotting to determine the relative levels of AKT, extracellular signal‑regulated kinase (ERK), p-AKT and p-ERK expression. BCSG1 mRNA levels were significantly reduced in MDA-MB‑231 cells following transfection of BCSG1 siRNA delivered by lentiviral vector. Cell migration and proliferation were significantly decreased and the cell cycle was arrested. Western blot analysis indicated that the protein levels of p-AKT and p-ERK were significantly lower in the BCSG1 siRNA-treated groups compared with the control and negative control groups. Therefore, BCSG1 siRNA delivered by lentiviral vector was able to significantly reduce BCSG1 expression, suppress cell migration and proliferation, possibly through the reduction of the protein levels of p-AKT and p-ERK.

Chemotherapy induces ovarian cancer cell repopulation through the caspase 3-mediated arachidonic acid metabolic pathway.

Recurrence is one of the major causes of high mortality in ovarian cancer. However, the mechanism of ovarian cancer recurrence after chemotherapy has not been fully understood. In the present study, we investigated the effect of chemotherapy-induced tumor microenvironment on the proliferation of SKOV3 cells. We have shown that SKOV3 cells repopulated faster in the culture medium from apoptotic SKOV3 ovarian cancer cells after 24 h of etoposide phosphate (VP-16) treatment. We found that during apoptosis, cleaved caspase 3 could activate cytosolic calcium-independent phospholipase A2, which stimulated the release of arachidonic acid (AA) and triggered the production of prostaglandin E2 (PGE2). An increased level of phosphorylated focal adhesion kinase (FAK) subsequently facilitated the reproliferation of SKOV3 cells, and VP-16-induced repopulation effects were partially reversed by the FAK inhibitor PF562271. Furthermore, the plasma AA-to-PGE2 ratio and tumoral FAK expression of ovarian cancer patients after chemotherapy were significantly lower than those before chemotherapy. Taken together, our results indicate that chemotherapy-induced apoptotic cancer cells can produce PGE2-enriched microenvironment through caspase 3-mediated AA metabolic pathway, which could lead to the abnormal activation of FAK and eventually accelerate the repopulation of SKOV3 cells. Our study provides novel insight into a mechanism that may be utilized to prevent ovarian cancer recurrence in response to chemotherapy.

Accuracy of thoracic pedicle screw placement in adolescent patients with severe spinal deformities: a retrospective study comparing drill guide template with free-hand technique.

Patients with severe spinal deformities often have small pedicle diameters, and pedicle dimensions vary between segments and individuals. Free-hand pedicle screw placement can be inaccurate. Individualized drill guide templates may be used, but the accuracy of pedicle screw placement in severe scoliosis remains unknown. The accuracy of drill guide templates and free-hand technique for the treatment of adolescent patients with severe idiopathic scoliosis are compared in this study.

MiR-26a and miR-26b mediate osteoarthritis progression by targeting FUT4 via NF-κB signaling pathway.

Osteoarthritis (OA) is the most common joint disease, characterized by articular cartilage degradation and changes in all other joint tissues. MicroRNAs (miRNAs) play an important role in mediating the main risk factors for OA. This study aimed to investigate the effect of miR-26a/26b on the proliferation and apoptosis of human chondrocytes by targeting fucosyltransferase 4 (FUT4) through NF-κB signaling pathway. We revealed the differential expression profiles of FUT4 and miR-26a/26b in the articular cartilage tissues of OA patients and normal people. The ability of miR-26a/26b to specifically interact with the 3'UTR of FUT4 was demonstrated via a luciferase reporter assay in chondrocytes. Further results showed altered levels of miR-26a/26b and FUT4 could regulate the process of IL-1β-induced extracellular matrix degradation in chondrocytes. Forced miR-26a/26b expression was able to affect chondrocytes proliferation and apoptosis, while altered expression of FUT4 in chondrocytes modulated progression upon transfection with miR-26a/26b mimic or inhibitor. In OA mice, the overexpression of miR-26a/26b by intra-articular injection significantly attenuated OA progression. In addition, regulating FUT4 expression markedly modulated the activity of NF-κB signaling pathway, and this effect could be reversed by miR-26a/26b. In short, miR-26a/-26b/FUT4/NF-κB axis may serve as a predictive biomarker and a potential therapeutic target in OA treatment.

Metabolic Regulation in Mitochondria and Drug Resistance.

Mitochondria are generally considered as a powerhouse in a cell where the majority of the cellular ATP and metabolite productions occur. Metabolic rewiring and reprogramming may be initiated and regulated by mitochondrial enzymes. The hypothesis that cellular metabolic rewiring and reprogramming processes may occur as cellular microenvironment is disturbed, resulting in alteration of cell phenotype, such as cancer cells resistant to therapeutics seems to be now acceptable. Cancer metabolic reprogramming regulated by mitochondrial enzymes is now one of the hallmarks of cancer. This chapter provides an overview of cancer metabolism and summarizes progress made in mitochondria-mediated metabolic regulation in cancer drug resistance.

Enhanced Radiotherapy using Bismuth Sulfide Nanoagents Combined with Photo-thermal Treatment.

Nanotechniques that can improve the effectiveness of radiotherapy (RT) by integrating it with multimodal imaging are highly desirable. Results In this study, we fabricated Bi2S3 nanorods that have attractive features such as their ability to function as contrast agents for X-ray computed tomography (CT) and photoacoustic (PA) imaging as well as good biocompatibility. Both in vitro and in vivo studies confirmed that the Bi2S3 nanoagents could potentiate the lethal effects of radiation via amplifying the local radiation dose and enhancing the anti-tumor efficacy of RT by augmenting the photo-thermal effect. Furthermore, the nanoagent-mediated hyperthermia could effectively increase the oxygen concentration in hypoxic regions thereby inhibiting the expression of hypoxia-inducible factor (HIF-1α). This, in turn, interfered with DNA repair via decreasing the expression of DNA repair-related proteins to overcome radio-resistance. Also, RT combined with nanoagent-mediated hyperthermia could substantially suppress tumor metastasis via down-regulating angiogenic factors. Conclusion In summary, we constructed a single-component powerful nanoagent for CT/PA imaging-guided tumor radiotherapy and, most importantly, explored the potential mechanisms of nanoagent-mediated photo-thermal treatment for enhancing the efficacy of RT in a synergistic manner.

MarR-Family Transcription Factor HpaR Controls Expression of the vgrR-vgrS Operon of Xanthomonas campestris pv. campestris.

MarR (multiple antibiotic resistance regulator)-family transcription factors (TFs), which regulate the expression of virulence factors and other physiological pathways in pathogenic bacteria, are regarded as ideal molecular targets for the development of novel antimicrobial strategies. In the plant bacterial pathogen Xanthomonas campestris pv. campestris, HpaR, a typical MarR-family TF, is associated with bacterial virulence, but its mechanism of virulence regulation remains unclear. Here, we dissected the HpaR regulon using high-throughput RNA sequencing and chromatin immunoprecipitation sequencing. HpaR directly or indirectly controls the expression of approximately 448 genes; it acts both as a transcriptional activator and a repressor to control the expression of downstream genes by directly binding to their promoter regions. The consensus HpaR-binding DNA motifs contain imperfect palindromic sequences similar to [G/T]CAACAATT[C/T]TTG. In-depth analysis revealed that HpaR positively modulates transcription level of the vgrR-vgrS operon that encodes an important two-component signal transduction system to sense iron depletion and regulate bacterial virulence. Epistasis analysis demonstrated that vgrR-vgrS is a core downstream component of HpaR regulation, as overexpression of vgrR restored the phenotypic deficiencies caused by a hpaR mutation. This dissection of the HpaR regulon should facilitate future studies focused on the activating mechanism of HpaR during bacterial infection.

Levels, sources and probabilistic health risks of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons in the agricultural soils from sites neighboring suburban industries in Shanghai.

The levels, sources and quantitative probabilistic health risks for polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) in agricultural soils in the vicinity of power, steel and petrochemical plants in the suburbs of Shanghai are discussed. The total concentration of 16 PAHs in the soils ranges from 223 to 8214ng g-1. The sources of PAHs were analyzed by both isomeric ratios and a principal component analysis-multiple linear regression method. The results indicate that PAHs mainly originated from the incomplete combustion of coal and oil. The probabilistic risk assessments for both carcinogenic and non-carcinogenic risks posed by PAHs in soils with adult farmers as concerned receptors were quantitatively calculated by Monte Carlo simulation. The estimated total carcinogenic risks (TCR) for the agricultural soils has a 45% possibility of exceeding the acceptable threshold value (10-6), indicating potential adverse health effects. However, all non-carcinogenic risks are below the threshold value. Oral intake is the dominant exposure pathway, accounting for 77.7% of TCR, while inhalation intake is negligible. The three PAHs with the highest contribution for TCR are BaP (64.35%), DBA (17.56%) and InP (9.06%). Sensitivity analyses indicate that exposure frequency has the greatest impact on the total risk uncertainty, followed by the exposure dose through oral intake and exposure duration. These results indicate that it is essential to manage the health risks of PAH-contaminated agricultural soils in the vicinity of typical industries in megacities.

Hand-in-hand RNA nanowire-based aptasensor for the detection of theophylline.

Theophylline is a popular drug for many respiratory diseases. However, certain toxic side effects may be developed and the narrow safety range raises the demand for sensitive methods to constantly monitor theophylline levels. This study presents an electrochemical approach towards theophylline detection based on the recognition by split RNA aptamers. Target induced construction of hand-in-hand RNA nanowire on the electrode surface could further absorb silver nanoparticles (Ag NPs) as electrochemical species. When theophylline is not present, RNA probes are stable and their conformations remain unchanged. In contrast, theophylline is able to trigger the hairpin opening of RNA probe and subsequent self-assembly of RNA nanowire, which could be captured by DNA tetrahedron on the electrode interface. After further decorating Ag NPs on the nanowire, silver stripping current is measured to reveal initial theophylline concentration. The developed sensing strategy shows excellent specificity and sensitivity with the limit of detection of 50nM. Its practical utility is demonstrated by quantitative determination of theophylline levels in complex biological samples.

Berberine inhibits the chemotherapy-induced repopulation by suppressing the arachidonic acid metabolic pathway and phosphorylation of FAK in ovarian cancer.

Cytotoxic chemotherapy is an effective and traditional treatment of ovarian cancer. However, chemotherapy-induced apoptosis may also trigger and ultimately accelerate the repopulation of the small number of adjacent surviving cells. This study mainly focused on the tumour cell repopulation caused by chemotherapy in ovarian cancer and the adjunctive/synergistic effect of Berberine on the prevention of tumour repopulation.

A NMDA-receptor calcium influx assay sensitive to stimulation by glutamate and glycine/D-serine.

N-methyl-D-aspartate-receptors (NMDARs) are ionotropic glutamate receptors that function in synaptic transmission, plasticity and cognition. Malfunction of NMDARs has been implicated in a variety of nervous system disorders, making them attractive therapeutic targets. Overexpression of functional NMDAR in non-neuronal cells results in cell death by excitotoxicity, hindering the development of cell-based assays for NMDAR drug discovery. Here we report a plate-based, high-throughput approach to study NMDAR function. Our assay enables the functional study of NMDARs with different subunit composition after activation by glycine/D-serine or glutamate and hence presents the first plate-based, high throughput assay that allows for the measurement of NMDAR function in glycine/D-serine and/or glutamate sensitive modes. This allows to investigate the effect of small molecule modulators on the activation of NMDARs at different concentrations or combinations of the co-ligands. The reported assay system faithfully replicates the pharmacology of the receptor in response to known agonists, antagonists, positive and negative allosteric modulators, as well as the receptor's sensitivity to magnesium and zinc. We believe that the ability to study the biology of NMDARs rapidly and in large scale screens will enable the identification of novel therapeutics whose discovery has otherwise been hindered by the limitations of existing cell based approaches.

Detecting cm-scale hot spot over 24-km-long single-mode fiber by using differential pulse pair BOTDA based on double-peak spectrum.

In distributed Brillouin optical fiber sensor when the length of the perturbation to be detected is much smaller than the spatial resolution that is defined by the pulse width, the measured Brillouin gain spectrum (BGS) experiences two or multiple peaks. In this work, we propose and demonstrate a technique using differential pulse pair Brillouin optical time-domain analysis (DPP-BOTDA) based on double-peak BGS to enhance small-scale events detection capability, where two types of single mode fiber (main fiber and secondary fiber) with 116 MHz Brillouin frequency shift (BFS) difference have been used. We have realized detection of a 5-cm hot spot at the far end of 24-km single mode fiber by employing a 50-cm spatial resolution DPP-BOTDA with only 1GS/s sampling rate (corresponding to 10 cm/point). The BFS at the far end of 24-km sensing fiber has been measured with 0.54 MHz standard deviation which corresponds to a 0.5°C temperature accuracy. This technique is simple and cost effective because it is implemented using the similar experimental setup of the standard BOTDA, however, it should be noted that the consecutive small-scale events have to be separated by a minimum length corresponding to the spatial resolution defined by the pulse width difference.

Influence of the Oil on the Structure and Electrochemical Performance of Emulsion-Templated Tin/Carbon Anodes for Lithium Ion Batteries.

Tin (Sn) is a useful anode material for lithium ion batteries (LIBs) because of its high theoretical capacity. We fabricated oil-in-water emulsion-templated tin nanoparticle/carbon black (SnNP/CB) anodes with octane, hexadecane, 1-chlorohexadecane, and 1-bromohexadecane as the oil phases. Emulsion creaming, the oil vapor pressure, and the emulsion droplet size distribution all affect drying and thus the morphology of the dried emulsion. This morphology has a direct impact on the electrochemical performance of the anode. SnNP/CB anodes prepared with hexadecane showed very few cracks and had the highest capacities and capacity retention. The combination of low vapor pressure, creaming, which forced the emulsion droplets into a close-packed arrangement on the surface of the continuous water phase, and the small droplets allowed for gentle evaporation of the liquids during drying. This led to lower differential stresses on the sample and reduced cracking. For octane, the vapor pressure was high, the droplet sizes were large for 1-cholorohexadecane, and there was no creaming for 1-bromohexadecane. All of these factors contributed to cracking of the anode surface during drying and reduced the electrochemical performance. Choosing an oil with balanced properties is important for obtaining the best cell performance for emulsion-templated anodes for LIBs.

Berberine Enhances Chemosensitivity and Induces Apoptosis Through Dose-orchestrated AMPK Signaling in Breast Cancer.

Breast cancer is the most common malignancy in women. Although personalized or targeting molecular cancer therapy is more popular up to now, the cytotoxicity chemotherapy for patients with advanced breast cancer is considered as the alternative option. However, chemoresistance is still the common and critical limitation for breast cancer treatment. Berberine, known as AMPK activator, has shown multiple activities including antitumor effect. In this study, we investigate the chemosensitive effect of different dosages berberine on drug-resistant human breast cancer MCF-7/MDR cell in vitro and in vivo, and the mechanisms underlying AMPK activation on Doxorubicin (DOX) chemosensitivity. Our results showed that berberine could overcome DOX resistance in dose-orchestrated manner: On one hand, low-dose berberine can enhance DOX sensitivity in drug-resistance breast cancer cells through AMPK-HIF-1α-P-gp pathway. On the other hand, high-dose berberine alone directly induces apoptosis through the AMPK-p53 pathway with the independence of HIF-1α expression. Taken together, our findings demonstrate that berberine sensitizes drug-resistant breast cancer to DOX chemotherapy and directly induces apoptosis through the dose-orchestrated AMPK signaling pathway in vitro and in vivo. Berberine appears to be a promising chemosensitizer and chemotherapeutic drug for breast cancer treatment.

Genetic variability and functional implication of the long control region in HPV-16 variants in Southwest China.

HPV-16 long control region (LCR) has been shown to be the most variable region of the HPV-16 genome and may play important roles in viral persistence and the development of cervical cancer. This study aimed to assess the risk of HPV-16 LCR variants for cervical cancer in women of Southwest China. 2146 cervical scrapings of volunteer outpatients and 74 cervical cancer tissues were screened.14 entire HPV-16 LCRs from asymptomatic carriers and 34 entire HPV-16 LCRs from cervical cancer patients were successfully amplified and sequenced to align to others described. 58 different point mutations were detected in 54 nucleotide sites of HPV-16 LCR. G7193T and G7521A variants, accounting for 100% of the infections, were predicted to locate at the binding site for FOXA1 and SOX9, respectively. A7730C variant which showed a high mutation frequency in cervical cancer was predicted to be a binding site for the cellular transcription factor PHOX2A. In addition, phylogenetic analysis displayed a high prevalence of A lineage in HPV-16 LCR in this Southwest China population. This study may help understanding of the intrinsic geographical relatedness and the correlations between LCR mutations and the development of carcinogenic lesions in Southwest China population. And it provides useful data for the further study of the biological function of HPV-16 LCR variants.

Upregulation of microRNA-135b and microRNA-182 promotes chemoresistance of colorectal cancer by targeting ST6GALNAC2 via PI3K/AKT pathway.

MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are increasingly involved in the development of drug resistance, including 5-fluorouracil (5-FU) resistance in colorectal cancer (CRC). Aberrant sialylation is correlated with human CRC. The study was to explore whether miR-135b and miR-182 modulated 5-FU chemoresistance of CRC by targeting ST6GALNAC2 via PI3K/AKT pathway. MiR-135b and miR-182 were found to be up-regulated in CRC tissues and 5-FU resistant CRC cell lines. Forced miR-135b and miR-182 expression also affected ST6GALNAC2 levels. Using reporter-gene assay, ST6GALNAC2 was identified as direct target of miR-135b and miR-182, while ST6GALNAC2 expression exhibited patterns opposite to that of miR-135b and miR-182 in CRC samples and cell lines. Interestingly, up-regulation of miR-135b or miR-182 increased drug resistance and proliferation, but decreased apoptosis in 5-FU resistant CRC cell lines. Suppression of these miRNAs implicated an inverse function, while altered expression of ST6GALNAC2 mediated CRC progression upon transfection with miR-135b/-182 mimic or inhibitor. Furthermore, miR-135b and miR-182 were clarified to regulate the activity of phosphoinositide-3 kinase (PI3K)/AKT pathway. Inhibition of the PI3K/AKT pathway enhanced the chemosensitivity to 5-FU in HCT-8/5-FU and LoVo/5-FU. Taken together, miR-135b and miR-182 may reverse the resistance to 5-FU in CRC cells by targeting ST6GALNAC2 via PI3K/AKT pathway, which render potential chemotherapy targets for the treatment of CRC.

Intracellular adenosine regulates epigenetic programming in endothelial cells to promote angiogenesis.

The nucleoside adenosine is a potent regulator of vascular homeostasis, but it remains unclear how expression or function of the adenosine-metabolizing enzyme adenosine kinase (ADK) and the intracellular adenosine levels influence angiogenesis. We show here that hypoxia lowered the expression of ADK and increased the levels of intracellular adenosine in human endothelial cells. Knockdown (KD) of ADK elevated intracellular adenosine, promoted proliferation, migration, and angiogenic sprouting in human endothelial cells. Additionally, mice deficient in endothelial ADK displayed increased angiogenesis as evidenced by the rapid development of the retinal and hindbrain vasculature, increased healing of skin wounds, and prompt recovery of arterial blood flow in the ischemic hindlimb. Mechanistically, hypomethylation of the promoters of a series of pro-angiogenic genes, especially for VEGFR2 in ADK KD cells, was demonstrated by the Infinium methylation assay. Methylation-specific PCR, bisulfite sequencing, and methylated DNA immunoprecipitation further confirmed hypomethylation in the promoter region of VEGFR2 in ADK-deficient endothelial cells. Accordingly, loss or inactivation of ADK increased VEGFR2 expression and signaling in endothelial cells. Based on these findings, we propose that ADK downregulation-induced elevation of intracellular adenosine levels in endothelial cells in the setting of hypoxia is one of the crucial intrinsic mechanisms that promote angiogenesis.

Near infrared quantum dots in biomedical applications: current status and future perspective.

To address the requirements of biomedical applications including biosensing, bioimaging, and drug delivery, fluorescent nanomaterials served as efficient tools in many cases. Among them, near-infrared quantum dots (NIR QDs) have been used as novel fluorescent labels for their binary advantages of both QDs and NIR light. In this review, through collecting references in recent 10 years, we have introduced basic structures and properties of NIR QDs and summarized the classification and the related synthetic methods. This review also highlights the functionalization and surface bioconjugation of NIR QDs, and their biomedical applications in biosensing, bioimaging, and drug delivery. For further resources related to this article, please visit the WIREs website.

Long noncoding RNA linc00346 promotes the malignant phenotypes of bladder cancer.

More and more reports have demonstrated that long noncoding RNAs (lncRNAs) play an important role in the development of a variety of carcinomas, including bladder cancer. However, only a small fraction of them have been characterized. Linc00346 have been found to be upregulated in bladder cancer tissues compared to normal tissues in a microarray-based lncRNA profiling study. In this study, we would like to explore the expression pattern and functional role of linc00346 in bladder cancer.

Highly Water-Stable Lanthanide-Oxalate MOFs with Remarkable Proton Conductivity and Tunable Luminescence.

Although proton conductors derived from metal-organic frameworks (MOFs) are highly anticipated for various applications including solid-state electrolytes, H2 sensors, and ammonia synthesis, they are facing serious challenges such as poor water stability, fastidious working conditions, and low proton conductivity. Herein, we report two lanthanide-oxalate MOFs that are highly water stable, with so far the highest room-temperature proton conductivity (3.42 × 10-3 S cm-1 ) under 100% relative humidity (RH) among lanthanide-based MOFs and, most importantly, luminescent. Moreover, the simultaneous response of both the proton conductivity and luminescence intensity to RH allows the linkage of proton conductivity with luminescence intensity. This way, the electric signal of proton conductivity variation versus RH will be readily translated to optical signal of luminescence intensity, which can be directly visualized by the naked eye. If proper lanthanide ions or even transition-metal ions are used, the working wavelengths of luminescence emissions can be further extended from visible to near infrared light for even wider-range applications.

Carbon dots for tracking and promoting the osteogenic differentiation of mesenchymal stem cells.

Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) hold great potential for tissue engineering and regeneration medicine. However, for clinical use, MSCs may be detrimental due to their uncertain fate during the transplantation. It is therefore highly desirable to develop biocompatible nanomaterials to integrate cell fate regulation with monitoring for MSC-based therapy. Herein, we employ recently developed citric acid-based carbon dots (CDs) and their derivatives (Et-IPCA) for labeling and tracking of rat bone marrow mesenchymal stem cells (rBMSCs). We further investigate their biocompatibility and effects on the osteogenic differentiation of rBMSCs. These highly fluorescent probes provide labeling of rBMSCs by internalization without affecting cell viability or inducing apoptosis when the concentration is lower than 50 μg mL-1. Importantly, the presence of the CDs and Et-IPCA facilitates high-efficiency osteogenic differentiation of rBMSCs by promoting osteogenic transcription and enhancing matrix mineralization. Compared to Et-IPCA, CDs considerably provide long-term tracking and promote the differentiation of rBMSCs toward osteoblasts through the ROS-mediated MAPK pathway. Taken together, our results consistently demonstrate that carbon dots are capable of both tracking and enhancing the osteogenic differentiation of MSCs. This study sheds new light on the potential of carbon dots as a bifunctional tool in the thriving field of MSC-based therapy.

Berberine Reverses Hypoxia-induced Chemoresistance in Breast Cancer through the Inhibition of AMPK- HIF-1α.

Breast cancer is the most common type of cancer and the second leading cause of cancer death in American women. Chemoresistance is common and inevitable after a variable period of time. Therefore, chemosensitization is a necessary strategy on drug-resistant breast cancer. In this study, MCF-7 breast cancer cell was cultured under hypoxia for a week to induce the resistance to doxorubincin (DOX). The effect of different doses of berberine, a traditional Chinese medicine, on DOX sensitivity to MFC-7/hypoxia cells was observed. We found that hypoxia increased DOX resistance on breast cancer cells with the AMPK activation. Low-dose berberine could resensitize DOX chemosensitivity in MCF-7/hypoxia cell, however, high-dose berberine directly induced apoptosis. The intriguing fact was that the protein expressions of AMPK and HIF-1α were down-regulated by berberine, either low dose or high dose. But the downstream of HIF-1α occurred the bifurcation dependent on the dosage of berberine: AMPK-HIF-1α-P-gp inactivation played a crucial role on the DOX chemosensitivity of low-dose berberine, while AMPK-HIF-1α downregulaton inducing p53 activation led to apoptosis in high-dose berberine. These results were consistent to the transplanted mice model bearing MCF-7 drug-resistance tumor treated by berberine combined with DOX or high-dose berberine alone. This work shed light on a potentially therapeutic attempt to overcome drug-resistant breast cancer.

Complete genome analysis of dengue virus type 3 isolated from the 2013 dengue outbreak in Yunnan, China.

In the past few decades, dengue has spread rapidly and is an emerging disease in China. An unexpected dengue outbreak occurred in Xishuangbanna, Yunnan, China, resulting in 1331 patients in 2013. In order to obtain the complete genome information and perform mutation and evolutionary analysis of causative agent related to this largest outbreak of dengue fever. The viruses were isolated by cell culture and evaluated by genome sequence analysis. Phylogenetic trees were then constructed by Neighbor-Joining methods (MEGA6.0), followed by analysis of nucleotide mutation and amino acid substitution. The analysis of the diversity of secondary structure for E and NS1 protein were also performed. Then selection pressures acting on the coding sequences were estimated by PAML software. The complete genome sequences of two isolated strains (YNSW1, YNSW2) were 10,710 and 10,702 nucleotides in length, respectively. Phylogenetic analysis revealed both strain were classified as genotype II of DENV-3. The results indicated that both isolated strains of Xishuangbanna in 2013 and Laos 2013 stains (KF816161.1, KF816158.1, LC147061.1, LC147059.1, KF816162.1) were most similar to Bangladesh (AY496873.2) in 2002. After comparing with the DENV-3SS (H87) 62 amino acid substitutions were identified in translated regions, and 38 amino acid substitutions were identified in translated regions compared with DENV-3 genotype II stains Bangladesh (AY496873.2). 27(YNSW1) or 28(YNSW2) single nucleotide changes were observed in structural protein sequences with 7(YNSW1) or 8(YNSW2) non-synonymous mutations compared with AY496873.2. Of them, 4 non-synonymous mutations were identified in E protein sequences with (2 in the β-sheet, 2 in the coil). Meanwhile, 117(YNSW1) or 115 (YNSW2) single nucleotide changes were observed in non-structural protein sequences with 31(YNSW1) or 30 (YNSW2) non-synonymous mutations. Particularly, 14 single nucleotide changes were observed in NS1 sequences with 4/14 non-synonymous substitutions (4 in the coil). Selection pressure analysis revealed no positive selection in the amino acid sites of the genes encoding for structural and non-structural proteins. This study may help understand the intrinsic geographical relatedness of dengue virus 3 and contributes further to research on their infectivity, pathogenicity and vaccine development.

Inhibition of microRNA-500 has anti-cancer effect through its conditional downstream target of TFPI in human prostate cancer.

We investigated the prognostic potential and regulatory mechanism of microRNA-500 (miR-500), and human gene of tissue factor pathway inhibitor (TFPI) in prostate cancer.

An Essential Regulatory System Originating from Polygenic Transcriptional Rewiring of PhoP-PhoQ of Xanthomonas campestris.

How essential, regulatory genes originate and evolve is intriguing because mutations of these genes not only lead to lethality in organisms, but also have pleiotropic effects since they control the expression of multiple downstream genes. Therefore, the evolution of essential, regulatory genes is not only determined by genetic variations of their own sequences, but also by the biological function of downstream genes and molecular mechanisms of regulation. To understand the origin of essential, regulatory genes, experimental dissection of the complete regulatory cascade is needed. Here, we provide genetic evidences to reveal that PhoP-PhoQ is an essential two-component signal transduction system in the gram-negative bacterium Xanthomonas campestris, but that its orthologs in other bacteria belonging to Proteobacteria are nonessential. Mutational, biochemical, and chromatin immunoprecipitation together with high-throughput sequencing analyses revealed that phoP and phoQ of X. campestris and its close relative Pseudomonas aeruginosa are replaceable, and that the consensus binding motifs of the transcription factor PhoP are also highly conserved. PhoP Xcc in X. campestris regulates the transcription of a number of essential, structural genes by directly binding to cis-regulatory elements (CREs); however, these CREs are lacking in the orthologous essential, structural genes in P. aeruginosa, and thus the regulatory relationships between PhoP Pae and these downstream essential genes are disassociated. Our findings suggested that the recruitment of regulatory proteins by critical structural genes via transcription factor-CRE rewiring is a driving force in the origin and functional divergence of essential, regulatory genes.

Functional magnetic hybrid nanomaterials for biomedical diagnosis and treatment.

Magnetic nanomaterials integrating supplemental functional materials are called magnetic hybrid nanomaterials (MHNs). Such MHNs have drawn increasing attention due to their biocompatibility and the potential applications either as alternative contrast enhancing agents or effective heat nanomediators in hyperthermia therapy. The joint function comes from the hybrid nanostructures. Hybrid nanostructures of different modification can be easily achieved owing to the large surface-area-to-volume ratio and sophisticated surface characteristic. In this focus article, we mainly discussed the design and synthesis of MHNs and their applications as multimodal imaging probes and therapy agents in biomedicine. These MHNs consisting magnetic nanomaterials with functional nanocomponents such as noble metal or isotopes could perform not only superparamagnetism but also features that can be adapted in, for example, enhancing computed tomography contrast modalities, positron emission tomography, and single-photon emission computed tomography. The combination of several techniques provides more comprehensive information by both synergizing the advantages, such as quantitative evaluation, higher sensitivity and spatial resolution, and mitigating the disadvantages. Such hybrid nanostructures could also provide a unique nanoplatform for enhanced medical tracing, magnetic field, and light-triggered hyperthermia. Moreover, potential advantages and opportunities will be achieved via a combination of diagnostic and therapeutic agents within a single platform, which is so-called 'theranostics.' We expect the combination of unique structural characteristics and integrated functions of multicomponent magnetic hybrid nanomaterials will attract increasing research interest and could lead to new opportunities in nanomedicine and nanobiotechnology. WIREs Nanomed Nanobiotechnol 2018, 10:e1476. doi: 10.1002/wnan.1476 This article is categorized under: Diagnostic Tools > Diagnostic Nanodevices.

Upconversion Modulation through Pulsed Laser Excitation for Anti-counterfeiting.

Lanthanide-doped upconversion nanomaterials are emerging as promising candidates in optoelectronics, volumetric display, anti-counterfeiting as well as biological imaging and therapy. Typical modulations of upconversion through chemical methods, such as controlling phase, composition, morphology and size enable us to rationally manipulate emission profiles and lifetimes of lanthanide ions by using continuous-wave laser excitation. Here we demonstrate that under pulsed laser excitation the emission color of NaYF4:Er/Tm (2/0.5%)@NaYF4 core-shell nanoparticles has an obvious transformation from green to red colors. Moreover, both pulse duration and repetition frequency are responsible for manipulating the upconversion emission color. The mechanism of the phenomena may be that the pulsed laser sequence triggers the emission levels to non-steady upconversion states first, and then cuts off the unfinished population process within the pulse duration. This pump source dependent and resultant tunable fluorescence emission enables NaYF4:Er/Tm (2/0.5%)@NaYF4 nanoparticles as a promising fluorophore in the transparent anti-fake printing.

Rationally Designed PI3Kα Mutants to Mimic ATR and Their Use to Understand Binding Specificity of ATR Inhibitors.

ATR, a protein kinase in the PIKK family, plays a critical role in the cell DNA-damage response and is an attractive anticancer drug target. Several potent and selective inhibitors of ATR have been reported showing significant antitumor efficacy, with most advanced ones entering clinical trials. However, due to the absence of an experimental ATR structure, the determinants contributing to ATR inhibitors' potency and specificity are not well understood. Here we present the mutations in the ATP-binding site of PI3Kα to progressively transform the pocket to mimic that of ATR. The generated PI3Kα mutants exhibit significantly improved affinity for selective ATR inhibitors in multiple chemical classes. Furthermore, we obtained the X-ray structures of the PI3Kα mutants in complex with the ATR inhibitors. The crystal structures together with the analysis on the inhibitor affinity profile elucidate the roles of individual amino acid residues in the binding of ATR inhibitors, offering key insights for the binding mechanism and revealing the structure features important for the specificity of ATR inhibitors. The ability to obtain structural and binding data for these PI3Kα mutants, together with their ATR-like inhibitor binding profiles, makes these chimeric PI3Kα proteins valuable model systems for structure-based inhibitor design.