Zhen Zhang

University of Kansas, Lawrence, Kansas, United States

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Publications (6)14.83 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: Thymosin beta 4 (Tβ4) is a peptide with 43 amino acids that is critical for repair and remodeling tissues on the skin, eye, heart, and neural system following injury. To fully realize its utility as a treatment for disease caused by injury, the authors constructed a cost-effective novel Tβ4 dimer and demonstrated that it was better able to accelerate tissue repair than native Tβ4. A prokaryotic vector harboring two complete Tβ4 genes with a short linker was constructed and expressed in Escherichia coli. A pilot-scale fermentation (10 L) was performed to produce engineered bacteria and the Tβ4 dimer was purified by one-step hydrophobic interaction chromatography. The activities of the Tβ4 dimer to promote endothelial cell proliferation, migration, and sprouting were assessed by tetramethylbenzidine (methylthiazol tetrazolium), trans-well, scratch, and tube formation assays. The ability to accelerate dermal healing was assessed on rats. After fermentation, the Tβ4 dimer accounted for about 30% of all the bacteria proteins. The purity of the Tβ4 dimer reached 98% after hydrophobic interaction chromatography purification. An average of 562.4 mg/L Tβ4 dimer was acquired using a 10 L fermenter. In each assay, the dimeric Tβ4 exhibited enhanced activities compared with native Tβ4. Notably, the ability of the dimeric Tβ4 to promote cell migration was almost two times higher than that of Tβ4. The rate of dermal healing in the dimeric Tβ4-treated rats was approximately 1 day faster than with native Tβ4-treated rats. The dimeric Tβ4 exhibited enhanced activity on wound healing than native Tβ4, and the purification process was simple and cost-effective. This data could be of significant benefit for the high pain and morbidity associated with chronic wounds disease. A better strategy to develop Tβ4 as a treatment for other diseases caused by injuries such as heart attack, neurotrophic keratitis, and multiple sclerosis was also described.
    Preview · Article · Oct 2013 · Drug Design, Development and Therapy
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    ABSTRACT: Adjuvants are necessary to elicit high titers of antibodies in vaccine-immunization procedures. We previously developed a mouse tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-alpha) autovaccine (mTNF-PADRE) capable of inducing anti-TNF-alpha antibodies. In this study, we investigated the therapeutic effect of adjuvant-free administration of the autovaccine on collagen-type-II-induced rheumatoid arthritis (CIA) in mice. Our results showed that the vaccine could ameliorate the symptoms of CIA in mice. In addition, this study suggests that it is possible to control the antibody levels in mice immunized with mTNF-PADRE without adjuvant.
    No preview · Article · May 2009 · Cellular Immunology
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    ABSTRACT: The B-lymphocyte stimulator (BLyS) is implicated in various pathophysiological processes. The overexpression of BLyS has been observed in some human diseases, including systemic lupus erythematosus, rheumatoid arthritis, Sjögren's syndrome, and multiple sclerosis. This feature suggests that BLyS may be a therapeutic target for some human autoimmune diseases. We developed a therapeutic vaccine by coupling a tetanus toxoid T-helper cell epitope with the C-terminal of BLyS (TT-BLyS). This vaccine can induce high titers of neutralizing antibodies against BLyS in an animal model; the antibody has markedly protective effects on experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis in rats, which is induced by inoculation of spinal cord homogenate. Our data suggest that the BLyS autovaccine may be a useful candidate for the treatment of some autoimmune diseases associated with the production of BLyS.
    No preview · Article · Jul 2008 · Vaccine
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    ABSTRACT: Tumor growth and metastasis depend on vessel formation, and inhibition of angiogenesis of tumor by production of anti-angiogenic drugs should be a promising approach for cancer therapy. Tumstatin is an angiogenesis inhibitor. The anti-angiogenic activity of tumstatin is localized to the 54-132 amino acids. The gene fragment encoding amino acids 45-132 of tumstatin (tum-5) was subcloned into pcDNA3.1 (pcDNA-tum5). Tum-5 protein could be expressed and secreted in CHO cells after transfection. The conditioned medium (containing tum-5 protein) from the transfectant has an anti-angiogenic effect on HUVEC cells in vitro. The anti-tumor effect of pcDNA-tum5 on mice bearing S180 tumors was evaluated. The results showed that pcDNA-tum-5 has a significant inhibition activity in the growth of the tumors. This study suggests that the gene delivery of tum-5 may be an effective strategy for cancer therapy.
    Full-text · Article · Mar 2008 · Cytotechnology
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    ABSTRACT: Human vascular endothelia growth factor receptor 3 (VEGFR-3) is up-regulated in a variety of human cancers. It is a potentially rational target for drug delivery. To identify novel ligands with specific binding capabilities to VEGFR-3, we screened a phage display peptide library and found a consensus motif of the peptides which is displayed by the positive phages CSDxxHxWC (x is any amino acid). The phage displaying peptide CSDSWHYWC (designated as P1) exhibited the highest affinity to VEGFR-3 in phage ELISA and the chemically synthesized P1 could bind to VEGFR-3 specifically in a dose-dependent manner. In addition, the flow cytometry assay and immunoflourescence showed that the FITC labelled P1 could bind to VEGFR-3 positive carcinoma cells with specificity. Our study suggests that P1 may be a homing peptide for treatment of tumours.
    No preview · Article · Aug 2007 · Journal of Biochemistry
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    ABSTRACT: Overexpression of TNF-alpha in the body is critically involved in many diseases. A strategy to construct TNF-alpha autovaccine by introducing a T cell helper epitope to the protein has been developed and may be an alternative because it is cheaper and highly efficient. However, the induction of high level anti-TNF-alpha neutralizing autoantibodies by TNF-alpha autovaccine is depend on a proper T cell help epitope. In order to evaluate the effect of different T helper cell epitopes on the immunogenicity of mouse TNF-alpha (mTNF-alpha), three T helper cell epitopes, TT (QYIKANSKFIGITEL), HEL (NTDGSTDYGILQINSR), and PADRE (AKFVAAWTLKA), were chosen for this study. The sequence (amino acids 126-140) of mTNF-alpha was replaced with those of the T cell help epitopes, respectively. The three fusion proteins (mTNF-TT, mTNF-HEL, mTNF-PADRE) were expressed in Escherichia coli and purified with a simple strategy. The abilities of the proteins elicited TNF-alpha autoantibodies in BALB/c mice were investigated. The results showed that mTNF-PADRE is the most effective among the three modified TNF-alpha molecules. In the absence of adjuvant, the therapeutic effect of TNF-PADRE on LPS induced endotoxic shock mice and mTNF-alpha induced cachexia mice was observed. This study suggests that mTNF-PADRE may be a better candidate of mTNF-alpha autovaccine.
    No preview · Article · May 2007 · Cellular Immunology

Publication Stats

35 Citations
14.83 Total Impact Points


  • 2013
    • University of Kansas
      • Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
      Lawrence, Kansas, United States
  • 2007-2008
    • Fourth Military Medical University
      Xi’an, Liaoning, China