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  1. Zhao X, Kim SK, Zhu W, Kannan N, Li D
    Chemosphere, 2015 Jan;119:289-294.
    PMID: 25036943 DOI: 10.1016/j.chemosphere.2014.06.005
    The Changbai (also known as "Baekdu") Mountain, on the border between China and North Korea, is the highest mountain (2750 m) in northeastern China. Recently, this mountain region has experienced a dramatic increase in air pollution, not only because of increasing volumes of tourism-derived traffic but also because of the long-range transport of polluted westerly winds passing through major industrial and urban cities in the eastern region of China. To assess the relative importance of the two sources of pollution, 16 polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) as model substances were determined in the mountain soil. A total of 32 soil samples were collected from different sides of the mountain at different latitudes between July and August of 2009. The ∑PAH concentrations were within the range 38.5-190.1 ng g(-1) on the northern side, 117.7-443.6 ng g(-1) on the southern side, and 75.3-437.3 ng g(-1) on the western side. A progressive increase in the level of ∑PAHs with latitude was observed on the southern and western sides that face the westerly wind with abundant precipitation. However, a similar concentration gradient was not observed on the northern side that receives less rain and is on the leeward direction of the wind. The high-molecular-weight PAH compounds were predominant in the soils on the southern and western sides, while low-molecular-weight PAHs dominated the northern side soils. These findings show that the distribution of PAHs in the mountain soil is strongly influenced by the atmospheric long-range transport and cold trapping.
  2. Zhu W, Zheng W, Hu X, Xu X, Zhang L, Tian J
    Biochim Biophys Acta Proteins Proteom, 2017 Apr;1865(4):404-413.
    PMID: 28087425 DOI: 10.1016/j.bbapap.2017.01.004
    Lonicera japonica Thunb., also known as Jin Yin Hua and Japanese honeysuckle, is used as a herbal medicine in Asian countries. Its flowers have been used in folk medicine in the clinic and in making food or healthy beverages for over 1500years in China. To investigate the molecular processes involved in L. japonica development from buds to flowers exposed to UV radiation, a comparative proteomics analysis was performed. Fifty-four proteins were identified as differentially expressed, including 42 that had increased expression and 12 that had decreased expression. The levels of the proteins related to glycolysis, TCA/organic acid transformation, major carbohydrate metabolism, oxidative pentose phosphate, stress, secondary metabolism, hormone, and mitochondrial electron transport were increased during flower opening process after exposure to UV radiation. Six metabolites in L. japonica buds and flowers were identified and relatively quantified using LC-MS/MS. The antioxidant activity was performed using a 1,1-diphenyl-2-picrylhydrazyl assay, which revealed that L. japonica buds had more activity than the UV irradiated flowers. This suggests that UV-B radiation induces production of endogenous ethylene in L. japonica buds, thus facilitating blossoming of the buds and activating the antioxidant system. Additionally, the higher metabolite contents and antioxidant properties of L. japonica buds indicate that the L. japonica bud stage may be a more optimal time to harvest than the flower stage when using for medicinal properties.
  3. Wang T, Yang B, Guan Q, Chen X, Zhong Z, Huang W, et al.
    BMC Plant Biol., 2019 May 14;19(1):198.
    PMID: 31088368 DOI: 10.1186/s12870-019-1803-1
    BACKGROUND: Lonicera japonica Thunb. flower has been used for the treatment of various diseases for a long time and attracted many studies on its potential effects. Transcription factors (TFs) regulate extensive biological processes during plant development. As the restricted reports of L. japonica on TFs, our work was carried out to better understand the TFs' regulatory roles under different developmental stages in L. japonica.

    RESULTS: In this study, 1316 TFs belonging to 52 families were identified from the transcriptomic data, and corresponding expression profiles during the L. japonica flower development were comprehensively analyzed. 917 (69.68%) TFs were differentially expressed. TFs in bHLH, ERF, MYB, bZIP, and NAC families exhibited obviously altered expression during flower growth. Based on the analysis of differentially expressed TFs (DETFs), TFs in MYB, WRKY, NAC and LSD families that involved in phenylpropanoids biosynthesis, senescence processes and antioxidant activity were detected. The expression of MYB114 exhibited a positive correlation with the contents of luteoloside; Positive correlation was observed among the expression of MYC12, chalcone synthase (CHS) and flavonol synthase (FLS), while negative correlation was observed between the expression of MYB44 and the synthases; The expression of LSD1 was highly correlated with the expression of SOD and the total antioxidant capacity, while the expression of LOL1 and LOL2 exhibited a negative correlation with them; Many TFs in NAC and WRKY families may be potentially involved in the senescence process regulated by hormones and reactive oxygen species (ROS). The expression of NAC19, NAC29, and NAC53 exhibited a positive correlation with the contents of ABA and H2O2, while the expression of WRKY53, WRKY54, and WRKY70 exhibited a negative correlation with the contents of JA, SA and ABA.

    CONCLUSIONS: Our study provided a comprehensive characterization of the expression profiles of TFs during the developmental stages of L. japonica. In addition, we detected the key TFs that may play significant roles in controlling active components biosynthesis, antioxidant activity and flower senescence in L. japonica, thereby providing valuable insights into the molecular networks underlying L. japonica flower development.

  4. Jiang B, Fu J, Dong Z, Fang M, Zhu W, Wang L
    PeerJ, 2019;7:e7007.
    PMID: 31179190 DOI: 10.7717/peerj.7007
    Background: Many tilapia species or varieties have been widely introduced and have become an economically important food fish in China. Information on the genetic backgrounds of these populations is deficient and requires more research, especially for red tilapia strains.

    Methods: In the present study, displacement loop (D-loop) sequences were used to evaluate the genetic relationship and diversity of seven tilapia populations that are widely cultured in China; this was done specifically to speculate on the maternal ancestry of red tilapia strains. Three red tilapia varieties of Oreochromis ssp., Taiwan (TW), Israel (IL), and Malaysia (MY) strains and other populations, including O. aureus (AR), O. niloticus (NL), O. mossambicus (MS), and the GIFT strain of O. niloticus, were collected and analyzed in this study.

    Results: A total of 146 polymorphic sites and 32 haplotypes of D-loop sequences were detected among 332 fish and four major haplotypes were shared among the populations. The TW and NL populations had a greater number of haplotypes (20 and 8, respectively). The haplotype diversity (Hd) and nucleotide diversity (π) of each population ranged from 0.234 to 0.826, and 0 to 0.060, respectively. The significant positive Tajima's D value of neutral test were detected in the NL, IL, and MY populations (P  0.05). The nearest K2P genetic distance (D = 0.014) was detected between the MS and TW populations, whereas, the farthest (D = 0.101) was found between the GIFT and AR populations. The results from the molecular variance analysis (AMOVA) showed that there was an extremely significant genetic variation observed among the populations (P 

  5. Guan Q, Yu J, Zhu W, Yang B, Li Y, Zhang L, et al.
    Gene, 2018 Mar 01;645:60-68.
    PMID: 29274907 DOI: 10.1016/j.gene.2017.12.045
    Ultraviolet-B (UVB) irradiation induces oxidative stress in plant cells due to the generation of excessive reactive oxygen species. Morus alba L. (M. abla) is an important medicinal plant used for the treatment of human diseases. Also, its leaves are widely used as food for silkworms. In our previous research, we found that a high level of UVB irradiation with dark incubation led to the accumulation of secondary metabolites in M. abla leaf. The aim of the present study was to describe and compare M. alba leaf transcriptomics with different treatments (control, UVB, UVB+dark). Leaf transcripts from M. alba were sequenced using an Illumina Hiseq 2000 system, which produced 14.27Gb of data including 153,204,462 paired-end reads among the three libraries. We de novo assembled 133,002 transcripts with an average length of 1270bp and filtered 69,728 non-redundant unigenes. A similarity search was performed against the non-redundant National Center of Biotechnology Information (NCBI) protein database, which returned 41.08% hits. Among the 20,040 unigenes annotated in UniProtKB/SwissProt database, 16,683 unigenes were assigned 102,232 gene ontology terms and 6667 unigenes were identified in 287 known metabolic pathways. Results of differential gene expression analysis together with real-time quantitative PCR tests indicated that UVB irradiation with dark incubation enhanced the flavonoid biosynthesis in M. alba leaf. Our findings provided a valuable proof for a better understanding of the metabolic mechanism under abiotic stresses in M. alba leaf.
  6. Han H, Chou CC, Li R, Liu J, Zhang L, Zhu W, et al.
    Sci Rep, 2018 Jun 22;8(1):9566.
    PMID: 29934599 DOI: 10.1038/s41598-018-27724-3
    Chalocomoracin (CMR), one of the major secondary metabolites found in fungus-infected mulberry leaves, is a potent anticancer agent. However, its anticancer mechanism remains elusive. Here, we demonstrated the potent anti-tumor activity and molecular mechanism of CMR both in vitro and in vivo. We showed for the first time that CMR treatment markedly promoted paraptosis along with extensive cytoplasmic vacuolation derived from the endoplasmic reticulum, rather than apoptosis, in PC-3 and MDA-MB-231cell lines. Additional studies revealed that ectopic expression of Myc-PINK1 (PTEN-induced kinase 1), a key regulator of mitophagy, rendered LNCap cells susceptible to CMR-induced paraptosis, suggesting that the mitophagy-dependent pathway plays a crucial role in inducing paraptosis by activating PINK1. CMR treatment directly upregulated PINK1 and downregulated Alix genes in MDA-MB-231 and PC-3 cell lines. Furthermore, mitophagy signaling and paraptosis with cytoplasmic vacuolation could be blocked by antioxidant N-acetylcysteine (NAC), indicating the novel pathway was triggered by reactive oxygen species (ROS) production. An in vivo MDA-MB-231 xenograft tumor model revealed that CMR suppressed tumor growth by inducing vacuolation production through the same signal changes as those observed in vitro. These data suggest that CMR is a potential therapeutic entity for cancer treatment through a non-apoptotic pathway.
  7. Zhong Z, Zhu W, Liu S, Guan Q, Chen X, Huang W, et al.
    Plant Cell Physiol., 2018 Nov 01;59(11):2214-2227.
    PMID: 30020500 DOI: 10.1093/pcp/pcy138
    Pharmaceutically active compounds from medical plants are attractive as a major source for new drug development. Prenylated stilbenoids with increased lipophilicity are valuable secondary metabolites which possess a wide range of biological activities. So far, many prenylated stilbenoids have been isolated from Morus alba but the enzyme responsible for the crucial prenyl modification remains unknown. In the present study, a stilbenoid-specific prenyltransferase (PT), termed Morus alba oxyresveratrol geranyltransferase (MaOGT), was identified and functionally characterized in vitro. MaOGT recognized oxyresveratrol and geranyl diphosphate (GPP) as natural substrates, and catalyzed oxyresveratrol prenylation. Our results indicated that MaOGT shared common features with other aromatic PTs, e.g. multiple transmembrane regions, conserved functional domains and targeting to plant plastids. This distinct PT represents the first stilbenoid-specific PT accepting GPP as a natural prenyl donor, and could help identify additional functionally varied PTs in moraceous plants. Furthermore, MaOGT might be applied for high-efficiency and large-scale prenylation of oxyresveratrol to produce bioactive compounds for potential therapeutic applications.
  8. Huang W, Chen X, Guan Q, Zhong Z, Ma J, Yang B, et al.
    Gene, 2019 Mar 20;689:43-50.
    PMID: 30528270 DOI: 10.1016/j.gene.2018.11.083
    Atmospheric CO2 level is one of the most important factors which affect plant growth and crop production. Although many crucial genes and pathways have been identified in response to atmospheric CO2 changes, the integrated and precise mechanisms of plant CO2 response are not well understood. Alternative splicing (AS) is an important gene regulation process that affects many biological processes in plants. However, the AS pattern changes in plants in response to elevated CO2 levels have not yet been investigated. Here, we used RNA-Seq data of Arabidopsis thaliana grown under different CO2 concentration to analyze the global changes in AS. We found that AS increased with the rise in CO2 concentration. Additionally, we identified 345 differentially expressed (DE) genes and 251 differentially alternative splicing (DAS) genes under the elevated CO2 condition. Moreover, the results showed that the expression of most of the DAS genes did not change significantly, indicating that AS can serve as an independent mechanism for gene regulation in response to elevated CO2. Furthermore, our analysis of function categories revealed that the DAS genes were associated mainly with the stimulus response. Overall, this the first study to explore the changes of AS in plants in response to elevated CO2.
  9. Zhu W, Zhong Z, Liu S, Yang B, Komatsu S, Ge Z, et al.
    Int J Mol Sci, 2019 Jan 16;20(2).
    PMID: 30654535 DOI: 10.3390/ijms20020365
    Morus alba is an important medicinal plant that is used to treat human diseases. The leaf, branch, and root of Morus can be applied as antidiabetic, antioxidant, and anti-inflammatory medicines, respectively. To explore the molecular mechanisms underlying the various pharmacological functions within different parts of Morus, organ-specific proteomics were performed. Protein profiles of the Morus leaf, branch, and root were determined using a gel-free/label-free proteomic technique. In the Morus leaf, branch, and root, a total of 492, 414, and 355 proteins were identified, respectively, including 84 common proteins. In leaf, the main function was related to protein degradation, photosynthesis, and redox ascorbate/glutathione metabolism. In branch, the main function was related to protein synthesis/degradation, stress, and redox ascorbate/glutathione metabolism. In root, the main function was related to protein synthesis/degradation, stress, and cell wall. Additionally, organ-specific metabolites and antioxidant activities were analyzed. These results revealed that flavonoids were highly accumulated in Morus root compared with the branch and leaf. Accordingly, two root-specific proteins named chalcone flavanone isomerase and flavonoid 3,5-hydroxylase were accumulated in the flavonoid pathway. Consistent with this finding, the content of the total flavonoids was higher in root compared to those detected in branch and leaf. These results suggest that the flavonoids in Morus root might be responsible for its biological activity and the root is the main part for flavonoid biosynthesis in Morus.
  10. Fedirko V, Jenab M, Méplan C, Jones JS, Zhu W, Schomburg L, et al.
    Nutrients, 2019 Apr 25;11(4).
    PMID: 31027226 DOI: 10.3390/nu11040935
    Selenoprotein genetic variations and suboptimal selenium (Se) levels may contribute to the risk of colorectal cancer (CRC) development. We examined the association between CRC risk and genotype for single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in selenoprotein and Se metabolic pathway genes. Illumina Goldengate assays were designed and resulted in the genotyping of 1040 variants in 154 genes from 1420 cases and 1421 controls within the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC) study. Multivariable logistic regression revealed an association of 144 individual SNPs from 63 Se pathway genes with CRC risk. However, regarding the selenoprotein genes, only TXNRD1 rs11111979 retained borderline statistical significance after adjustment for correlated tests (PACT = 0.10; PACT significance threshold was P < 0.1). SNPs in Wingless/Integrated (Wnt) and Transforming growth factor (TGF) beta-signaling genes (FRZB, SMAD3, SMAD7) from pathways affected by Se intake were also associated with CRC risk after multiple testing adjustments. Interactions with Se status (using existing serum Se and Selenoprotein P data) were tested at the SNP, gene, and pathway levels. Pathway analyses using the modified Adaptive Rank Truncated Product method suggested that genes and gene x Se status interactions in antioxidant, apoptosis, and TGF-beta signaling pathways may be associated with CRC risk. This study suggests that SNPs in the Se pathway alone or in combination with suboptimal Se status may contribute to CRC development.
  11. 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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