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Unsuccessful Urban Governance of Brownfield Land Redevelopment: A Lesson From the Toxic Soil Event in Changzhou, China

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A public health crisis in the process of brownfield land redevelopment (BLR) has frequently appeared in the context of promoting industrial upgrading and de-industrialization in China. Recent discussions on the reasons for this problem centered on the lack of laws,

A public health crisis in the process of brownfield land redevelopment (BLR) has frequently appeared in the context of promoting industrial upgrading and de-industrialization in China. Recent discussions on the reasons for this problem centered on the lack of laws, standards, and policies needed to secure the process of BLR. However, we argue that an urban governance approach to BLR can identify the sources of the problem. This paper discusses a case study of a toxic soil event in Changzhou, China, based on the theoretical framework - the Institutional Industry Complex (IIC). Under the pressure of fiscal distress as well as the requirements of economic growth and urbanization, local governments in China are bound with fiscal revenue from land development and land urbanization and have formed a pro-growth alliance with enterprises, property developers, and even the public. The alliance is defined as the pro-growth IIC of land finance regime in this paper. Due to the path-dependence of the IIC, the conventional pro-growth IIC of land finance regime in China has been circulated, and then transformed into a pro-growth IIC of BLR. As a result, the goal of the pro-growth IIC of BLR is maximizing profit in the process of land development, a goal that is the same as the pro-growth IIC of land finance regime Thus, as the pivotal stockholders of the pro-growth IIC of BLR, local governments, enterprises, and property developers hesitate to pursue a prudent and secure BLR process, which effectively attenuates a series of serious environmental issues and public health crises. That is the root cause of the problem. This study suggests a positive interaction between central and local government, as well as between enterprise and the public to create a sustainable IIC of BLR in future.

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2017-05-15

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Wastewater Treatment Plants as Chemical Observatories to Forecast Ecological and Human Health Risks of Manmade Chemicals

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Thousands of chemicals have been identified as contaminants of emerging concern (CECs), but prioritizing them concerning ecological and human health risks is challenging. We explored the use of sewage treatment plants as chemical observatories to conveniently identify persistent and bioaccumulative

Thousands of chemicals have been identified as contaminants of emerging concern (CECs), but prioritizing them concerning ecological and human health risks is challenging. We explored the use of sewage treatment plants as chemical observatories to conveniently identify persistent and bioaccumulative CECs, including toxic organohalides. Nationally representative samples of sewage sludge (biosolids) were analyzed for 231 CECs, of which 123 were detected. Ten of the top 11 most abundant CECs in biosolids were found to be high-production volume chemicals, eight of which representing priority chemicals, including three flame retardants, three surfactants and two antimicrobials. A comparison of chemicals detected in nationally representative biological specimens from humans and municipal biosolids revealed 70% overlap. This observed co-occurrence of contaminants in both matrices suggests that the analysis of sewage sludge can inform human health risk assessments by providing current information on toxic exposures in human populations and associated body burdens of harmful environmental pollutants.

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2014-01-16

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When (Distant) Relatives Stay Too Long: Implications for Cancer Medicine

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Whole-genome analyses of human medulloblastomas show that the dominant clone at relapse is present as a rare subclone at primary diagnosis.

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2016-02-24

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Techniques for the Analysis of Cysteine Sulfhydryls and Oxidative Protein Folding

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Significance: Modification of cysteine thiols dramatically affects protein function and stability. Hence, the abilities to quantify specific protein sulfhydryl groups within complex biological samples and map disulfide bond structures are crucial to gaining greater insights into how proteins operate in

Significance: Modification of cysteine thiols dramatically affects protein function and stability. Hence, the abilities to quantify specific protein sulfhydryl groups within complex biological samples and map disulfide bond structures are crucial to gaining greater insights into how proteins operate in human health and disease. Recent Advances: Many different molecular probes are now commercially available to label and track cysteine residues at great sensitivity. Coupled with mass spectrometry, stable isotope-labeled sulfhydryl-specific reagents can provide previously unprecedented molecular insights into the dynamics of cysteine modification. Likewise, the combined application of modern mass spectrometers with improved sample preparation techniques and novel data mining algorithms is beginning to routinize the analysis of complex protein disulfide structures. Critical Issues: Proper application of these modern tools and techniques, however, still requires fundamental understanding of sulfhydryl chemistry as well as the assumptions that accompany sample preparation and underlie effective data interpretation. Future Directions: The continued development of tools, technical approaches, and corresponding data processing algorithms will, undoubtedly, facilitate site-specific protein sulfhydryl quantification and disulfide structure analysis from within complex biological mixtures with ever-improving accuracy and sensitivity. Fully routinizing disulfide structure analysis will require an equal but balanced focus on sample preparation and corresponding mass spectral dataset reproducibility.

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2014-07-20

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Targeting Polo-Like Kinase 1, a Regulator of p53, in the Treatment of Adrenocortical Carcinoma

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Background: Adrenocortical carcinoma (ACC) is an aggressive cancer with a 5 year survival rate of 20–30 %. Various factors have been implicated in the pathogenesis of ACC including dysregulation of the G2/M transition and aberrant activity of p53 and MDM2. Polo-like

Background: Adrenocortical carcinoma (ACC) is an aggressive cancer with a 5 year survival rate of 20–30 %. Various factors have been implicated in the pathogenesis of ACC including dysregulation of the G2/M transition and aberrant activity of p53 and MDM2. Polo-like kinase 1 (PLK-1) negatively modulates p53 functioning, promotes MDM2 activity through its phosphorylation, and is involved in the G2/M transition. Gene expression profiling of 44 ACC samples showed that increased expression of PLK-1 in 29 % of ACC. Consequently, we examined PLK-1’s role in the modulation of the p53 signaling pathway in adrenocortical cancer.

Methods: We used siRNA knock down PLK-1 and pharmacological inhibition of PLK-1 and MDM2 ACC cell lines SW-13 and H295R. We examined viability, protein expression, p53 transactivation, and induction of apoptosis.

Results: Knocking down expression of PLK-1 with siRNA or inhibition of PLK-1 by a small molecule inhibitor, BI-2536, resulted in a loss of viability of up to 70 % in the ACC cell lines H295R and SW-13. In xenograft models, BI-2536 demonstrated marked inhibition of growth of SW-13 with less inhibition of H295R. BI-2536 treatment resulted in a decrease in mutant p53 protein in SW-13 cells but had no effect on wild-type p53 protein levels in H295R cells. Additionally, inhibition of PLK-1 restored wild-type p53’s transactivation and apoptotic functions in H295R cells, while these functions of mutant p53 were restored only to a smaller extent. Furthermore, inhibition of MDM2 with nutlin-3 reduced the viability of both the ACC cells and also reactivated wild-type p53′s apoptotic function. Inhibition of PLK-1 sensitized the ACC cell lines to MDM2 inhibition and this dual inhibition resulted in an additive apoptotic response in H295R cells with wild-type p53.

Conclusions: These preclinical studies suggest that targeting p53 through PLK-1 is an attractive chemotherapy strategy warranting further investigation in adrenocortical cancer.

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Date Created
2016-01-11

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Nuclear Factor Kappa B is Required for the Production of Infectious Human Herpesvirus 8 Virions

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Human herpesvirus 8 (HHV8) infection leads to potent activation of nuclear factor kappa B (NFκB) in primary and transformed cells. We used recombinant HHV8 (rKSHV.219) expressing green fluorescent protein under the constitutive cellular promoter elongation factor 2α and red fluorescent

Human herpesvirus 8 (HHV8) infection leads to potent activation of nuclear factor kappa B (NFκB) in primary and transformed cells. We used recombinant HHV8 (rKSHV.219) expressing green fluorescent protein under the constitutive cellular promoter elongation factor 2α and red fluorescent protein under an early HHV8 lytic gene promoter T1.1 to monitor replication during infection of human foreskin fibroblasts (HF), noting changes in NFκB activity. In primary HF, NFκB levels do not affect the ability of HHV8 to establish infection or maintain latency. Furthermore, there was no effect on the percent of cells undergoing reactivation from latency, and there were similar numbers of released and cell-associated HHV8 viral particles following reactivation in the presence of inhibitors. Reactivation of HHV8 in latently infected HF in the presence of NFκB inhibitors resulted in production of viral particles that did not efficiently establish infection, due to deficiencies in binding and/or entry into normally permissive cells. Exogenous expression of glycoprotein M, an envelope protein involved in viral binding and entry, was able to partially overcome the deficiency induced by NFκB inhibitors. Our data indicate that in primary cells, NFκB is not required for infection, establishment of latency, or entry into the lytic cycle, but is required for the expression of virion associated genes involved in the initial steps of virion infectivity. These studies suggest that strategies to inhibit NFκB may prevent HHV8 spread and should be considered as a potential therapeutic target for preventing HHV8 associated diseases.

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Date Created
2014-04-04

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Norovirus Narita 104 Virus-Like Particles Expressed in Nicotiana Benthamiana Induce Serum and Mucosal Immune Responses

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Narita 104 virus is a human pathogen belonging to the norovirus (family Caliciviridae) genogroup II. Noroviruses cause epidemic gastroenteritis worldwide. To explore the potential of developing a plant-based vaccine, a plant optimized gene encoding Narita 104 virus capsid protein (NaVCP)

Narita 104 virus is a human pathogen belonging to the norovirus (family Caliciviridae) genogroup II. Noroviruses cause epidemic gastroenteritis worldwide. To explore the potential of developing a plant-based vaccine, a plant optimized gene encoding Narita 104 virus capsid protein (NaVCP) was expressed transiently in Nicotiana benthamiana using a tobacco mosaic virus expression system. NaVCP accumulated up to approximately 0.3 mg/g fresh weight of leaf at 4 days postinfection. Initiation of hypersensitive response-like symptoms followed by tissue necrosis necessitated a brief infection time and was a significant factor limiting expression. Transmission electron microscopy of plant-derived NaVCP confirmed the presence of fully assembled virus-like particles (VLPs). In this study, an optimized method to express and partially purify NaVCP is described. Further, partially purified NaVCP was used to immunize mice by intranasal delivery and generated significant mucosal and serum antibody responses. Thus, plant-derived Narita 104 VLPs have potential for use as a candidate subunit vaccine or as a component of a multivalent subunit vaccine, along with other genotype-specific plant-derived VLPs.

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Date Created
2014-05-11

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In Situ Drug-Receptor Binding Kinetics in Single Cells: A Quantitative Label-Free Study of Anti-Tumor Drug Resistance

Description

Many drugs are effective in the early stage of treatment, but patients develop drug resistance after a certain period of treatment, causing failure of the therapy. An important example is Herceptin, a popular monoclonal antibody drug for breast cancer by

Many drugs are effective in the early stage of treatment, but patients develop drug resistance after a certain period of treatment, causing failure of the therapy. An important example is Herceptin, a popular monoclonal antibody drug for breast cancer by specifically targeting human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (Her2). Here we demonstrate a quantitative binding kinetics analysis of drug-target interactions to investigate the molecular scale origin of drug resistance. Using a surface plasmon resonance imaging, we measured the in situ Herceptin-Her2 binding kinetics in single intact cancer cells for the first time, and observed significantly weakened Herceptin-Her2 interactions in Herceptin-resistant cells, compared to those in Herceptin-sensitive cells. We further showed that the steric hindrance of Mucin-4, a membrane protein, was responsible for the altered drug-receptor binding. This effect of a third molecule on drug-receptor interactions cannot be studied using traditional purified protein methods, demonstrating the importance of the present intact cell-based binding kinetics analysis.

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2014-10-14

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The Hippo Transducer TAZ Interacts With the SWI/SNF Complex to Regulate Breast Epithelial Lineage Commitment

Description

Lineage-committed cells of many tissues exhibit substantial plasticity in contexts such as wound healing and tumorigenesis, but the regulation of this process is not well understood. We identified the Hippo transducer WWTR1/TAZ in a screen of transcription factors that are

Lineage-committed cells of many tissues exhibit substantial plasticity in contexts such as wound healing and tumorigenesis, but the regulation of this process is not well understood. We identified the Hippo transducer WWTR1/TAZ in a screen of transcription factors that are able to prompt lineage switching of mammary epithelial cells. Forced expression of TAZ in luminal cells induces them to adopt basal characteristics, and depletion of TAZ in basal and/or myoepithelial cells leads to luminal differentiation. In human and mouse tissues, TAZ is active only in basal cells and is critical for basal cell maintenance during homeostasis. Accordingly, loss of TAZ affects mammary gland development, leading to an imbalance of luminal and basal populations as well as branching defects. Mechanistically, TAZ interacts with components of the SWI/SNF complex to modulate lineage-specific gene expression. Collectively, these findings uncover a new role for Hippo signaling in the determination of lineage identity through recruitment of chromatin-remodeling complexes.

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Date Created
2014-03-27

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Expansion and Functional Diversification of a Leucyl Aminopeptidase Family That Encodes the Major Protein Constituents of Drosophila Sperm

Description

Background: The evolutionary diversification of gene families through gene creation (and loss) is a dynamic process believed to be critical to the evolution of functional novelty. Previous identification of a closely related family of eight annotated metalloprotease genes of the M17

Background: The evolutionary diversification of gene families through gene creation (and loss) is a dynamic process believed to be critical to the evolution of functional novelty. Previous identification of a closely related family of eight annotated metalloprotease genes of the M17 Merops family in the Drosophila sperm proteome (termed, S perm-L eucylA minoP eptidases, S-LAPs 1-8) led us to hypothesize that this gene family may have experienced such a diversification during insect evolution.

Results: To assess putative functional activities of S-LAPs, we (i) demonstrated that all S-LAPs are specifically expressed in the testis, (ii) confirmed their presence in sperm by two-dimensional gel electrophoresis and mass spectrometry, (iii) determined that they represent a major portion of the total protein in sperm and (iv) identified aminopeptidase enzymatic activity in sperm extracts using LAP-specific substrates. Functionally significant divergence at the canonical M17 active site indicates that the largest phylogenetic group of S-LAPs lost catalytic activity and likely acquired novel, as yet undetermined, functions in sperm prior to the expansion of the gene family.

Conclusions: Comparative genomic and phylogenetic analyses revealed the dramatic expansion of the S-LAP gene family during Drosophila evolution and copy number heterogeneity in the genomes of related insects. This finding, in conjunction with the loss of catalytic activity and potential neofunctionalization amongst some family members, extends empirical support for pervasive "revolving door" turnover in the evolution of reproductive gene family composition and function.

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Date Created
2011-04-05