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Lai, C. W., H. L. Chen, K. Y. Lin, F. C. Liu, K. Y. Ching, W. T. K. Cheng, and C. M. Chen. 2014. FTSJ2, a Heat Shock-Inducible Mitochondrial Protein, Suppresses Cell Invasion and Migration. PLoS ONE 9(3): e90818.
Ribosomal RNA large subunit methyltransferase J (RrmJ), an Escherichia coli heat shock protein, is responsible for 29-O-ribose methylation in 23S rRNA. In mammals, three close homologs of RrmJ have been identified and have been designated as FTSJ1, FTSJ2 and FTSJ3; however, little is known about these genes. In this study, we characterized the mammalian FTSJ2, which was the most related protein to RrmJ in a phylogenetic analysis that had similar amino acid sequence features and tertiary protein structures of RrmJ. FTSJ2 was first identified in this study as a nucleus encoded mitochondrial protein that preserves the heat shock protein character in mammals in which the mRNA expressions was increased in porcine lung tissues and A549 cells after heat shock treatment. In addition, a recent study in non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) suggested that the FTSJ2 gene is located in a novel oncogenic locus. However, our results demonstrate that the expression of FTSJ2 mRNA was decreased in the more invasive subline (CL1-5) of the lung adenocarcinoma cells (CL1) compared with the less invasive subline (CL1-0), and overexpression of FTSJ2 resulted in the inhibition of cell invasion and migration in the rhabdomyosarcoma cell (TE671). In conclusion, our findings indicate that mammalian FTSJ2 is a mitochondrial ortholog of E. coli RrmJ and conserves the heat shock protein properties. Moreover, FTSJ2 possesses suppressive effects on the invasion and migration of cancer cells. TOP
Shen, C. J. , C. C. Lin, P. C. Shen, W. T. K. Cheng, H. L. Chen, T. C. Chang, S. S. Liu, and C. M. Chen. 2013. Imprinted Genes and Satellite Loci Are Differentially Methylated in Bovine Somatic Cell Nuclear Transfer Clones. Cell. Reprogramming 15: 413-424.
In mammals, genome-wide epigenetic reprogramming systems exist in primordial germ cells and zygotes. These reprogramming systems play crucial roles in regulating genome functions during critical stages of embryonic development, and they confer the stability of gene expression during mammalian development. The frequent unexpected loss of progeny from somatic cell nuclear transfer (SCNT) is an ongoing problem. In this study, we used six cloned bovines (named NT-1 to NT-6), which were created by ear fibroblast nuclear transfer and displayed short life spans with multiple organ defects, as an experimental model. We focus here on three imprinted genes (IGF2, H19, and XIST) and four satellite loci (Satellite I, Satellite II, Art2, and VNTR) to investigate their methylation changes. The results revealed that aberrant methylation frequently occurred in the analyzed imprinted genes, but not in the satellite loci, of the cloned bovines. After the bovine fibroblast cells were treated with the 5-aza-2(′)-deoxycytidine (5-Aza-dc) demethylation agent, the methylation percentages of the XIST and H19putative differentially methylated region (DMR) were significantly decreased (XIST, p<0.01; H19, p<0.05) followed by an increase in their mRNA expression levels (p<0.01). Furthermore, we found that five short-lived cloned bovines (NT-1 to NT-5) exhibited more severe aberrant methylation changes in the three imprinted genes examined than the little longer-lived clone (NT-6) compared with wild-type (WT) cows. Our data suggest that the reprogramming of the methylation-controlled regions between the imprinted genes and satellite loci are differences and may be involved with additional mechanisms that need further elucidation. TOP
Tsai, S. W., H. L. Chen, Y. C. Chang, and C. M. Chen. 2013. Molecular Mechanisms of Treadmill Therapy on Neuromuscular Atrophy Induced via Botulinum Toxin A. Neural Plast. 2013: e593271.
Botulinum toxin A (BoNT-A) is a bacterial zinc-dependent endopeptidase that acts specifically on neuromuscular junctions. BoNT-A blocks the release of acetylcholine, thereby decreasing the ability of a spastic muscle to generate forceful contraction, which results in a temporal local weakness and the atrophy of targeted muscles. BoNT-A-induced temporal muscle weakness has been used to manage skeletal muscle spasticity, such as poststroke spasticity, cerebral palsy, and cervical dystonia. However, the combined effect of treadmill exercise and BoNT-A treatment is not well understood. We previously demonstrated that for rats, following BoNT-A injection in the gastrocnemius muscle, treadmill running improved the recovery of the sciatic functional index (SFI), muscle contraction strength, and compound muscle action potential (CMAP) amplitude and area. Treadmill training had no influence on gastrocnemius mass that received BoNT-A injection, but it improved the maximal contraction force of the gastrocnemius, and upregulation of GAP-43, IGF-1, Myo-D, Myf-5, myogenin, and acetylcholine receptor (AChR) subunits α and β was found following treadmill training. Taken together, these results suggest that the upregulation of genes associated with neurite and AChR regeneration following treadmill training may contribute to enhanced gastrocnemius strength recovery following BoNT-A injection. TOP
Chen, W., J. Y. Chen, Y. T. Tung, H. L. Chen, C. W. Kuo, C. H. Chuang, K. Y. Chong, F. C. Mao, and C. M. Chen. 2013. High-Frequency Ultrasound Imaging to Evaluate Liver Fibrosis Progression in Rats and Yi Guan Jian Herbal Therapeutic Effects. Evid. Based Complement. Alternat. Medvol. 2013: e302325.
The animals used in liver fibrosis studies must usually be sacrificed. Ultrasound has been demonstrated to have the ability to diagnose hepatic fibrosis and cirrhosis in experimental small-animal models. However, few studies have used high-frequency ultrasound (HFU, 40 MHz) to monitor changes in the rat liver and other hollow organs longitudinally. In this study, liver fibrosis was induced by administering dimethylnitrosamine (DMN) in SD rats, aged 8 weeks, for three consecutive days per week for up to 4 weeks. A Chinese herbal medicine Yi Guan Jian (YGJ) was orally administered (1.8 g/kg daily) to DMN-induced liver fibrosis rats for 2 weeks. Compared with the normal control rats, rats treated with DMN for either 2 weeks or 4 weeks had significantly lower body weights, liver indexes and elevation of hydroxyproline, GOT, and GPT contents. YGJ herbal treatment remarkably prevented rats from DMN-induced liver fibrosis. The HFU scoring results among the normal controls, 2-week DMN-treated rats, 4-week DMN-treated rats, and combined 2-week YGJ therapy with 4-week DMN-treated rats also reached statistical significance. Thus, HFU is an accurate tool for the longitudinal analysis of liver fibrosis progression in small-animal models, and the YGJ may be useful in reversing the development of hepatic fibrosis. TOP
Chen, H. L., Y. T. Tung, C. L. Tsai, C. W. Lai, Z. L. Lai, H. C. Tsai, Y. L. Lin, C. H. Wang, and C. M. Chen. 2013. Kefir improves fatty liver syndrome by inhibiting the lipogenesis pathway in leptin-deficient ob/ob knockout mice. Int. J. Obes. doi:10.1038/ijo.2013.236.

Objective: Fatty liver disease is commonly associated with obesity, insulin resistance and diabetes. Severe fatty liver is sometimes accompanied by steatohepatitis and may lead to the development of hepatocellular carcinoma. At present, there is no effective treatment for non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD); thus, recent investigations have focused on developing effective therapeutics to treat this condition. This study aimed to evaluate the effects of kefir on the hepatic lipid metabolism of ob/ob mice, which are commonly used to model fatty liver disease.

Results: In this study, we used leptin receptor-deficient ob/ob mice as an animal disease model of NAFLD. Six-week-old ob/ob mice were orally administered the dairy product kefir (140 mg kg–1 of body weight (BW) per day) for 4 weeks. The data demonstrated that kefir improved fatty liver syndrome on BW, energy expenditure and basal metabolic rate by inhibiting serum glutamate oxaloacetate transaminase (GOT) and glutamate pyruvate transaminase (GPT) activities (P<0.05) and by decreasing the triglyceride (TG) and total cholesterol (TC) contents of the liver (P<0.05). Oral kefir administration also significantly reduced the macrovesicular fat quantity in liver tissue. In addition, kefir markedly decreased the expression of the genes sterol regulatory element-binding protein 1 (SREBP1), fatty acid synthase (FAS) and acetyl-CoA carboxylase (ACC) (P<0.05) but not the expression of peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor α (PPARα) or hepatic carnitine palmitoyltransferase-1α (CPT1α) in the livers of ob/ob mice.

Conclusion: On the basis of these results, we conclude that kefir improves NAFLD on BW, energy expenditure and basal metabolic rate by inhibiting the lipogenesis pathway and that kefir may have the potential for clinical application to the prevention or treatment of NAFLD. TOP

Fan, W. L., C. C. Ng, C. F. Chen, M. Y. J. Lu, Y. H. Chen, C. J. Liu, S. M. Wu, C. K. Chen, J. J. Chen, C. T. Mao, Y. T. Lai, W. S. Lo, W. H. Chang, and W. H. Li. 2013. Genome-wide patterns of genetic variation in two domestic chickens. Genome Biol. Evol. 5(7): 1376-1392.
Domestic chickens are excellent models for investigating the genetic basis of phenotypic diversity, as numerous phenotypic changes in physiology, morphology, and behavior in chickens have been artificially selected. Genomic study is required to study genome-wide patterns of DNA variation for dissecting the genetic basis of phenotypic traits. We sequenced the genomes of the Silkie and the Taiwanese native chicken L2 at ∼23- and 25-fold average coverage depth, respectively, using Illumina sequencing. The reads were mapped onto the chicken reference genome (including 5.1% Ns) to 92.32% genome coverage for the two breeds. Using a stringent filter, we identified ∼7.6 million single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) and 8,839 copy number variations (CNVs) in the mapped regions; 42% of the SNPs have not found in other chickens before. Among the 68,906 SNPs annotated in the chicken sequence assembly, 27,852 were nonsynonymous SNPs located in 13,537 genes. We also identified hundreds of shared and divergent structural and copy number variants in intronic and intergenic regions and in coding regions in the two breeds. Functional enrichments of identified genetic variants were discussed. Radical nsSNP-containing immunity genes were enriched in the QTL regions associated with some economic traits for both breeds. Moreover, genetic changes involved in selective sweeps were detected. From the selective sweeps identified in our two breeds, several genes associated with growth, appetite, and metabolic regulation were identified. Our study provides a framework for genetic and genomic research of domestic chickens and facilitates the domestic chicken as an avian model for genomic, biomedical, and evolutionary studies. TOP
Lin, S. J., J. Foley, T. X. Jiang, C. Y. Yeh, P. Wu, A. Foley, C. M. Yen, Y. C. Huang, H. C. Cheng, C. F. Chen, B. Reeder, S. H. Jee, R. B. Widelitz and, C. M. Chuong. 2013. Topology of Feather Melanocyte Progenitor Niche Allows Complex Pigment Patterns to Emerge. Science 340(6139): 1442-1445.
Color patterns of bird plumage affect animal behavior and speciation. Diverse patterns are present in different species and within the individual. Here, we study the cellular and molecular basis of feather pigment pattern formation. Melanocyte progenitors are distributed as a horizontal ring in the proximal follicle, sending melanocytes vertically up into the epithelial cylinder, which gradually emerges as feathers grow. Different pigment patterns form by modulating the presence, arrangement, or differentiation of melanocytes. A layer of peripheral pulp further regulates pigmentation via patterned agouti expression. Lifetime feather cyclic regeneration resets pigment patterns for physiological needs. Thus, the evolution of stem cell niche topology allows complex pigment patterning through combinatorial co-option of simple regulatory mechanisms. TOP
Inyawilert, W., T. Y. Fu, C. T. Lin, and P. C. Tang. 2013. MicroRNA-199a mediates mucin 1 expression in mouse uterus during implantation. Reprod. Fertil. Dev. doi:10.1071/RD12097
Embryo implantation is a complicated process involving interactions between the blastocyst and the luminal epithelium of the receptive uterus. Mucin 1 (MUC1) is an integral membrane glycoprotein expressed apically by secretory epithelial cells and the glandular epithelium in different organs, including the uterus. It is believed that loss of MUC1 on the surface of uterine epithelial cells is necessary for embryo implantation. The endogenous non-protein coding microRNAs (miRNAs) of 21–24 nucleotides are found in diverse organisms. It has been shown that miRNAs participate in a range of cellular processes by regulating gene expression at the post-transcriptional level. In the present study, the regulatory role of miRNA-199a on the expression of MUC1 in mouse uterus during implantation was investigated for its effect on embryo implantation. Western blotting and immunohistochemistry results showed high MUC1 expression on Day 0.5 and low expression by Day 4.5 of pregnancy. In contrast with MUC1 expression, increased miRNA-199a expression was evident at Day 4.5 of pregnancy, as measured by real-time reverse transcription–polymerase chain reaction. In addition, we demonstrated direct binding of miRNA-199a to the 3′-untranslated region of MUC1. Transfection of miRNA-199a into mouse uterine epithelial cells isolated from Day 0.5 of pregnancy also downregulated expression of MUC1. Therefore, the present study provides evidence that MUC1 is a direct target of miRNA-199a and suggests that development of novel strategies to facilitate a successful pregnancy and repair implantation failure humans may include miRNA. TOP
Lin, S. J., R. B. Wideliz, Z. Yue, A. Li, X. S. Wu, T. X. Jiang, P. Wu, and C. M. Chuong. 2013. Feather regeneration as a model for organogenesis. Develop. Growth Differ. 55: 139-148.
In the process of organogenesis, different cell types form organized tissues and tissues are integrated into an organ. Most organs form in the developmental stage, but new organs can also form in physiological states or following injuries during adulthood. Feathers are a good model to study post-natal organogenesis because they regenerate episodically under physiological conditions and in response to injuries such as plucking. Epidermal stem cells in the collar can respond to activation signals. Dermal papilla located at the follicle base controls the regenerative process. Adhesion molecules (e.g., neural cell adhesion molecule (NCAM), tenascin), morphogens (e.g., Wnt3a, sprouty, fibroblast growth factor [FGF]10), and differentiation markers (e.g., keratins) are expressed dynamically in initiation, growth and resting phases of the feather cycle. Epidermal cells are shaped into different feather morphologies based on the molecular micro-environment at the moment of morphogenesis. Chicken feather variants provide a rich resource for us to identify genetic determinants involved in feather regeneration and morphogenesis. An example of using genome-wide single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) analysis to identify alpha keratin 75 as the mutation in frizzled chickens is demonstrated. Due to its accessibility to experimental manipulation and observation, results of regeneration can be analyzed in a comprehensive way. The layout of time dimension along the distal (formed earlier) to proximal (formed later) feather axis makes the morphological analyses easier. Therefore feather regeneration can be a unique model for understanding organogenesis: from activation of stem cells under various physiological conditions to serving as the Rosetta stone for deciphering the language of morphogenesis. TOP