Articles Online (Volume 12, Issue 3)

Original Research

Adolescent Mouse Takes on An Active Transcriptomic Expression During Postnatal Cerebral Development

Wei Xu, Chengqi Xin, Qiang Lin, Feng Ding, Wei Gong, Yuanyuan Zhou, Jun Yu, Peng Cui , Songnian Hu

Postnatal cerebral development is a complicated biological process precisely controlled by multiple genes. To understand the molecular mechanism of cerebral development, we compared dynamics of mouse cerebrum transcriptome through three developmental stages using high-throughput RNA-seq technique. Three libraries were generated from the mouse cerebrum at infancy, adolescence and adulthood, respectively. Consequently, 44,557,729 (infancy), 59,257,530 (adolescence) and 72,729,636 (adulthood) reads were produced, which were assembled into 15,344, 16,048 and 15,775 genes, respectively. We found that the overall gene expression level increased from infancy to adolescence and decreased later on upon reaching adulthood. The adolescence cerebrum has the most active gene expression, with expression of a large number of regulatory genes up-regulated and some crucial pathways activated. Transcription factor (TF) analysis suggested the similar dynamics as expression profiling, especially those TFs functioning in neurogenesis differentiation, oligodendrocyte lineage determination and circadian rhythm regulation. Moreover, our data revealed a drastic increase in myelin basic protein (MBP)-coding gene expression in adolescence and adulthood, suggesting that the brain myelin may be generated since mouse adolescence. In addition, differential gene expression analysis indicated the activation of rhythmic pathway, suggesting the function of rhythmic movement since adolescence; Furthermore, during infancy and adolescence periods, gene expression related to axon repulsion and attraction showed the opposite trends, indicating that axon repulsion was activated after birth, while axon attraction might be activated at the embryonic stage and declined during the postnatal development. Our results from the present study may shed light on the molecular mechanism underlying the postnatal development of the mammalian cerebrum.

Page 111–119

Original Research

Effects of Three Commonly-used Diuretics on the Urinary Proteome

Xundou Li, Mindi Zhao, Menglin Li, Lulu Jia, Youhe Gao

Biomarker is the measurable change associated with a physiological or pathophysiological process. Unlike blood which has mechanisms to keep the internal environment homeostatic, urine is more likely to reflect changes of the body. As a result, urine is likely to be a better biomarker source than blood. However, since the urinary proteome is affected by many factors, including diuretics, careful evaluation of those effects is necessary if urinary proteomics is used for biomarker discovery. Here, we evaluated the effects of three commonly-used diuretics (furosemide, F; hydrochlorothiazide, H; and spirolactone, S) on the urinary proteome in rats. Urine samples were collected before and after intragastric administration of diuretics at therapeutic doses and the proteomes were analyzed using label-free liquid chromatography–tandem mass spectrometry (LC–MS/MS). Based on the criteria of P ⩽ 0.05, a fold change ⩾2, a spectral count ⩾5, and false positive rate (FDR) ⩽1%, 14 proteins (seven for F, five for H, and two for S) were identified by Progenesis LC–MS. The human orthologs of most of these 14 proteins are stable in the healthy human urinary proteome, and ten of them are reported as disease biomarkers. Thus, our results suggest that the effects of diuretics deserve more attention in future urinary protein biomarker studies. Moreover, the distinct effects of diuretics on the urinary proteome may provide clues to the mechanisms of diuretics.

Page 120–126


An Association Study of CASQ1 Gene Polymorphisms and Heat Stroke

Ying Li, Yu Wang, Lin Ma

Although molecular mechanisms of heat stroke under physiological and pathological conditions have not yet been elucidated, a novel disease-associated gene encoding a calcium-binding protein, calsequestrin-1 (CASQ1), was suggested relevant based on results from a transgenic murine model. Here, we show the association between single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) of CASQ1 and physiological parameters for heat stroke from a study involving 150 patients. Pooled DNA from heat stroke patients were subjected to sequencing and 3 SNPs were identified. Genotypes were assigned for all patients according to g. 175A>G, one SNP which leads to a nonsynonymous substitution (N59D) in the first exon of human CASQ1 gene. We analyzed the genotypic data with a linear model based on significance scores between SNP (175A>G) and heat stroke parameters. As a result, we found a significant association between SNP A175G and heat stroke (P < 0.05). Further bioinformatics analysis of the 1-Mb flanking sequence revealed the presence of two genes that encode DDB1 and CUL4 associated factor 8 (DCAF8), and peroxisomal biogenesis factor 19 (PEX19), respectively, which might be functionally related to CASQ1. Our results showed that the blood calcium of patients with allele D increased significantly, compared to patients with allele N (P < 0.05), which may result from the decreased calcium in muscle, suggesting that N59D in CASQ1 might account for the dysfunction of CASQ1 in calcium regulation during heat stroke.

Page 127–132

Application Note

C2Analyzer: Co-target–Co-function Analyzer

Md. Aftabuddin, Chittabrata Mal, Arindam Deb, Sudip Kundu

MicroRNAs (miRNAs) interact with their target mRNAs and regulate biological processes at post-transcriptional level. While one miRNA can target many mRNAs, a single mRNA can also be targeted by a set of miRNAs. The targeted mRNAs may be involved in different biological processes that are described by gene ontology (GO) terms. The major challenges involved in analyzing these multitude regulations include identification of the combinatorial regulation of miRNAs as well as determination of the co-functionally-enriched miRNA pairs. The C2Analyzer: Co-target–Co-function Analyzer, is a Perl-based, versatile and user-friendly web tool with online instructions. Based on the hypergeometric analysis, this novel tool can determine whether given pairs of miRNAs are co-functionally enriched. For a given set of GO term(s), it can also identify the set of miRNAs whose targets are enriched in the given GO term(s). Moreover, C2Analyzer can also identify the co-targeting miRNA pairs, their targets and GO processes, which they are involved in. The miRNA–miRNA co-functional relationship can also be saved as a .txt file, which can be used to further visualize the co-functional network by using other software like Cytoscape. C2Analyzer is freely available at

Page 133–136

Application Note

DNA Extraction Protocol for Biological Ingredient Analysis of Liuwei Dihuang Wan

Xinwei Cheng, Xiaohua Chen, Xiaoquan Su, Huanxin Zhao, Maozhen Han, Cunpei Bo, Jian Xu, Hong Bai , Kang Ning

Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) preparations are widely used for healthcare and clinical practice. So far, the methods commonly used for quality evaluation of TCM preparations mainly focused on chemical ingredients. The biological ingredient analysis of TCM preparations is also important because TCM preparations usually contain both plant and animal ingredients, which often include some mis-identified herbal materials, adulterants or even some biological contaminants. For biological ingredient analysis, the efficiency of DNA extraction is an important factor which might affect the accuracy and reliability of identification. The component complexity in TCM preparations is high, and DNA might be destroyed or degraded in different degrees after a series of processing procedures. Therefore, it is necessary to establish an effective protocol for DNA extraction from TCM preparations. In this study, we chose a classical TCM preparation, Liuwei Dihuang Wan (LDW), as an example to develop a TCM-specific DNA extraction method. An optimized cetyl trimethyl ammonium bromide (CTAB) method (TCM-CTAB) and three commonly-used extraction kits were tested for extraction of DNA from LDW samples. Experimental results indicated that DNA with the highest purity and concentration was obtained by using TCM-CTAB. To further evaluate the different extraction methods, amplification of the second internal transcribed spacer (ITS2) and the chloroplast genome trnL intron was carried out. The results have shown that PCR amplification was successful only with template of DNA extracted by using TCM-CTAB. Moreover, we performed high-throughput 454 sequencing using DNA extracted by TCM-CTAB. Data analysis showed that 3–4 out of 6 prescribed species were detected from LDW samples, while up to 5 contaminating species were detected, suggesting TCM-CTAB method could facilitate follow-up DNA-based examination of TCM preparations.

Page 137–143


Human Pharyngeal Microbiome May Play A Protective Role in Respiratory Tract Infections

Zhancheng Gao , Yu Kang, Jun Yu, Lufeng Ren

The human pharyngeal microbiome, which resides at the juncture of digestive and respiratory tracts, may have an active role in the prevention of respiratory tract infections, similar to the actions of the intestinal microbiome against enteric infections. Recent studies have demonstrated that the pharyngeal microbiome comprises an abundance of bacterial species that interacts with the local epithelial and immune cells, and together, they form a unique micro-ecological system. Most of the microbial species in microbiomes are obligate symbionts constantly adapting to their unique surroundings. Indigenous commensal species are capable of both maintaining dominance and evoking host immune responses to eliminate invading species. Temporary damage to the pharyngeal microbiome due to the impaired local epithelia is also considered an important predisposing risk factor for infections. Therefore, reinforcement of microbiome homeostasis to prevent invasion of infection-prone species would provide a novel treatment strategy in addition to antibiotic treatment and vaccination. Hence continued research efforts on evaluating probiotic treatment and developing appropriate procedures are necessary to both prevent and treat respiratory infections.

Page 144–150