Frederick C Leung

The University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong, Hong Kong

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Publications (78)329.81 Total impact

  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Antibacterial activity of nanomaterials is strongly dependent on their properties, and their stability and toxicity can be varied using surface coatings. We investigated the effect of different surface modifying molecules on the antibacterial properties of two ZnO nanoparticle samples. We found that the starting surface properties of the nanoparticles have significant effects on the attachment of the surface modifying molecules and consequent antibacterial activity. Two out of five investigated surface modifying molecules not only had a significant difference in the magnitude of their effect on different nanoparticles, but also resulted in the opposite effects on two ZnO nanoparticle samples (an enhancement of antibacterial activity for one and a reduction of antibacterial activity for the other ZnO sample). This indicates that no general rule on the effect of a specific molecule on the toxicity of a metal oxide nanoparticle can be derived without knowing the nanoparticle properties, due to the fact that surface modifier attachment onto the surface is affected by the initial surface properties.
    Nanoscale 07/2014; · 6.73 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Erysipelothrix rhusiopathiae is the causative agent of animal erysipelas and, to a fewer occurrences, human erysipeloid. It is ubiquitous in nature and commensal in diverse species of animals, wild or domestic, from mammals and birds to reptiles and fish. Mechanisms of its virulence and pathogenicity are poorly understood.
    BMC Microbiology 07/2014; 14(1):176. · 2.98 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: High power densities have been obtained from MFC reactors having a purple color characteristic of Rhodopseudomonas. We investigated the microbial community structure and population in developed purple MFC medium (DPMM) and MFC effluent (DPME) using 16S rRNA pyrosequencing. In DPMM, dominant bacteria were Comamonas (44.6%), Rhodopseudomonas (19.5%) and Pseudomonas (17.2%). The bacterial community of DPME mainly consisted of bacteria related to Rhodopseudomonas (72.2%). Hydrogen oxidizing bacteria were identified in both purple-colored samples: Hydrogenophaga and Sphaerochaeta in the DPMM, and Arcobacter, unclassified Ignavibacteriaceae, Acinetobacter, Desulfovibrio and Wolinella in the DPME. The methanogenic community of both purple-colored samples was dominated by hydrogenotrophic methanogens including Methanobacterium, Methanobrevibacter and Methanocorpusculum with significantly lower numbers of Methanosarcina. These results suggeste that hydrogen is actively produced by Rhodopseudomonas that leads to the dominance of hydrogen consuming microorganisms in both purple-colored samples. The syntrophic relationship between Rhodopseudomonas and hydrogenotrophic microbes might be important for producing high power density in the acetate-fed MFC under light conditions.
    AMB Express. 01/2014; 4:22.
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    ABSTRACT: The toxicity of metal oxide nanomaterials and their antimicrobial activity is attracting increasing attention. Among these materials, MgO is particularly interesting as a low cost, environmentally-friendly material. The toxicity of MgO, similar to other metal oxide nanomaterials, is commonly attributed to the production of reactive oxygen species (ROS). We investigated the toxicity of three different MgO nanoparticle samples, and clearly demonstrated robust toxicity towards Escherichia coli bacterial cells in the absence of ROS production for two MgO nanoparticle samples. Proteomics data also clearly demonstrate the absence of oxidative stress and indicate that the primary mechanism of cell death is related to the cell membrane damage, which does not appear to be due to lipid peroxidation.
    Small 12/2013; · 7.82 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Type 2 Porcine Reproductive and Respiratory Syndrome Virus (PRRSV) was first detected in Europe in 1996 co-incident with the introduction of a live attenuated vaccine. Since then, only limited ORF5 and ORF7 sequences of Type 2 PRRS viruses have been reported throughout Europe. In the present study, the genetic and antigenic diversity of 11 complete genomes and 49 ORF5 and 55 ORF7 nucleotide sequences obtained from 57 viruses in Denmark from 2003 to 2012 were examined. The genetic identity of the 11 complete genomes to the vaccine strain (Ingelvac PRRS MLV) ranged between 93.6 and 99.6% while the 49 ORF5 sequences examined were 94.0-99.8% identical to the vaccine strain. Among the Danish sequences, the pairwise nucleotide identity was 90.9-100% and 93.0-100.0% for ORF5 and ORF7, respectively. Analysis of the genetic region encoding NSP2 revealed high diversity among the Danish viruses with an 86.6-98.9% range in similarity. Furthermore, several of the sequenced viruses harbored deletions in the NSP2 coding region. Phylogenetic analysis in a global Type 2 PRRSV framework classified all Danish isolates to a single cluster (sub-lineage 5.1) which comprised strains closely-related to the Type 2 prototype isolate VR2332.
    Veterinary Microbiology 09/2013; · 3.13 Impact Factor
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    Nano Studies. 09/2013; 8:165-165.
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    ABSTRACT: The microbial component of outdoor aerosols was assessed along a gradient of urban development from inner-city to rural in the seasonal-tropical metropolis of Hong Kong. Sampling over a continuous one-year period was conducted, with molecular analyses to characterize bacterial and eukaryal microbial populations, immuno-assays to detect microbially-derived allergens and extensive environmental and meteorological observations. The data revealed bio-aerosol populations were not significantly impacted by the level of urban development as measured by anthropogenic pollutants and human population levels, but instead exhibited a strong seasonal trend related to general climatic variables. We applied back-trajectory analysis to establish sources of air masses and this allowed further explanation of urban bio-aerosols largely in terms of summer-marine and winter-continental origins. We also evaluated bio-aerosols for the potential to detect human health threats. Many samples supported bacterial and fungal phylotypes indicative of known pathogenic taxa, together with common indicators of human presence. The occurrence of allergenic endotoxins and beta-glucans generally tracked trends in microbial populations, with levels known to induce symptoms detected during summer months when microbial loading was higher. This strengthens calls for bio-aerosols to be considered in future risk assessments and surveillance of air quality, along with existing chemical and particulate indices.
    Atmospheric Environment 09/2013; 2013:291-300. · 3.11 Impact Factor
  • Thin Solid Films 09/2013; · 1.87 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Emus (Dromaius novaehollandiae), large flightless ratites native to Australia, are farmed for their fat and meat. They are omnivorous and feed on a wide variety of plants and insects. Despite having a relatively simple gastrointestinal tract and a short digesta retention time, emus are able to digest a significant portion of the ingested dietary neutral detergent fibre. However, nothing is known about the microbial diversity in their gastrointestinal tract. In this study, we evaluated the phylogenetic diversity of the cecal microbiota of four emus (2 males, 2 females) that were fed a barley-alfalfa-canola based diet, using 454 pyrosequencing after amplification for V3-V5 region of bacterial 16S rRNA gene. Emus were slaughtered in early November, just prior to the onset of their breeding season, but after the seasonal decline in their feed intake had begun. A total of 822 operational taxonomic units (OTUs) (335.3±70.5OTUs/sample) belonging to 9 bacterial phyla were identified. The most predominant bacterial phyla were Bacteroidetes (∼57% of total classified diversity), Proteobacteria (∼24%), Fusobacteria (∼11.3%), and Firmicutes (∼7%). Our results indicate that the emus' ceca may have a higher microbial richness (Chao1: 624±170OTUs, and ACE: 586±161OTUs) than other species of birds, but they have a lower microbial diversity (Shannon diversity index: 3.4±0.2, Simpson index: 0.79±0.02), possibly reflecting their decrease feed intake. This is the first study to characterize the microbial community of the gastrointestinal tract of a ratite using pyrosequencing, providing a baseline for further study.
    Veterinary Microbiology 06/2013; · 3.13 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Background Understanding the effects of pretreatment on anaerobic digestion of sludge waste from wastewater treatment plants is becoming increasingly important, as impetus moves towards the utilization of sludge for renewable energy production. Although the field of sludge pretreatment has progressed significantly over the past decade, critical questions concerning the underlying microbial interactions remain unanswered. In this study, a metagenomic approach was adopted to investigate the microbial composition and gene content contributing to enhanced biogas production from sludge subjected to a novel pretreatment method (maintaining pH at 10 for 8 days) compared to other documented methods (ultrasonic, thermal and thermal-alkaline). Results Our results showed that pretreated sludge attained a maximum methane yield approximately 4-fold higher than that of the blank un-pretreated sludge set-up at day 17. Both the microbial and metabolic consortium shifted extensively towards enhanced biodegradation subsequent to pretreatment, providing insight for the enhanced methane yield. The prevalence of Methanosaeta thermophila and Methanothermobacter thermautotrophicus, together with the functional affiliation of enzymes-encoding genes suggested an acetoclastic and hydrogenotrophic methanogenesis pathway. Additionally, an alternative enzymology in Methanosaeta was observed. Conclusions This study is the first to provide a microbiological understanding of improved biogas production subsequent to a novel waste sludge pretreatment method. The knowledge garnered will assist the design of more efficient pretreatment methods for biogas production in the future.
    Biotechnology for Biofuels 03/2013; 6(38). · 5.55 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: In this study, gene structure, tissue expression, and promoter usage of prolactin receptor (PRLR) and its interaction with prolactin (PRL) and the newly identified prolactin-like protein (PRL-L) were investigated in chickens. The results showed that 1) PRLR gene was found to consist of at least 25 exons by 5'-RACE and RT-PCR assays; 2) multiple PRLR 5'-UTR sequences different in exon composition were isolated from chicken liver or intestine by 5'-RACE and could be subdivided into type I and type II transcripts according to the first exon used (exon 1G or exon 1A); 3) PRLR Type I transcripts with exon 1G were detected to be predominantly expressed in adult kidney and small intestine by RT-PCR, implying their expression is likely controlled by a tissue-specific promoter (P1). By contrast, PRLR type II transcripts containing exon 1A are widely expressed in adult and embryonic tissues examined and their expression is controlled by a generic promoter (P2) near exon 1A, which was demonstrated to display promoter activities in cultured DF-1, HEK293 and LoVo cells by the dual-luciferase reporter assay; 4) Using a 5×STAT5-luciferase reporter system, cPRLR expressed in HepG2 cells was shown to be activated by recombinant cPRL and cPRL-L via interaction with PRLR membrane-proximal ligand-binding domain, suggesting that like cPRL, cPRL-L is also a functional ligand of cPRLR. Collectively, characterization of cPRLR gene helps to elucidate the roles of PRLR and its ligands in birds and provides insights into the regulatory mechanisms of PRLR expression conserved in birds and mammals.
    Molecular and Cellular Endocrinology 03/2013; · 4.04 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Haemophilus parasuis is the etiological agent of Glässer's disease in pigs and 15 standard serovars were identified. The widespread disease causes great economic loss in the swine industry worldwide. Aiming to investigate the differences in genome composition and functions among various strains, a highly virulent strain ZJ0906 of H. parasuis serovar 12 from China was analyzed and compared with serovar 5 SH0165. Strain ZJ0906 genome is 2,324,740 base pairs with 40.06% genomic GC content. It contains 2,484 open reading frames (ORF) predicted by Glimmer 3.02, of which 2,352 (∼94.7%) were annotated by NCBI nr blast, 1,745 by COG database and 1,829 by KEGG database. 109 potential virulence factors were annotated in strain ZJ0906 and 3 of which are potentially related to antibiotic resistance. Strain ZJ0906 genome is ∼55 kilobases longer than SH0165 genome, with an extra 211 predicted ORFs. VFDB, ARDB, and PAIDB blast searches showed that ZJ0906 and SH0165 shared a nearly identical panel of potential virulence factors, drug resistant genes and four PAI-like regions which showed high homology to Enterococcus, Escherichia and Salmonella. Synteny analysis showed that gene rearrangements are frequent between the two strains, which may lead to variations in pathogenicity and cross-protection among serovars. KEGG pathway analyses showed strain ZJ0906 shared similar metabolic pathways to strain SH0165. Molecular identification of these genomic elements and potential virulence factors pave the way to the better understanding of mechanisms underlying metabolic capabilities and pathogenicity of H. parasuis and prospective vaccine targets besides the widely used method of inactivated bacteria.
    PLoS ONE 01/2013; 8(9):e68350. · 3.53 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Emus (Dromaius novaehollandiae) are farmed for their oil for pharmaceutical and cosmetic uses. This emu pituitary expressed sequence tag study was undertaken to identify novel transcripts in the emu pituitary to propel their identification and functional studies. By mapping reads derived from the Roche 454 GS Junior pyrosequencer to 8 reference species (human, mouse, chicken, zebra finch, fruit fly, turkey, round worm, and Carolina anole lizard) from the UniGene database, a total of 81,788 reads (53,312 mapped reads) were obtained and assembled with Reference Sequence (RefSeq). We annotated 6,676 potential emu genes by referencing 7 species (excluding lizard) and identified 1,232 potential genes common among 3 species (human, mouse, and chicken) with complete available reference genomes. Gene Ontology analysis revealed 376 Gene Ontology terms showing, with the highest counts, their involvements in biological processes, metabolism, and cellular components. These potential genes were detected to associate with 20 pathways including mitogen-activated protein kinase, insulin, neurotrophin signaling pathways, and carbohydrate digestion and absorption pathway. We also revealed a panel of tissue-specific genes including regulator of G-protein signaling protein (RGS), glucagon-like peptide receptor (GLPR), and growth hormone-inducible transmembrane protein (GHITM). Additionally, fatty acid binding protein (FABP), fatty acid desaturase (FAS), and stearoyl-coenzyme A desaturase (SCD), key enzyme genes in fat metabolism, were found to be also expressed in emu pituitary. This expressed sequence tag study represents the first step in functional characterization of emu pituitary gene expression and SNP identification for the improvement of fat production in the emu.
    Poultry Science 01/2013; 92(1):90-6. · 1.52 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Pseudomonas mendocina DLHK is an aerobic bacterium isolated from a biotrickling reactor which can remove nitric oxide, a common air pollutant from combustion exhaust gas. Here, we present the draft genome of Pseudomonas mendocina DLHK.
    Journal of bacteriology 11/2012; 194(22):6326. · 3.94 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: In various practical applications, nanomaterials typically have functionalized surfaces. Yet, the studies of toxicity and antibacterial activity of functionalized nanoparticles are scarce. We investigated the effect of surface modifications on antibacterial activity of ZnO under ambient illumination, and we found that nanoparticles coated with different surface modifying reagents could exhibit higher or lower toxicity compared to bare ZnO, depending on the surface modifying reagent used. Different surface modifying reagent molecules resulted in differences in the release of Zn(2+) ions and the production of reactive oxygen species (ROS). However, the antibacterial activity did not correlate with the ROS levels or the Zn(2+) ion release. One of the surface-modified ZnO samples exhibited significantly lower Zn(2+) ion release while at the same time exhibiting improved antibacterial activity. In all cases, damage of the cell wall membranes and/or changes in the membrane permeability have been observed, together with the changes in ATR-FTIR spectra indicating differences in protein conformation. Mechanisms of antibacterial activity are discussed.
    Nanotechnology 10/2012; 23(47):475703. · 3.84 Impact Factor
  • John Chi Wang Ho, Tim Jacobs, Yajun Wang, Frederick C Leung
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    ABSTRACT: In mammals, the neuropeptide galanin exerts a variety of physiological roles in the neuroendocrine system through its interactions with three galanin receptor subtypes (GalR1, GalR2 and GalR3). However, little is known about the characteristics of galanin receptors in birds, and it is only recently that avian GalR1 and a novel GalR1-like receptor were first identified in chickens. In this study, we report the cDNA cloning and characterization of the other two chicken galanin receptors, the galanin type II receptor (cGalR2) and a novel GalR2-like receptor (GalR2-L), which share high degrees of similarity in sequence identity, gene structure and signaling properties. cGalR2 and cGalR2-L cDNAs encode two putative receptors of 371 and 370 amino acids, in which they show considerable amino acid sequence identities (65-67%, and 53-55%, respectively) with the mammalian GalR2. RT-PCR assays revealed that cGalR2 and cGalR2-L mRNA were widely expressed in the adult chicken tissues including the whole brain, intestine, lung, ovary, pituitary and different regions of the oviduct. As assayed with different luciferase reporter systems, chicken galanin (cGal 1-29) and human galanin-like peptide (hGALP 1-60) were demonstrated to stimulate the luciferase activities in Chinese hamster ovary cells expressing cGalR2 and cGalR2-L through the activations of cAMP/PKA, Ca(2+)/calcineurin and MAPK/ERK signaling pathways, hence suggesting that both receptors are functionally coupled to the G(s) and G(q) proteins. Furthermore, the previously identified cGalR1 and cGalR1-L were found to be solely coupled to the G(i/o) proteins, and the hGALP (1-60) exhibited only a low potency to cGalR1, cGalR1-L, cGalR2 and cGalR2-L activations.
    General and Comparative Endocrinology 09/2012; 179(2):305-12. · 2.82 Impact Factor
  • Amy H Y Kwok, Yajun Wang, Frederick C Leung
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    ABSTRACT: Prostaglandin E and F regulate diverse physiological functions including gastrointestinal motility, fever induction and reproduction. This multitude of biological effects is mediated via their four E receptor subtypes (EP(1), EP(2), EP(3) and EP(4)) and F receptor (FP), respectively. Majority of these studies was performed in mammalian species, while investigations on their roles were impeded by inadequate information on their receptors in avian species. In present study, full-length cDNAs of chicken EP(3) (cEP(3)) and two isoforms of FP - cFPa and cFPb - were cloned from adult hen ovary. The putative cEP(3) and cFPa share high amino acid sequence identity with their respective orthologs, while the predicted cFPb is a novel middle-truncated splice variant which lacks 107 amino acids between transmembrane domains 4 and 6. RT-PCR showed that cEP(3), cFPa and cFPb are widely expressed in adult tissues examined, including ovary and oviduct. Using a pGL3-CRE luciferase reporter system, cEP(3)-expressing DF1 cells inhibited forskolin-induced luciferase activity (EC(50): <1.9pM) upon PGE(2) treatment, suggesting that cEP(3) may functionally couple to Gi protein. Upon PGF(2α) addition, cFPa was shown to potentially couple to intracellular Ca(2+)-signaling pathway by pGL3-NFAT-RE reporter assay (EC(50): 2.9 nM), while cFPb showed no response. Using a pGL4-SRE reporter system, both cEP(3) and cFPa exhibited potential MAPK activation by PGE(2) and PGF(2α) at EC(50) 0.34 and 13nM, respectively. Molecular characterization of these receptors paved the road to the better understanding of PGE(2) and PGF(2α) roles in avian physiology and comparative endocrinology studies.
    General and Comparative Endocrinology 08/2012; 179(1):88-98. · 2.82 Impact Factor
  • Hong Kong medical journal = Xianggang yi xue za zhi / Hong Kong Academy of Medicine 08/2012; 18 Suppl 3:35-8.
  • Amy H Y Kwok, Yajun Wang, Frederick C Leung
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    ABSTRACT: Prostaglandins E (PGE) and F (PGF) mediate diverse physiological functions via their cell surface receptors - prostaglandin E receptor (EP) subtypes 1, 2, 3 and 4 (EP(1); EP(2); EP(3); EP(4)) and F receptor (FP). In teleost fishes, PGE was implicated in gill epithelium ion transport, while both PGE and PGF were involved in oocyte maturation, follicular rupture and coordination of reproductive behaviors. However, little is known about the mechanisms behind their actions. In present study, we first identified the full-length ORF cDNA clones of three zebrafish prostaglandin E receptor subtype 1 (zEP(1)) isoforms - zEP(1a), zEP(1b) and zEP(1c) - and FP (zFP) from adult ovary. RT-PCR showed that zEP(1a), zEP(1b) and zFP are widely expressed in adult tissues, while zEP(1c) mRNA expression is mainly confined in brain and kidney. Using a pGL3-NFAT-RE luciferase reporter system, both zEP(1a) and zEP(1b) expressed in DF-1 cells were shown to be activated by PGE(2) potently while zEP(1c) and zFP were activated by PGF(2a) effectively, suggesting that the four receptors are functionally coupled to intracellular Ca(2+)-signaling pathway. Furthermore, EP1a and EP1b, but not EP1c were suggested to couple to cAMP-PKA signaling pathway using a pGL3-CRE luciferase reporter assay. Although zEP(1c) might originate as a paralog to zEP(1a) and zEP(1b), its functional coupling to PGF(2α) instead of PGE(2) suggested that zEP(1) isoforms might have sub-functionalized in their ligand binding and G protein coupling specificity, in addition to differential tissue distribution. Characterization of these receptors undoubtedly furthered our understanding on the diverse yet highly target-specific responses of prostaglandins in teleosts.
    General and Comparative Endocrinology 05/2012; 178(2):216-26. · 2.82 Impact Factor
  • Raymond K Hui, Frederick C Leung
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    ABSTRACT: Foot-and-mouth disease is an endemic animal disease in Hong Kong. In this study, a total of 70 clinical specimens were collected from locally infected pigs from 2001 to 2010. Phylogenetic analysis of VP1 sequences reveal that all Hong Kong FMDV serotype O isolates are classified into three lineages: HK-A and HK-B in Cathay topotype, and HK-C in SEA topotype. Regression analysis projects that the time of divergence from the most recent common ancestor of HK-A and HK-B are 1964 ± 12 and 1987 ± 9 years respectively. Although HK-B shares a common ancestor with strains that caused outbreak in Taiwan and Philippines, there is no consolidated evidence demonstrating the order of introduction events among these regions. HK-C lineage is the latest FMDV isolated in Hong Kong. This virus is likely adopted from bovine into porcine. As local pigs confer immunity mainly against Cathay topotype viruses, introduction of HK-C viruses have led into an unexpectedly high severity and rapid spreading rate of the disease. A systematic surveillance and communication network is essential to provide accurate information in controlling the pandemics.
    Veterinary Microbiology 03/2012; 159(1-2):221-9. · 3.13 Impact Factor

Publication Stats

665 Citations
329.81 Total Impact Points

Institutions

  • 2002–2014
    • The University of Hong Kong
      • School of Biological Sciences
      Hong Kong, Hong Kong
  • 2011–2012
    • Sichuan University
      • College of Life Sciences
      Chengdu, Sichuan Sheng, China
  • 2007
    • Lands Department of The Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region
      Hong Kong, Hong Kong
  • 2006
    • University of Auckland
      • Department of Computer Science
      Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand
    • China Agricultural University
      • College of Veterinary Medicine
      Beijing, Beijing Shi, China