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  1. Chen Q, Narayanan K
    Methods Mol. Biol., 2015;1227:27-54.
    PMID: 25239740 DOI: 10.1007/978-1-4939-1652-8_2
    Recombineering is a powerful genetic engineering technique based on homologous recombination that can be used to accurately modify DNA independent of its sequence or size. One novel application of recombineering is the assembly of linear BACs in E. coli that can replicate autonomously as linear plasmids. A circular BAC is inserted with a short telomeric sequence from phage N15, which is subsequently cut and rejoined by the phage protelomerase enzyme to generate a linear BAC with terminal hairpin telomeres. Telomere-capped linear BACs are protected against exonuclease attack both in vitro and in vivo in E. coli cells and can replicate stably. Here we describe step-by-step protocols to linearize any BAC clone by recombineering, including inserting and screening for presence of the N15 telomeric sequence, linearizing BACs in vivo in E. coli, extracting linear BACs, and verifying the presence of hairpin telomere structures. Linear BACs may be useful for functional expression of genomic loci in cells, maintenance of linear viral genomes in their natural conformation, and for constructing innovative artificial chromosome structures for applications in mammalian and plant cells.
  2. Chen Q, Narayanan K
    Anal. Biochem., 2011 Jul 1;414(1):169-71.
    PMID: 21396906 DOI: 10.1016/j.ab.2011.03.006
    The phage N15 protelomerase enzyme (TelN) is essential for the replication of its genome by resolution of its telRL domain, located within a telomerase occupancy site (tos), into hairpin telomeres. Isolation of TelN for in vitro processing of tos, however, is a highly complex process, requiring multiple purification steps. In this study a simplified protocol for crude total protein extraction is described that retains the tos-cleaving activity of TelN for at least 4 weeks, greatly simplifying in vitro testing of its activity. This protocol may be extended for functional analysis of other phage and bacterial proteins, particularly DNA-processing enzymes.
  3. Chen Q, Lee CW, Sim EU, Narayanan K
    Hum Gene Ther Methods, 2014 Feb;25(1):40-7.
    PMID: 24134118 DOI: 10.1089/hgtb.2012.188
    Direct protein delivery into the cytosol of mammalian cells by invasive Escherichia coli (E. coli) bacterial vector will bypass the need to achieve nuclear entry and transcription of DNA, a major hurdle that is known to seriously limit gene transfer. The bacterial vector is induced to express the protein during its growth phase, before presentation for entry into mammalian cells and release of its content into the cellular environment. For this class of vector, crossing the plasma membrane becomes the primary step that determines the success of protein delivery. Yet, how the mechanics of protein expression within the vector affect its entry into the host is poorly understood. We found the vector's effectiveness to enter HeLa cells diminished together with its viability when phage N15 protelomerase (TelN) expression was induced continuously in the invasive E. coli despite producing an abundant amount of functional protein. By comparison, shorter induction, even as little as 3 hr, produced sufficient amounts of functional TelN and showed more effective invasion of HeLa cells, comparable to that of uninduced invasive E. coli. These results demonstrate that brief induction of protein expression during vector growth is essential for optimal entry into mammalian cells, an important step for achieving bacteria-mediated protein delivery.
  4. Li G, Li P, Chen Q, Thu HE, Hussain Z
    Curr Drug Deliv, 2019;16(2):94-110.
    PMID: 30360738 DOI: 10.2174/1567201815666181024142354
    BACKGROUND: Owing to their great promise in the spinal surgeries, bone graft substitutes have been widely investigated for their safety and clinical potential. By the current advances in the spinal surgery, an understanding of the precise biological mechanism of each bone graft substitute is mandatory for upholding the induction of solid spinal fusion.

    OBJECTIVE: The aim of the present review is to critically discuss various surgical implications and level of evidence of most commonly employed bone graft substitutes for spinal fusion.

    METHOD: Data was collected via electronic search using "PubMed", "SciFinder", "ScienceDirect", "Google Scholar", "Web of Science" and a library search for articles published in peer-reviewed journals, conferences, and e-books.

    RESULTS: Despite having exceptional inherent osteogenic, osteoinductive, and osteoconductive features, clinical acceptability of autografts (patient's own bone) is limited due to several perioperative and postoperative complications i.e., donor-site morbidities and limited graft supply. Alternatively, allografts (bone harvested from cadaver) have shown great promise in achieving acceptable bone fusion rate while alleviating the donor-site morbidities associated with implantation of autografts. As an adjuvant to allograft, demineralized bone matrix (DBM) has shown remarkable efficacy of bone fusion, when employed as graft extender or graft enhancer. Recent advances in recombinant technologies have made it possible to implant growth and differentiation factors (bone morphogenetic proteins) for spinal fusion.

    CONCLUSION: Selection of a particular bone grafting biotherapy can be rationalized based on the level of spine fusion, clinical experience and preference of orthopaedic surgeon, and prevalence of donor-site morbidities.

  5. Sun B, Jia L, Liang B, Chen Q, Liu D
    Virol Sin, 2018 Oct;33(5):385-393.
    PMID: 30311101 DOI: 10.1007/s12250-018-0050-1
    Nipah virus (NiV), a zoonotic paramyxovirus belonging to the genus Henipavirus, is classified as a Biosafety Level-4 pathogen based on its high pathogenicity in humans and the lack of available vaccines or therapeutics. Since its initial emergence in 1998 in Malaysia, this virus has become a great threat to domestic animals and humans. Sporadic outbreaks and person-to-person transmission over the past two decades have resulted in hundreds of human fatalities. Epidemiological surveys have shown that NiV is distributed in Asia, Africa, and the South Pacific Ocean, and is transmitted by its natural reservoir, Pteropid bats. Numerous efforts have been made to analyze viral protein function and structure to develop feasible strategies for drug design. Increasing surveillance and preventative measures for the viral infectious disease are urgently needed.
  6. Li G, Li P, Chen Q, Mani MP, Jaganathan SK
    PeerJ, 2019;7:e6986.
    PMID: 31179183 DOI: 10.7717/peerj.6986
    Traditionally, in the Asian continent, oils are a widely accepted choice for alleviating bone-related disorders. The design of scaffolds resembling the extracellular matrix (ECM) is of great significance in bone tissue engineering. In this study, a multicomponent polyurethane (PU), canola oil (CO) and neem oil (NO) scaffold was developed using the electrospinning technique. The fabricated nanofibers were subjected to various physicochemical and biological testing to validate its suitability for bone tissue engineering. Morphological analysis of the multicomponent scaffold showed a reduction in fiber diameter (PU/CO-853 ± 141.27 nm and PU/CO/NO-633 ± 137.54 nm) compared to PU (890 ± 116.911 nm). The existence of CO and NO in PU matrix was confirmed by an infrared spectrum (IR) with the formation of hydrogen bond. PU/CO displayed a mean contact angle of 108.7° ± 0.58 while the PU/CO/NO exhibited hydrophilic nature with an angle of 62.33° ± 2.52. The developed multicomponent also exhibited higher thermal stability and increased mechanical strength compared to the pristine PU. Atomic force microscopy (AFM) analysis depicted lower surface roughness for the nanocomposites (PU/CO-389 nm and PU/CO/NO-323 nm) than the pristine PU (576 nm). Blood compatibility investigation displayed the anticoagulant nature of the composites. Cytocompatibility studies revealed the non-toxic nature of the developed composites with human fibroblast cells (HDF) cells. The newly developed porous PU nanocomposite scaffold comprising CO and NO may serve as a potential candidate for bone tissue engineering.
  7. Zhang H, Liao W, Chao W, Chen Q, Zeng H, Wu C, et al.
    J. Dermatol., 2008 Sep;35(9):555-61.
    PMID: 18837699 DOI: 10.1111/j.1346-8138.2008.00523.x
    Sebaceous gland diseases are a group of common dermatological diseases with multiple causes. To date, a systematic report of the risk factors for sebaceous gland diseases in adolescents has not been published. The aim of this study was to assess the prevalence and risk factors for certain sebaceous gland diseases (seborrhea, seborrheic dermatitis, acne, androgenetic alopecia and rosacea) and their relationship to gastrointestinal dysfunction in adolescents. From August-October, 2002-2005, a questionnaire survey was carried out to obtain epidemiological data about sebaceous gland diseases. Using random cluster sampling, 13 215 Han adolescents aged 12-20 years were recruited from four countries or districts (Macau; Guangzhou, China; Malaysia; and Indonesia). The statistical software SPSS ver. 13.0 was used to analyze the data. The prevalence of seborrhea, seborrheic dermatitis, acne, androgenetic alopecia and rosacea was 28.27%, 10.17%, 51.03%, 1.65% and 0.97%, respectively. Based on multivariate logistic regression analysis, the risk factors for sebaceous gland diseases included: age; duration of local residency; halitosis; gastric reflux; abdominal bloating; constipation; sweet food; spicy food; family history of acne; late night sleeping on a daily basis; excessive axillary, body and facial hair; excessive periareolar hair; and anxiety. There was a statistically significant difference in the prevalence of gastrointestinal symptoms (halitosis; gastric reflux; abdominal bloating; constipation) between patients with and without sebaceous gland diseases (chi(2) = 150.743; P = 0.000). Gastrointestinal dysfunction is an important risk factor for diseases of the sebaceous glands and is correlated with their occurrence and development.
  8. Engels S, Fong LSRZ, Chen Q, Leng MJ, McGowan S, Idris M, et al.
    Environ. Pollut., 2018 Apr;235:907-917.
    PMID: 29353806 DOI: 10.1016/j.envpol.2018.01.007
    Fossil fuel combustion leads to increased levels of air pollution, which negatively affects human health as well as the environment. Documented data for Southeast Asia (SEA) show a strong increase in fossil fuel consumption since 1980, but information on coal and oil combustion before 1980 is not widely available. Spheroidal carbonaceous particles (SCPs) and heavy metals, such as mercury (Hg), are emitted as by-products of fossil fuel combustion and may accumulate in sediments following atmospheric fallout. Here we use sediment SCP and Hg records from several freshwater lentic ecosystems in SEA (Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore) to reconstruct long-term, region-wide variations in levels of these two key atmospheric pollution indicators. The age-depth models of Philippine sediment cores do not reach back far enough to date first SCP presence, but single SCP occurrences are first observed between 1925 and 1950 for a Malaysian site. Increasing SCP flux is observed at our sites from 1960 onward, although individual sites show minor differences in trends. SCP fluxes show a general decline after 2000 at each of our study sites. While the records show broadly similar temporal trends across SEA, absolute SCP fluxes differ between sites, with a record from Malaysia showing SCP fluxes that are two orders of magnitude lower than records from the Philippines. Similar trends in records from China and Japan represent the emergence of atmospheric pollution as a broadly-based inter-region environmental problem during the 20th century. Hg fluxes were relatively stable from the second half of the 20th century onward. As catchment soils are also contaminated with atmospheric Hg, future soil erosion can be expected to lead to enhanced Hg flux into surface waters.
  9. Waqas MY, Lisi H, Yang P, Ullah S, Zhang L, Zhang Q, et al.
    J Exp Zool A Ecol Genet Physiol, 2015 Nov;323(9):655-65.
    PMID: 26350585 DOI: 10.1002/jez.1957
    The oviduct is the location of fertilization and sperm storage. We examined the ultrastructure of the oviduct epithelium and its glandular secretions in the isthmus, uterus and vagina of Chinese soft-shelled turtle Pelodiscus sinensis using light and transmission electron microscopy. The epithelium in these segments is lined with ciliated, secretory and other cells; the first two cell types span the entire epithelium, with secretory cells being predominant. The ciliated cells are characterized by the presence of a secretory vacuole that releases apocrine secretions into the lumen, whereas the secretory cells contain typical biphasic granules with both dark and light aspects. The third type of cells observed have wider proximal portion, abundant mitochondria, vacuoles, and narrow nuclei. The storage of spermatozoa is restricted to the isthmus, uterus, and vagina. In addition, the gland cells show prominent features, including the presence of granules of different shapes, sizes, and electron densities. The synthesis of these granules is described for the first time in this study. Mitochondria appear to play an important role in the formation of dense granules, the rough endoplasmic reticulum and microfilaments may also play a role in the maturation of these dense granules. After completing the maturation process, these granules are released into the lumen of the gland cells.
  10. Liew PS, Chen Q, Ng AWR, Chew YC, Ravin NV, Sim EUH, et al.
    Anal. Biochem., 2019 Oct 15;583:113361.
    PMID: 31306622 DOI: 10.1016/j.ab.2019.113361
    Phage N15 protelomerase (TelN) cleaves double-stranded circular DNA containing a telomerase-occupancy-site (tos) and rejoins the resulting linear-ends to form closed-hairpin-telomeres in Escherichia coli (E. coli). Continued TelN expression is essential to support resolution of the linear structure. In mammalian cells, no enzyme with TelN-like activities has been found. In this work, we show that phage TelN, expressed transiently and stably in human and mouse cells, recapitulates its native activities in these exogenous environments. We found TelN to accurately resolve tos-DNA in vitro and in vivo within human and mouse cells into linear DNA-containing terminal telomeres that are resistant to RecBCD degradation, a hallmark of protelomerase processing. In stable cells, TelN activity was detectable for at least 60 days, which suggests the possibility of limited silencing of its expression. Correspondingly, linear plasmid containing a 100 kb human β-globin gene expressed for at least 120 h in non-β-globin-expressing mouse cells with TelN presence. Our results demonstrate TelN is able to cut and heal DNA as hairpin-telomeres within mammalian cells, providing a tool for creating novel structures by DNA resolution in these hosts. The TelN protelomerase may be useful for exploring novel technologies for genome interrogation and chromosome engineering.
  11. Rabbolini DJ, Morel-Kopp MC, Chen Q, Gabrielli S, Dunlop LC, Chew LP, et al.
    J. Thromb. Haemost., 2017 Nov;15(11):2245-2258.
    PMID: 28880435 DOI: 10.1111/jth.13843
    Essentials The phenotypes of different growth factor-independent 1B (GFI1B) variants are not established. GFI1B variants produce heterogeneous clinical phenotypes dependent on the site of mutation. Mutation of the first non-DNA-binding zinc-finger causes a mild platelet and clinical phenotype. GFI1B regulates the CD34 promoter; platelet CD34 expression is an indicator of GFI1B mutation.

    SUMMARY: Background Mutation of the growth factor-independent 1B (GFI1B) fifth DNA-binding zinc-finger domain causes macrothrombocytopenia and α-granule deficiency leading to clinical bleeding. The phenotypes associated with GFI1B variants disrupting non-DNA-binding zinc-fingers remain uncharacterized. Objectives To determine the functional and phenotypic consequences of GFI1B variants disrupting non-DNA-binding zinc-finger domains. Methods The GFI1B C168F variant and a novel GFI1B c.2520 + 1_2520 + 8delGTGGGCAC splice variant were identified in four unrelated families. Phenotypic features, DNA-binding properties and transcriptional effects were determined and compared with those in individuals with a GFI1B H294 fs mutation of the fifth DNA-binding zinc-finger. Patient-specific induced pluripotent stem cell (iPSC)-derived megakaryocytes were generated to facilitate disease modeling. Results The DNA-binding GFI1B variant C168F, which is predicted to disrupt the first non-DNA-binding zinc-finger domain, is associated with macrothrombocytopenia without α-granule deficiency or bleeding symptoms. A GFI1B splice variant, c.2520 + 1_2520 + 8delGTGGGCAC, which generates a short GFI1B isoform that lacks non-DNA-binding zinc-fingers 1 and 2, is associated with increased platelet CD34 expression only, without quantitative or morphologic platelet abnormalities. GFI1B represses the CD34 promoter, and this repression is attenuated by different GFI1B zinc-finger mutations, suggesting that deregulation of CD34 expression occurs at a direct transcriptional level. Patient-specific iPSC-derived megakaryocytes phenocopy these observations. Conclusions Disruption of GFI1B non-DNA-binding zinc-finger 1 is associated with mild to moderate thrombocytopenia without α-granule deficiency or bleeding symptomatology, indicating that the site of GFI1B mutation has important phenotypic implications. Platelet CD34 expression appears to be a common feature of perturbed GFI1B function, and may have diagnostic utility.

  12. He MQ, Shen JY, Petrović AP, He QL, Liu HC, Zheng Y, et al.
    Sci Rep, 2016 09 02;6:32508.
    PMID: 27587000 DOI: 10.1038/srep32508
    In the interfacial superconductor Bi2Te3/Fe1+yTe, two dimensional superconductivity occurs in direct vicinity to the surface state of a topological insulator. If this state were to become involved in superconductivity, under certain conditions a topological superconducting state could be formed, which is of high interest due to the possibility of creating Majorana fermionic states. We report directional point-contact spectroscopy data on the novel Bi2Te3/Fe1+yTe interfacial superconductor for a Bi2Te3 thickness of 9 quintuple layers, bonded by van der Waals epitaxy to a Fe1+yTe film at an atomically sharp interface. Our data show highly unconventional superconductivity, which appears as complex as in the cuprate high temperature superconductors. A very large superconducting twin-gap structure is replaced by a pseudogap above ~12 K which persists up to 40 K. While the larger gap shows unconventional order parameter symmetry and is attributed to a thin FeTe layer in proximity to the interface, the smaller gap is associated with superconductivity induced via the proximity effect in the topological insulator Bi2Te3.
  13. de Carvalho LP, Gao F, Chen Q, Hartman M, Sim LL, Koh TH, et al.
    Eur Heart J Acute Cardiovasc Care, 2014 Dec;3(4):354-62.
    PMID: 24598820 DOI: 10.1177/2048872614527007
    the purpose of this study was to investigate differences in long-term mortality following acute myocardial infarction (AMI) in patients from three major ethnicities of Asia.
  14. Moyes CL, Henry AJ, Golding N, Huang Z, Singh B, Baird JK, et al.
    PLoS Negl Trop Dis, 2014 Mar;8(3):e2780.
    PMID: 24676231 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pntd.0002780
    BACKGROUND: The simian malaria parasite, Plasmodium knowlesi, can cause severe and fatal disease in humans yet it is rarely included in routine public health reporting systems for malaria and its geographical range is largely unknown. Because malaria caused by P. knowlesi is a truly neglected tropical disease, there are substantial obstacles to defining the geographical extent and risk of this disease. Information is required on the occurrence of human cases in different locations, on which non-human primates host this parasite and on which vectors are able to transmit it to humans. We undertook a systematic review and ranked the existing evidence, at a subnational spatial scale, to investigate the potential geographical range of the parasite reservoir capable of infecting humans.

    METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: After reviewing the published literature we identified potential host and vector species and ranked these based on how informative they are for the presence of an infectious parasite reservoir, based on current evidence. We collated spatial data on parasite occurrence and the ranges of the identified host and vector species. The ranked spatial data allowed us to assign an evidence score to 475 subnational areas in 19 countries and we present the results on a map of the Southeast and South Asia region.

    CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE: We have ranked subnational areas within the potential disease range according to evidence for presence of a disease risk to humans, providing geographical evidence to support decisions on prevention, management and prophylaxis. This work also highlights the unknown risk status of large parts of the region. Within this unknown category, our map identifies which areas have most evidence for the potential to support an infectious reservoir and are therefore a priority for further investigation. Furthermore we identify geographical areas where further investigation of putative host and vector species would be highly informative for the region-wide assessment.

  15. Rabbolini DJ, Chun Y, Latimer M, Kunishima S, Fixter K, Valecha B, et al.
    Platelets, 2017 Nov 01.
    PMID: 29090586 DOI: 10.1080/09537104.2017.1356920
    MYH9-related disorders (MYH9-RDs) caused by mutation of the MYH9 gene which encodes non-muscle myosin heavy-chain-IIA (NMMHC-IIA), an important motor protein in hemopoietic cells, are the most commonly encountered cause of inherited macrothrombocytopenia. Despite distinguishing features including an autosomal dominant mode of inheritance, giant platelets on the peripheral blood film accompanied by leucocytes with cytoplasmic inclusion bodies (döhle-like bodies), these disorders remain generally under-recognized and often misdiagnosed as immune thrombocytopenia (ITP). This may result in inappropriate treatment with corticosteroids, immunosupressants and in some cases, splenectomy. We explored the efficacy of next generation sequencing (NGS) with a candidate gene panel to establish the aetiology of thrombocytopenia for individuals who had been referred to our center from hematologists in the Australasian region in whom the cause of thrombocytopenia was suspected to be secondary to an inherited condition but which remained uncharacterized despite phenotypic investigations. Pathogenic MYH9 variants were detected in 15 (15/121, 12.4%) individuals and the pathogenecity of a novel variant of uncertain significance was confirmed in a further two related individuals following immunofluorescence (IF) staining performed in our laboratory. Concerningly, only one (1/17) individual diagnosed with MYH9-RD had been referred with this as a presumptive diagnosis, in all other cases (16/17, 94.1%), a diagnosis was not suspected by referring clinicians, indicating a lack of awareness or a failing of our diagnostic approach to these conditions. We examined the mean platelet diameter (MPD) measurements as a means to better identify and quantify platelet size. MPDs in cases with MYH9-RDs were significantly larger than controls (p < 0.001) and in 91% were greater than a previously suggested threshold for platelets in cases of ITP. In addition, we undertook IF staining in a proportion of cases and confirm that this test and/or NGS are satisfactory diagnostic tests. We propose that fewer cases of MYH9-RDs would be missed if diagnostic algorithms prioritized IF and/or NGS in cases of thrombocytopenia associated with giant platelets, even if döhle-like bodies are not appreciated on the peripheral blood film. Finally, our report describes the long-term use of a thrombopoietin agonist in a case of MYH9-RD that had previously been diagnosed as ITP, and demonstrates that treatment with these agents may be possible, and is well tolerated, in this group of patients.
  16. Nakamoto H, Yu XQ, Kim S, Origasa H, Zheng H, Chen J, et al.
    Ther Apher Dial, 2019 May 23.
    PMID: 31119846 DOI: 10.1111/1744-9987.12840
    TRK-100STP, a sustained-release preparation of the orally active prostacyclin analogue beraprost sodium, targets renal hypoxia. This study aimed to show the superiority of TRK-100STP over placebos in patients with chronic kidney disease (with either primary glomerular disease or nephrosclerosis) to determine the recommended dose. CASSIOPEIR (Chronic Renal Failure Asian Study with Oral PGI2 Derivative for Evaluating Improvement of Renal Function) was a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study conducted at 160 sites in seven Asia-Pacific countries and regions. Eligible patients (n = 892) were randomized to TRK-100STP 120, 240 μg, or placebo for a treatment period of up to 4 years. The primary efficacy endpoint was time to first occurrence of a renal composite: doubling of serum creatinine or occurrence of end-stage renal disease. No significant differences were observed in composite endpoints between TRK-100STP and placebo (P = 0.5674). Hazard ratios (95% CI) in the TRK-100STP 120 and 240 μg vs. placebo groups were 0.98 (0.78, 1.22) and 0.91 (0.72, 1.14), respectively. The overall incidence of adverse events and adverse drug reactions was comparable between treatment arms.
  17. Klionsky DJ, Abdelmohsen K, Abe A, Abedin MJ, Abeliovich H, Acevedo Arozena A, et al.
    Autophagy, 2016;12(1):1-222.
    PMID: 26799652 DOI: 10.1080/15548627.2015.1100356
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