Publications by authors named "Huy Q Ta"

25 Publications

  • Page 1 of 1

Endothelial Transient Receptor Potential V4 Channels Mediate Lung Ischemia-Reperfusion Injury.

Ann Thorac Surg 2021 May 4. Epub 2021 May 4.

Department of Surgery, University of Virginia School of Medicine, Charlottesville, VA. Electronic address:

Background: Lung ischemia-reperfusion injury (IRI), involving severe inflammation and edema, is a major cause of primary graft dysfunction following transplant. Activation of transient receptor potential vanilloid 4 (TRPV4) channels modulates vascular permeability. Thus, this study tests the hypothesis that endothelial TRPV4 channels mediate lung IRI.

Methods: C57BL/6 wild-type (WT), TRPV4, tamoxifen-inducible endothelial TRPV4 knockout (TRPV4), and tamoxifen-treated control (TRPV4) mice underwent lung IR using a left lung hilar-ligation model (n≥6 mice/group). WT mice were also treated with a TRPV4-specific inhibitor (GSK2193874; 1mg/kg) (WT+GSK219). Partial pressure of oxygen (PaO), edema (wet-to-dry weight ratio), compliance, neutrophil infiltration, and cytokine concentrations in bronchioalveolar lavage fluid were assessed. Pulmonary microvascular endothelial cells (PMVECs) were characterized in vitro following exposure to hypoxia-reoxygenation.

Results: Compared to WT, PaO following IR was significantly improved in TRPV4 mice (133.1±43.9 vs 427.8±83.1 mmHg, p<0.001) and WT+GSK219 mice (133.1±43.9 vs 447.0±67.6 mmHg, p<0.001). Pulmonary edema and neutrophil infiltration were also significantly reduced after IR in TRPV4 and WT+GSK219 mice versus WT. TRPV4 mice following IR demonstrated significantly improved oxygenation versus control (109.2±21.6 vs 405.3±41.4 mmHg, p<0.001) as well as significantly improved compliance, and significantly less edema, neutrophil infiltration and proinflammatory cytokine production (TNF-α, CXCL1, IL-17, IFN-γ). Hypoxia-reoxygenation-induced permeability and CXCL1 expression by PMVECs was significantly attenuated by TRPV4 inhibitors.

Conclusions: Endothelial TRPV4 plays a key role in vascular permeability and lung inflammation following IR. TRPV4 channels may be a promising therapeutic target to mitigate lung IRI and decrease the incidence of primary graft dysfunction following transplant. (Word Count: 249/250).
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.athoracsur.2021.04.052DOI Listing
May 2021

Caveolar peroxynitrite formation impairs endothelial TRPV4 channels and elevates pulmonary arterial pressure in pulmonary hypertension.

Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 2021 Apr;118(17)

Robert M. Berne Cardiovascular Research Center, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA 22908;

Recent studies have focused on the contribution of capillary endothelial TRPV4 channels to pulmonary pathologies, including lung edema and lung injury. However, in pulmonary hypertension (PH), small pulmonary arteries are the focus of the pathology, and endothelial TRPV4 channels in this crucial anatomy remain unexplored in PH. Here, we provide evidence that TRPV4 channels in endothelial cell caveolae maintain a low pulmonary arterial pressure under normal conditions. Moreover, the activity of caveolar TRPV4 channels is impaired in pulmonary arteries from mouse models of PH and PH patients. In PH, up-regulation of iNOS and NOX1 enzymes at endothelial cell caveolae results in the formation of the oxidant molecule peroxynitrite. Peroxynitrite, in turn, targets the structural protein caveolin-1 to reduce the activity of TRPV4 channels. These results suggest that endothelial caveolin-1-TRPV4 channel signaling lowers pulmonary arterial pressure, and impairment of endothelial caveolin-1-TRPV4 channel signaling contributes to elevated pulmonary arterial pressure in PH. Thus, inhibiting NOX1 or iNOS activity, or lowering endothelial peroxynitrite levels, may represent strategies for restoring vasodilation and pulmonary arterial pressure in PH.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1073/pnas.2023130118DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8092599PMC
April 2021

Secondary Burn Progression Mitigated by an Adenosine 2A Receptor Agonist.

J Burn Care Res 2021 Mar 26. Epub 2021 Mar 26.

Department of Surgery, University of Virginia School of Medicine, Charlottesville, VA.

Background: Current burn therapy is largely supportive with limited therapies to curb secondary burn progression. Adenosine 2A receptor (A2AR) agonists have anti-inflammatory effects with decreased inflammatory cell infiltrate and release of pro-inflammatory mediators. Using a porcine comb burn model, we examined whether A2AR agonists could mitigate burn progression.

Study Design: Eight full-thickness comb burns (4 prongs with 3 spaces per comb) per pig were generated with the following specifications: temperature 115° C, 3 kg force, and 30 second application time. In a randomized fashion, animals (4 per group) were then treated with A2AR agonist (ATL-1223, 3 ng/kg/min, intravenous infusion over 6 hours) or vehicle control. Necrotic interspace development was the primary outcome and additional histologic assessments were conducted.

Results: Analysis of unburned interspaces (72 per group) revealed that ATL-1223 treatment decreased the rate of necrotic interspace development over the first 4 days following injury (p<0.05). Treatment significantly decreased dermal neutrophil infiltration at 48 hours following burn (14.63±4.30 vs 29.71±10.76 neutrophils/high-power field, p=0.029). Additionally, ATL-1223 treatment was associated with fewer interspaces with evidence of microvascular thrombi through post-burn day 4 (18.8% vs 56.3%, p=0.002). Two weeks following insult, the depth of injury at distinct burn sites (adjacent to interspaces) was significantly reduced by ATL-1223 treatment (2.91±0.47 vs 3.28±0.58 mm, p=0.038).

Conclusion: This work demonstrates the ability of an A2AR agonist to mitigate burn progression through dampening local inflammatory processes. Extended dosing strategies may yield additional benefit and improve cosmetic outcome in those with severe injury.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/jbcr/irab053DOI Listing
March 2021

Two Hours of In Vivo Lung Perfusion Improves Lung Function in Sepsis-Induced Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome.

Semin Thorac Cardiovasc Surg 2021 Mar 11. Epub 2021 Mar 11.

Department of Surgery, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, Virginia. Electronic address:

Sepsis is the leading cause of acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) in adults and carries a high mortality. Utilizing a previously validated porcine model of sepsis-induced ARDS, we sought to refine our novel therapeutic technique of in vivo lung perfusion (IVLP). We hypothesized that 2 hours of IVLP would provide non-inferior lung rehabilitation compared to 4 hours of treatment. Adult swine (n = 8) received lipopolysaccharide to develop ARDS and were placed on central venoarterial extracorporeal membrane oxygenation. Animals were randomized to 2 vs 4 hours of IVLP. The left pulmonary vessels were cannulated to IVLP using antegrade Steen solution. After IVLP treatment, the left lung was decannulated and reperfused for 4 hours. Total lung compliance and pulmonary venous gases from the right lung (control) and left lung (treatment) were sampled hourly. Biochemical analysis of tissue and bronchioalveolar lavage was performed along with tissue histologic assessment. Throughout IVLP and reperfusion, treated left lung PaO/FiO ratio was significantly higher than the right lung control in the 2-hour group (332.2 ± 58.9 vs 264.4 ± 46.5, P = 0.01). In the 4-hour group, there was no difference between treatment and control lung PaO/FiO ratio (258.5 ± 72.4 vs 253.2 ± 90.3, P = 0.58). Wet-to-dry weight ratios demonstrated reduced edema in the treated left lungs of the 2-hour group (6.23 ± 0.73 vs 7.28 ± 0.61, P = 0.03). Total lung compliance was also significantly improved in the 2-hour group. Two hours of IVLP demonstrated superior lung function in this preclinical model of sepsis-induced ARDS. Clinical translation of IVLP may shorten duration of mechanical support and improve outcomes.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1053/j.semtcvs.2021.02.034DOI Listing
March 2021

Role of the purinergic signaling network in lung ischemia-reperfusion injury.

Curr Opin Organ Transplant 2021 Apr;26(2):250-257

Department of Surgery.

Purpose Of Review: Primary graft dysfunction (PGD) is the leading cause of early mortality following lung transplantation and is typically caused by lung ischemia-reperfusion injury (IRI). Current management of PGD is largely supportive and there are no approved therapies to prevent lung IRI after transplantation. The purinergic signaling network plays an important role in this sterile inflammatory process, and pharmacologic manipulation of said network is a promising therapeutic strategy. This review will summarize recent findings in this area.

Recent Findings: In the past 18 months, our understanding of lung IRI has improved, and it is becoming clear that the purinergic signaling network plays a vital role. Recent works have identified critical components of the purinergic signaling network (Pannexin-1 channels, ectonucleotidases, purinergic P1 and P2 receptors) involved in inflammation in a number of pathologic states including lung IRI. In addition, a functionally-related calcium channel, the transient receptor potential vanilloid type 4 (TRPV4) channel, has recently been linked to purinergic signaling and has also been shown to mediate lung IRI.

Summary: Agents targeting components of the purinergic signaling network are promising potential therapeutics to limit inflammation associated with lung IRI and thus decrease the risk of developing PGD.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1097/MOT.0000000000000854DOI Listing
April 2021

Tailoring the stoichiometry of CN nanosheets under electron beam irradiation.

Phys Chem Chem Phys 2021 Mar;23(8):4747-4756

Leibniz Institute for Solid State and Materials Research Dresden, Helmholtzstr. 20, 01069 Dresden, Germany. and Centre of Polymer and Carbon Materials, Polish Academy of Sciences, M. Curie-Skłodowskiej 34, Zabrze 41-819, Poland and Center for Energy and Environmental Technologies, VŠB-Technical University of Ostrava, 17 Listopadu 15, Ostrava, 708 33, Czech Republic and Soochow Institute for Energy and Materials Innovations, College of Energy, Collaborative Innovation Center of Suzhou Nano Science and Technology, Key Laboratory of Advanced Carbon Materials and Wearable Energy Technologies of Jiangsu Province, Soochow University, Suzhou 215006, China.

Two-dimensional polymeric graphitic carbon nitride (g-C3N4) is a low-cost material with versatile properties that can be enhanced by the introduction of dopant atoms and by changing the degree of polymerization/stoichiometry, which offers significant benefits for numerous applications. Herein, we investigate the stability of g-C3N4 under electron beam irradiation inside a transmission electron microscope operating at different electron acceleration voltages. Our findings indicate that the degradation of g-C3N4 occurs with N species preferentially removed over C species. However, the precise nitrogen group from which N is removed from g-C3N4 (C-N-C, [double bond, length as m-dash]NH or -NH2) is unclear. Moreover, the rate of degradation increases with decreasing electron acceleration voltage, suggesting that inelastic scattering events (radiolysis) dominate over elastic events (knock-on damage). The rate of degradation by removing N atoms is also sensitive to the current density. Hence, we demonstrate that both the electron acceleration voltage and the current density are parameters with which one can use to control the stoichiometry. Moreover, as N species were preferentially removed, the d-spacing of the carbon nitride structure increased. These findings provide a deeper understanding of g-C3N4.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1039/d0cp06518hDOI Listing
March 2021

A detailed characterization of stepwise activation of the androgen receptor variant 7 in prostate cancer cells.

Oncogene 2021 Feb 15;40(6):1106-1117. Epub 2020 Dec 15.

Department of Structural and Cellular Biology, Tulane University School of Medicine, Tulane Cancer Center, New Orleans, LA, USA.

Expression of the androgen receptor splice variant 7 (AR-V7) is frequently detected in castrate resistant prostate cancer and associated with resistance to AR-targeted therapies. While we have previously noted that homodimerization is required for the transcriptional activity of AR-V7 and that AR-V7 can also form heterodimers with the full-length AR (AR-FL), there are still many gaps of knowledge in AR-V7 stepwise activation. In the present study, we show that neither AR-V7 homodimerization nor AR-V7/AR-FL heterodimerization requires cofactors or DNA binding. AR-V7 can enter the nucleus as a monomer and drive a transcriptional program and DNA-damage repair as a homodimer. While forming a heterodimer with AR-FL to induce nuclear localization of unliganded AR-FL, AR-V7 does not need to interact with AR-FL to drive gene transcription or DNA-damage repair in prostate cancer cells that co-express AR-V7 and AR-FL. These data indicate that AR-V7 can function independently of its interaction with AR-FL in the true castrate state or "absence of ligand", providing support for the utility of targeting AR-V7 in improving outcomes of patients with castrate resistant prostate cancer.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41388-020-01585-5DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7880901PMC
February 2021

AR phosphorylation and CHK2 kinase activity regulates IR-stabilized AR-CHK2 interaction and prostate cancer survival.

Elife 2020 06 24;9. Epub 2020 Jun 24.

Department of Microbiology, Immunology, and Cancer Biology, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, United States.

We have previously demonstrated that checkpoint kinase 2 (CHK2) is a critical negative regulator of androgen receptor (AR) transcriptional activity, prostate cancer (PCa) cell growth, and androgen sensitivity. We have now uncovered that the AR directly interacts with CHK2 and ionizing radiation (IR) increases this interaction. This IR-induced increase in AR-CHK2 interactions requires AR phosphorylation and CHK2 kinase activity. PCa associated CHK2 mutants with impaired kinase activity reduced IR-induced AR-CHK2 interactions. The destabilization of AR - CHK2 interactions induced by CHK2 variants impairs CHK2 negative regulation of cell growth. CHK2 depletion increases transcription of DNAPK and RAD54, increases clonogenic survival, and increases resolution of DNA double strand breaks. The data support a model where CHK2 sequesters the AR through direct binding decreasing AR transcription and suppressing PCa cell growth. CHK2 mutation or loss of expression thereby leads to increased AR transcriptional activity and survival in response to DNA damage.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.7554/eLife.51378DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7338052PMC
June 2020

Adsorption-Free Growth of Ultra-Thin Molybdenum Membranes with a Low-Symmetry Rectangular Lattice Structure.

Small 2020 Jul 2;16(26):e2001325. Epub 2020 Jun 2.

College of Chemistry and Molecular Sciences, Wuhan University, Wuhan, 430072, China.

Although low-symmetry lattice structure of 2D transition metals is highly anticipated for both fundamental research and potentially distinctive application, it still has not been experimentally realized, which greatly hinders the exploration of the unique properties. Here, ultra-thin body-centered-cubic (bcc) phase molybdenum (Mo) membranes are successfully synthesized with a low-symmetry rectangular (110) crystal face via an adsorption-free reaction. Through experimental and density functional theory studies, no foreign atoms being adsorbed is shown to be a key factor for the successful preparation of the bcc phase 2D transition metal with (110) faces. The realization of 2D Mo(110) with a low-symmetric rectangular lattice structure extends the scope of 2D structures and is also beneficial for the exploration and development of low-symmetry rectangular lattice-structured materials with unique properties.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/smll.202001325DOI Listing
July 2020

Discovery of a novel long noncoding RNA overlapping the LCK gene that regulates prostate cancer cell growth.

Mol Cancer 2019 06 28;18(1):113. Epub 2019 Jun 28.

Departments of Microbiology Immunology, and Cancer Biology, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, Virginia, 22908, USA.

Background: Virtually all patients with metastatic prostate cancer (PCa) will relapse and develop lethal castration-resistant prostate cancer (CRPC). Long noncoding RNAs (lncRNAs) are emerging as critical regulatory elements of many cellular biological processes, and may serve as therapeutic targets for combating PCa progression. Here, we have discovered in a high-throughput RNAi screen a novel lncRNA in PCa, and assessed the oncogenic effects of this lncRNA.

Methods: Rapid amplification of cDNA ends and sequencing was utilized to identify a previously unannotated lncRNA lying within exon six and the 3'UTR of the lymphocyte-specific protein tyrosine kinase (LCK) gene. The levels of HULLK in the presence or absence of hormone and/or enzalutamide or coregulator inhibitors were measured by quantitative PCR (qPCR). The determination of HULLK transcription and localization were characterized by strand-specific qPCR and cellular fractionation followed by qPCR, respectively. The correlation between HULLK expression and prostate cancer Gleason score was analyzed by droplet digital PCR. CyQuant assays were conducted to evaluate the effects of knocking down HULLK with shRNAs or overexpressing HULLK on cell growth.

Results: In this study, a previously unannotated lncRNA lying within exon six and 3'UTR of the LCK gene was dramatically upregulated by androgen in a dose-dependent manner, and the anti-androgen enzalutamide completely blocked this hormone-induced increase. Therefore, we labeled this lncRNA "HULLK" for Hormone-Upregulated lncRNA within LCK. Binding sites for two AR coregulators p300 and Brd4 reside near the HULLK transcriptional start site (TSS), and inhibitors of these coregulators downregulated HULLK. HULLK is transcribed from the sense strand of DNA, and predominantly localizes to the cytoplasm. HULLK transcripts are not only expressed in prostate cancer cell lines, but also prostate cancer patient tissue. Remarkably, there was a significant positive correlation between HULLK expression and high-grade PCa in multiple cohorts. shRNAs targeting HULLK significantly decreased PCa cell growth. Moreover, cells overexpressing HULLK were hypersensitive to androgen stimulation.

Conclusions: HULLK is a novel lncRNA situated within the LCK gene that may serve as an oncogene in PCa. Our data enhances our understanding of lncRNA biology and may assist in the development of additional biomarkers or more effective therapeutic targets for advanced PCa.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s12943-019-1039-6DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6598369PMC
June 2019

Applications of 2D MXenes in energy conversion and storage systems.

Chem Soc Rev 2019 Jan;48(1):72-133

The Leibniz Institute for Solid State and Materials Research Dresden (IFW Dresden), Helmholtzstr. 20, Dresden, D-01069, Germany.

Transition metal carbides and nitrides (MXenes), a family of two-dimensional (2D) inorganic compounds, are materials composed of a few atomic layers of transition metal carbides, nitrides, or carbonitrides. Ti3C2, the first 2D layered MXene, was isolated in 2011. This material, which is a layered bulk material analogous to graphite, was derived from its 3D phase, Ti3AlC2 MAX. Since then, material scientists have either determined or predicted the stable phases of >200 different MXenes based on combinations of various transition metals such as Ti, Mo, V, Cr, and their alloys with C and N. Extensive experimental and theoretical studies have shown their exciting potential for energy conversion and electrochemical storage. To this end, we comprehensively summarize the current advances in MXene research. We begin by reviewing the structure types and morphologies and their fabrication routes. The review then discusses the mechanical, electrical, optical, and electrochemical properties of MXenes. The focus then turns to their exciting potential in energy storage and conversion. Energy storage applications include electrodes in rechargeable lithium- and sodium-ion batteries, lithium-sulfur batteries, and supercapacitors. In terms of energy conversion, photocatalytic fuel production, such as hydrogen evolution from water splitting, and carbon dioxide reduction are presented. The potential of MXenes for the photocatalytic degradation of organic pollutants in water, such as dye waste, is also addressed, along with their promise as catalysts for ammonium synthesis from nitrogen. Finally, their application potential is summarized.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1039/c8cs00324fDOI Listing
January 2019

New Frontiers in Electron Beam-Driven Chemistry in and around Graphene.

Adv Mater 2019 Mar 10;31(9):e1800715. Epub 2018 Jun 10.

Center for Nanochemistry, Beijing Science and Engineering Centre for Nanocarbons, Beijing National Laboratory for Molecular Sciences, College of Chemistry and Molecular Engineering, Peking University, Beijing, 100871, China.

Modern aberration corrected transmission electron microscopes offer the potential for electron beam sensitive materials, such as graphene, to be examined with low energy electrons to minimize, and even avoid, damage while still affording atomic resolution, and thus providing excellent characterization. Here in this review, the exploits in which the electron beam interactions, which are often considered negative, are explored to usefully drive a wealth of chemistry in and around graphene, importantly, with no other external stimuli. After introducing the technique, this review covers carbon phase reactions between amorphous carbon, graphene, fullerenes, carbon chains, and carbon nanotubes. It then explores different studies with clusters and nanoparticles, followed by coverage of single atom and molecule interactions with graphene, and finally concludes and highlights the anticipated exciting future for electron beam driving chemistry in and around graphene.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/adma.201800715DOI Listing
March 2019

In Situ Room Temperature Electron-Beam Driven Graphene Growth from Hydrocarbon Contamination in a Transmission Electron Microscope.

Materials (Basel) 2018 May 26;11(6). Epub 2018 May 26.

Beijing National Laboratory for Molecular Sciences, Center for Nanochemistry, Beijing Science and Engineering Centre for Nanocarbons, College of Chemistry and Molecular Engineering, Peking University, Beijing 100871, China.

The excitement of graphene (as well as 2D materials in general) has generated numerous procedures for the fabrication of graphene. Here we present a mini-review on a rather less known, but attractive, in situ means to fabricate graphene inside a transmission electron microscope (TEM). This is achieved in a conventional TEM (viz. no sophisticated specimen holders or microscopes are required) and takes advantage of inherent hydrocarbon contamination as a carbon source. Both catalyst free and single atom catalyst approaches are reviewed. An advantage of this technique is that not only can the growth process be imaged in situ, but this can also be achieved with atomic resolution. Moreover, in the future, one can anticipate such approaches enabling the growth of nano-materials with atomic precision.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/ma11060896DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6024926PMC
May 2018

In Situ Electron Driven Carbon Nanopillar-Fullerene Transformation through Cr Atom Mediation.

Nano Lett 2017 08 12;17(8):4725-4732. Epub 2017 Jul 12.

Soochow Institute for Energy and Materials Innovations, College of Physics, Optoelectronics and Energy, Collaborative Innovation Center of Suzhou Nano Science and Technology, Key Laboratory of Advanced Carbon Materials and Wearable Energy Technologies of Jiangsu Province, Soochow University , Suzhou 215006, China.

The promise of sp nanomaterials remains immense, and ways to strategically combine and manipulate these nanostructures will further enhance their potential as well as advance nanotechnology as a whole. The scale of these structures requires precision at the atomic scale. In this sense electron microscopes are attractive as they offer both atomic imaging and a means to structurally modify structures. Here we show how Cr atoms can be used as physical linkers to connect carbon nanotubes and fullerenes to graphene. Crucially, while under electron irradiation, the Cr atoms can drive transformations such as catalytic healing of a hole in graphene with simultaneous transformation of a single wall carbon nanotube into a fullerene. The atomic resolution of the electron microscopy along with density functional theory based total energy calculations provide insight into the dynamic transformations of Cr atom linkers. The work augments the potential of transmission electron microscopes as nanolaboratories.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/acs.nanolett.7b01406DOI Listing
August 2017

Stranski-Krastanov and Volmer-Weber CVD Growth Regimes To Control the Stacking Order in Bilayer Graphene.

Nano Lett 2016 Oct 3;16(10):6403-6410. Epub 2016 Oct 3.

College of Physics, Optoelectronics and Energy & Collaborative Innovation Center of Suzhou Nano Science and Technology, Soochow University , Suzhou 215006, China.

Aside from unusual properties of monolayer graphene, bilayer has been shown to have even more interesting physics, in particular allowing bandgap opening with dual gating for proper interlayer symmetry. Such properties, promising for device applications, ignited significant interest in understanding and controlling the growth of bilayer graphene. Here we systematically investigate a broad set of flow rates and relative gas ratio of CH to H in atmospheric pressure chemical vapor deposition of multilayered graphene. Two very different growth windows are identified. For relatively high CH to H ratios, graphene growth is relatively rapid with an initial first full layer forming in seconds upon which new graphene flakes nucleate then grow on top of the first layer. The stacking of these flakes versus the initial graphene layer is mostly turbostratic. This growth mode can be likened to Stranski-Krastanov growth. With relatively low CH to H ratios, growth rates are reduced due to a lower carbon supply rate. In addition bi-, tri-, and few-layer flakes form directly over the Cu substrate as individual islands. Etching studies show that in this growth mode subsequent layers form beneath the first layer presumably through carbon radical intercalation. This growth mode is similar to that found with Volmer-Weber growth and was shown to produce highly oriented AB-stacked materials. These systematic studies provide new insight into bilayer graphene formation and define the synthetic range where gapped bilayer graphene can be reliably produced.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/acs.nanolett.6b02826DOI Listing
October 2016

Electron-Driven Metal Oxide Effusion and Graphene Gasification at Room Temperature.

ACS Nano 2016 06 26;10(6):6323-30. Epub 2016 May 26.

College of Physics, Optoelectronics and Energy & Collaborative Innovation Center of Suzhou Nano Science and Technology, Soochow University , Suzhou 215006, China.

Metal oxide nanoparticles decorating graphene have attracted abundant interest in the scientific community owing to their significant application in various areas such as batteries, gas sensors, and photocatalysis. In addition, metal and metal oxide nanoparticles are of great interest for the etching of graphene, for example, to form nanoribbons, through gasification reactions. Hence it is important to have a good understanding of how nanoparticles interact with graphene. In this work we examine, in situ, the behavior of CuO and ZnO nanoparticles on graphene at room temperature while irradiated by electrons in a transmission electron microscope. ZnO is shown to etch graphene through gasification. In the gasification reaction C from graphene is released as CO or CO2. We show that the reaction can occur at room temperature. Moreover, CuO and ZnO particles trapped within a graphene fold are shown to effuse out of a fold through small ruptures. The mass transport in the effusion process between the CuO and ZnO particles is fundamentally different. Mass transport for CuO occurs in an amorphous phase, while for ZnO mass transport occurs through the short-lived gliding of vacancies and dislocations. The work highlights the potential and wealth of electron beam driven chemical reactions of nanomaterials, even at room temperature.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/acsnano.6b02625DOI Listing
June 2016

Checkpoint Kinase 2 Negatively Regulates Androgen Sensitivity and Prostate Cancer Cell Growth.

Cancer Res 2015 Dec 16;75(23):5093-105. Epub 2015 Nov 16.

Departments of Microbiology, Immunology, and Cancer Biology, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, Virginia. Cancer Center Member, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, Virginia.

Prostate cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death in American men, and curing metastatic disease remains a significant challenge. Nearly all patients with disseminated prostate cancer initially respond to androgen deprivation therapy (ADT), but virtually all patients will relapse and develop incurable castration-resistant prostate cancer (CRPC). A high-throughput RNAi screen to identify signaling pathways regulating prostate cancer cell growth led to our discovery that checkpoint kinase 2 (CHK2) knockdown dramatically increased prostate cancer growth and hypersensitized cells to low androgen levels. Mechanistic investigations revealed that the effects of CHK2 were dependent on the downstream signaling proteins CDC25C and CDK1. Moreover, CHK2 depletion increased androgen receptor (AR) transcriptional activity on androgen-regulated genes, substantiating the finding that CHK2 affects prostate cancer proliferation, partly, through the AR. Remarkably, we further show that CHK2 is a novel AR-repressed gene, suggestive of a negative feedback loop between CHK2 and AR. In addition, we provide evidence that CHK2 physically associates with the AR and that cell-cycle inhibition increased this association. Finally, IHC analysis of CHK2 in prostate cancer patient samples demonstrated a decrease in CHK2 expression in high-grade tumors. In conclusion, we propose that CHK2 is a negative regulator of androgen sensitivity and prostate cancer growth, and that CHK2 signaling is lost during prostate cancer progression to castration resistance. Thus, perturbing CHK2 signaling may offer a new therapeutic approach for sensitizing CRPC to ADT and radiation.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1158/0008-5472.CAN-15-0224DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4668217PMC
December 2015

The convergence of DNA damage checkpoint pathways and androgen receptor signaling in prostate cancer.

Endocr Relat Cancer 2014 Oct 5;21(5):R395-407. Epub 2014 Aug 5.

Department of MicrobiologyImmunology, and Cancer BiologyUVA Cancer CenterUniversity of Virginia, PO Box 800734, Charlottesville, Virginia 22908, USA Department of MicrobiologyImmunology, and Cancer BiologyUVA Cancer CenterUniversity of Virginia, PO Box 800734, Charlottesville, Virginia 22908, USA

It is increasingly clear that castration-resistant prostate cancer (PCa) is dependent on the androgen receptor (AR). This has led to the use of anti-androgen therapies that reduce endogenous steroid hormone production as well as the use of AR antagonists. However, the AR does not act in isolation and integrates with a milieu of cell-signaling proteins to affect cell biology. It is well established that cancer is a genetic disease resulting from the accumulation of mutations and chromosomal translocations that enables cancer cells to survive, proliferate, and disseminate. To maintain genomic integrity, there exists conserved checkpoint signaling pathways to facilitate cell cycle delay, DNA repair, and/or apoptosis in response to DNA damage. The AR interacts with, affects, and is affected by these DNA damage-response proteins. This review will focus on the connections between checkpoint signaling and the AR in PCa. We will describe what is known about how components of checkpoint signaling regulate AR activity and what questions still face the field.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1530/ERC-14-0217DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4382101PMC
October 2014

Androgen receptor phosphorylation: biological context and functional consequences.

Endocr Relat Cancer 2014 Aug 14;21(4):T131-45. Epub 2014 Jan 14.

Department of MicrobiologyImmunology, and Cancer BiologyUVA Cancer CenterUniversity of Virginia, PO Box 800734, Charlottesville, Virginia 22908, USADepartment of MicrobiologyImmunology, and Cancer BiologyUVA Cancer CenterUniversity of Virginia, PO Box 800734, Charlottesville, Virginia 22908, USA

The androgen receptor (AR) is a ligand-regulated transcription factor that belongs to the family of nuclear receptors. In addition to regulation by steroid, the AR is also regulated by post-translational modifications generated by signal transduction pathways. Thus, the AR functions not only as a transcription factor but also as a node that integrates multiple extracellular signals. The AR plays an important role in many diseases, including complete androgen insensitivity syndrome, spinal bulbar muscular atrophy, prostate and breast cancer, etc. In the case of prostate cancer, dependence on AR signaling has been exploited for therapeutic intervention for decades. However, the effectiveness of these therapies is limited in advanced disease due to restoration of AR signaling. Greater understanding of the molecular mechanisms involved in AR action will enable the development of improved therapeutics to treat the wide range of AR-dependent diseases. The AR is subject to regulation by a number of kinases through post-translational modifications on serine, threonine, and tyrosine residues. In this paper, we review the AR phosphorylation sites, the kinases responsible for these phosphorylations, as well as the biological context and the functional consequences of these phosphorylations. Finally, what is known about the state of AR phosphorylation in clinical samples is discussed.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1530/ERC-13-0472DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4437516PMC
August 2014

An Inv(16)(p13.3q24.3)-encoded CBFA2T3-GLIS2 fusion protein defines an aggressive subtype of pediatric acute megakaryoblastic leukemia.

Cancer Cell 2012 Nov;22(5):683-97

Department of Oncology, St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, Memphis, TN 38105, USA.

To define the mutation spectrum in non-Down syndrome acute megakaryoblastic leukemia (non-DS-AMKL), we performed transcriptome sequencing on diagnostic blasts from 14 pediatric patients and validated our findings in a recurrency/validation cohort consisting of 34 pediatric and 28 adult AMKL samples. Our analysis identified a cryptic chromosome 16 inversion (inv(16)(p13.3q24.3)) in 27% of pediatric cases, which encodes a CBFA2T3-GLIS2 fusion protein. Expression of CBFA2T3-GLIS2 in Drosophila and murine hematopoietic cells induced bone morphogenic protein (BMP) signaling and resulted in a marked increase in the self-renewal capacity of hematopoietic progenitors. These data suggest that expression of CBFA2T3-GLIS2 directly contributes to leukemogenesis.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ccr.2012.10.007DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3547667PMC
November 2012

A novel association between p130Cas and resistance to the chemotherapeutic drug adriamycin in human breast cancer cells.

Cancer Res 2008 Nov;68(21):8796-804

Department of Microbiology, University of Virginia School of Medicine, Charlottesville, Virginia 22908, USA.

Resistance to chemotherapy remains a major obstacle for the treatment of breast cancer. Understanding the molecular mechanism(s) of resistance is crucial for the development of new effective therapies to treat this disease. This study examines the putative role of p130(Cas) (Cas) in resistance to the cytotoxic agent Adriamycin. High expression of Cas in primary breast tumors is associated with the failure to respond to the antiestrogen tamoxifen and poor prognosis, highlighting the potential clinical importance of this molecule. Here, we show a novel association between Cas and resistance to Adriamycin. We show that Cas overexpression renders MCF-7 breast cancer cells less sensitive to the growth inhibitory and proapoptotic effects of Adriamycin. The catalytic activity of the nonreceptor tyrosine kinase c-Src, but not the epidermal growth factor receptor, is critical for Cas-mediated protection from Adriamycin-induced death. The phosphorylation of Akt and extracellular signal-regulated kinase 1/2 (ERK1/2) is elevated in Cas-overexpressing cells treated with Adriamycin, whereas expression of the proapoptotic protein Bak is decreased. Conversely, Cas depletion in the more resistant T47D and MDA-MB-231 cell lines increases sensitivity to Adriamycin. Based on these data, we propose that Cas activates growth and survival pathways regulated by c-Src, Akt, and ERK1/2 that lead to the inhibition of mitochondrial-mediated apoptosis in the presence of Adriamycin. Because Cas is frequently expressed at high levels in breast cancers, these findings raise the possibility of resensitizing Cas-overexpressing tumors to chemotherapy through perturbation of Cas signaling pathways.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1158/0008-5472.CAN-08-2426DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2597570PMC
November 2008

Physical and functional interactions between Cas and c-Src induce tamoxifen resistance of breast cancer cells through pathways involving epidermal growth factor receptor and signal transducer and activator of transcription 5b.

Cancer Res 2006 Jul;66(14):7007-15

Department of Microbiology and Division of Endocrinology, University of Virginia School of Medicine, Charlottesville, Virginia 22908, USA.

High expression of the adaptor molecule Cas has been linked to resistance to the antiestrogen tamoxifen, both in tissue culture and in human tumors. The aim of this study was to elucidate the mechanism(s) by which overexpression of Cas confers resistance to tamoxifen. Cas overexpression in MCF-7 breast cancer cells was shown to alleviate both tamoxifen-mediated growth inhibition and induction of apoptosis. This enhancement of cell proliferation/survival occurred in the absence of detectable effects on estrogen receptor (ER) transcriptional activity under conditions where tamoxifen was present, indicating that Cas-dependent tamoxifen resistance is not the result of a switch to an ER-negative phenotype or enhanced responses to the partial agonist activity of tamoxifen. Instead, we present evidence, suggesting that Cas promotes tamoxifen resistance by deregulation of alternative cell proliferation pathways, particularly those mediated through enhanced c-Src protein tyrosine kinase activity arising from Cas/c-Src interactions. Overexpression of Cas was found to drive endogenous c-Src into complex with Cas, a process that has been shown previously to cause up-regulation of c-Src tyrosine kinase activity. MCF-7 cells overexpressing Cas exhibited increased phosphorylation of two c-Src substrates, Tyr845 in the kinase domain of the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) and signal transducer and activator of transcription (STAT) 5b. Importantly, Cas-dependent protection from the antiproliferative effects of tamoxifen was reversed by the expression of dominant inhibitory variants of these substrates (Y845F EGFR and COOH-terminally truncated STAT5b). Based on these findings, we suggest that the Cas/c-Src/EGFR/STAT5 signaling axis is a major regulator of tamoxifen-resistant breast cancer cell growth and survival.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1158/0008-5472.CAN-05-3952DOI Listing
July 2006

Increased CXCL8 (IL-8) expression in Multiple Sclerosis.

J Neuroimmunol 2004 Oct;155(1-2):161-71

Department of Neurology, Keck School of Medicine, University of Southern California, MCH-142, Los Angeles, California 90033, USA.

Multiple Sclerosis (MS) is a chronic inflammatory disease of the CNS which is characterized by large mononuclear cell infiltration and significant demyelination. CXCL8 is a chemo-attractant for both neutrophils and monocytes and triggers their firm adhesion to endothelium. In this study, we demonstrate that serum CXCL8 and CXCL8 secretion from PBMCs are significantly higher in untreated MS patients compared to controls and are significantly reduced in MS patients receiving interferon-beta1a therapy. We suggest that CXCL8 may serve as a marker of monocyte activity in MS and may play a role in monocyte recruitment to the CNS.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jneuroim.2004.06.008DOI Listing
October 2004

Potent maturation of monocyte-derived dendritic cells after CD40L lentiviral gene delivery.

J Immunother 2003 Sep-Oct;26(5):451-60

Institute for Genetic Medicine, Keck School of Medicine, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, California, USA.

Dendritic cells (DCs) are being evaluated in immunization protocols to enhance immunity against infectious diseases and cancer. Interaction of T-helper cells expressing CD40 ligand (CD40L) with its cognate CD40 receptor on DCs leads to a mature DC phenotype, characterized by increased capacity of antigen presentation to cytotoxic T cells. The authors examined the ability of third-generation self-inactivating lentiviral vectors expressing CD40L to induce autonomous maturation of ex vivo expanded human monocyte-derived dendritic cells. Transduction with lentiviral vectors achieved a highly efficient gene transfer of CD40L to DCs, which correlated with phenotypic maturation as shown by the expression of immunologic relevant markers (CD83, CD80, MHCI) and secretion of IL-12, whereas DC phenotype was not affected by a control vector expressing only the green fluorescent protein marker. Addition of recombinant IFN-gamma to DCs at the time of CD40L transduction further enhanced IL-12 production, and when co-cultured with allogeneic and autologous CD8+ and CD4+ T cells, a potent activation was observed. Autologous responses against an HLA-A2-restricted influenza peptide (Flu-M1) and a tumor-associated antigenic peptide (gp100 210M) were significantly enhanced when CD40L transduced DCs were used as antigen-presenting cells for in vitro stimulation of CD8+ cytotoxic T lymphocytes. These results demonstrate that endogenous expression of CD40L by lentivirally transduced DCs induced their autonomous maturation to a phenotype comparable to that induced by optimal concentrations of soluble CD40L, providing a novel tool for genetic manipulation of DCs.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1097/00002371-200309000-00008DOI Listing
April 2004

The use of lentiviral vectors in gene therapy of leukemia: combinatorial gene delivery of immunomodulators into leukemia cells by state-of-the-art vectors.

Blood Cells Mol Dis 2003 Jul-Aug;31(1):28-37

Institute for Genetic Medicine, Keck School of Medicine, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA 90033, USA.

Our goal is to develop cell vaccines against leukemia cells, genetically modified to express molecules with potent immune-stimulatory capacities. Pre-clinical evaluation of this approach in murine models has demonstrated efficient anti-leukemic responses with the expression of immunomodulators, in particular GM-CSF and CD80, in irradiated cell vaccines. We have previously shown efficient insertion of GM-CSF and CD80 genes into primary human leukemia cells with the use of second and third generation self-inactivating (SIN) lentiviral vectors (Blood 96 (2000), 1317; Leukemia 16 (2002), 1645). The advantages of lentiviral vectors for development of autologous leukemia cell vaccines include: (1) efficient and consistent gene delivery; (2) high levels of transgene expression; (3) persistent expression of the transduced gene; (4) no viral proteins, as only the transduced gene is expressed; (5) no undesirable cytotoxic effects, and; (6) simplicity of use [leukemia cells are exposed to vector(s) only once]. In this work, we evaluated the insertion of the central polypurine tract and the central termination sequence into a SIN lentiviral vector encoding for GM-CSF and CD80, which significantly enhanced the transduction efficiency of primary leukemia cells and provided higher levels of GM-CSF and CD80 co-expression. We also demonstrate a methodology to deliver simultaneously a combination of immunomodulatory molecules (GM-CSF, CD80, IL-4, and CD40L) to activate different pathways of immune stimulation. Therefore, lentiviral vectors offer a simple, versatile, and reliable approach for engineering leukemic cells for use as cell vaccines.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/s1079-9796(03)00062-7DOI Listing
April 2004