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Molecules, Volume 23, Issue 2 (February 2018)

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Cover Story (view full-size image) Biocatalysts able to convert nitroaromatics to aromatic amines are in high demand, yet they are not [...] Read more.
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Editorial

Jump to: Research, Review

Open AccessEditorial Remembering Professor Benito Casu (1927–2016)
Molecules 2018, 23(2), 292; doi:10.3390/molecules23020292
Received: 25 January 2018 / Revised: 26 January 2018 / Accepted: 26 January 2018 / Published: 31 January 2018
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Abstract
Heparin and related drugs have contributed in so many different ways to the drug discovery process, and have provided a platform to understand the pathophysiology of vascular and inflammatory diseases for nearly 100 years. Full article
Open AccessEditorial Looking Forward to the Future of Heparin: New Sources, Developments and Applications
Molecules 2018, 23(2), 293; doi:10.3390/molecules23020293
Received: 26 January 2018 / Revised: 27 January 2018 / Accepted: 27 January 2018 / Published: 31 January 2018
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Abstract
The seven reviews and the eleven articles in this special issue provide an updated survey of recent research and developments in the ever-growing field of heparin, along with low molecular weight heparins (LMWHs) and glycosaminoglycans (GAGs). Full article
Open AccessEditorial Advances in Heparins and Related Research. An Epilogue
Molecules 2018, 23(2), 390; doi:10.3390/molecules23020390
Received: 7 February 2018 / Revised: 7 February 2018 / Accepted: 8 February 2018 / Published: 12 February 2018
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Abstract
The discovery of heparin in 1916 by Jay McLean, a medical student at Johns Hopkins University, not only provided a universal anticoagulant, but also laid the foundation for the discipline of hemostasis and thrombosis[...] Full article

Research

Jump to: Editorial, Review

Open AccessArticle Estrogenic Effects of the Extracts from the Chinese Yam (Dioscorea opposite Thunb.) and Its Effective Compounds in Vitro and in Vivo
Molecules 2018, 23(2), 11; doi:10.3390/molecules23020011
Received: 15 December 2017 / Revised: 16 January 2018 / Accepted: 16 January 2018 / Published: 23 January 2018
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Abstract
Background: The aim of this study was to explore the estrogenic effects of the extracts from Chinese yam and its effective compounds. Methods: The activity of the yam was investigated by the uterine weight gain of mice and a proliferation assay of breast
[...] Read more.
Background: The aim of this study was to explore the estrogenic effects of the extracts from Chinese yam and its effective compounds. Methods: The activity of the yam was investigated by the uterine weight gain of mice and a proliferation assay of breast cancer cell lines (MCF-7 cell); the estrogenic activity was comprehensively evaluated by a serum pharmacology experiment. The levels of estradiol (E2), follicle stimulating hormone (FSH), and luteinizing hormone (LH) were also measured. Western blot analysis and antagonist assays with faslodex (ICI182,780), methylpiperidino-pyrazole (MPP), Delta (9) –tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), and G-15 were used to explore the mechanism of the effects of the yam. To find the effective compounds of the yam which play a role in its estrogen-like effects, we used the same methods to study the effects of adenosine and arbutin. Results: The Chinese yam and two main compounds, adenosine and arbutin, have estrogen-like effects. The mechanism of the yam which plays a role in its estrogen-like effects was mainly mediated by the estrogen receptors ERα, ERβ, and GPR30; that of adenosine was mainly mediated by estrogen receptors ERα and ERβ, and that of arbutin was mainly mediated by estrogen receptors ERβ and GPR30. Conclusions: The Chinese yam has estrogen-like effects; adenosine and arbutin are two of the effective compounds in the yam which play a role in its estrogen-like effects. Full article
(This article belongs to the collection Bioactive Compounds)
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Open AccessArticle Analytical Approaches to Improve Accuracy in Solving the Protein Topology Problem
Molecules 2018, 23(2), 28; doi:10.3390/molecules23020028
Received: 5 December 2017 / Revised: 19 January 2018 / Accepted: 19 January 2018 / Published: 23 January 2018
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Abstract
To take advantage of recent advances in genomics and proteomics it is critical that the three-dimensional physical structure of biological macromolecules be determined. Cryo-Electron Microscopy (cryo-EM) is a promising and improving method for obtaining this data, however resolution is often not sufficient to
[...] Read more.
To take advantage of recent advances in genomics and proteomics it is critical that the three-dimensional physical structure of biological macromolecules be determined. Cryo-Electron Microscopy (cryo-EM) is a promising and improving method for obtaining this data, however resolution is often not sufficient to directly determine the atomic scale structure. Despite this, information for secondary structure locations is detectable. De novo modeling is a computational approach to modeling these macromolecular structures based on cryo-EM derived data. During de novo modeling a mapping between detected secondary structures and the underlying amino acid sequence must be identified. DP-TOSS (Dynamic Programming for determining the Topology Of Secondary Structures) is one tool that attempts to automate the creation of this mapping. By treating the correspondence between the detected structures and the structures predicted from sequence data as a constraint graph problem DP-TOSS achieved good accuracy in its original iteration. In this paper, we propose modifications to the scoring methodology of DP-TOSS to improve its accuracy. Three scoring schemes were applied to DP-TOSS and tested: (i) a skeleton-based scoring function; (ii) a geometry-based analytical function; and (iii) a multi-well potential energy-based function. A test of 25 proteins shows that a combination of these schemes can improve the performance of DP-TOSS to solve the topology determination problem for macromolecule proteins. Full article
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Open AccessArticle A Facile Route toward the Increase of Oxygen Content in Nanosized Zeolite by Insertion of Cerium and Fluorinated Compounds
Molecules 2018, 23(2), 37; doi:10.3390/molecules23020037
Received: 24 November 2017 / Revised: 15 January 2018 / Accepted: 19 January 2018 / Published: 24 January 2018
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Abstract
Enriching oxygen content within nanosized zeolite X (as synthesized Na-X) by insertion of cerium (ion exchanged Ce-X) and functionalization with bromoperfluoro-n-octane (fluorinated F-X) is reported. The materials were fully characterized by powder X-ray diffraction (XRD), dynamic light scattering (DLS), zeta potential,
[...] Read more.
Enriching oxygen content within nanosized zeolite X (as synthesized Na-X) by insertion of cerium (ion exchanged Ce-X) and functionalization with bromoperfluoro-n-octane (fluorinated F-X) is reported. The materials were fully characterized by powder X-ray diffraction (XRD), dynamic light scattering (DLS), zeta potential, thermogravimetric analysis (TGA), nitrogen adsorption, and nuclear magnetic resonance (19F NMR). The O2 adsorption in the zeolite samples at various concentrations (0 to 165 Torr) at −196 °C was studied by in situ FTIR. The modification of nanosized zeolites did not alter their colloidal stability, crystallinity, porosity, and particle size distribution. The inclusion of cerium and bromoperfluoro-n-octane considerably increase the oxygen capacity by 33% for samples Ce-X and F-X in comparison to the as-synthesized Na-X zeolite. Further, toxicity tests revealed that these materials are safe, which opens the door for their implementation in medical applications, where controlled delivery of oxygen is highly desirable. Full article
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Open AccessArticle The Enhanced Intramolecular Energy Transfer and Strengthened ff Luminescence of a Stable Helical Eu Complex in Ionic Liquids
Molecules 2018, 23(2), 55; doi:10.3390/molecules23020055
Received: 12 December 2017 / Revised: 14 January 2018 / Accepted: 17 January 2018 / Published: 24 January 2018
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Abstract
The luminescence of a Eu complex (EuL) is enhanced by stabilization of the coordination structure in highly viscous ionic liquids. The EuL was found to maintain a stable single helical structure both in organic solvents and in the ionic liquids [BMIM][PF6]
[...] Read more.
The luminescence of a Eu complex (EuL) is enhanced by stabilization of the coordination structure in highly viscous ionic liquids. The EuL was found to maintain a stable single helical structure both in organic solvents and in the ionic liquids [BMIM][PF6] and [EMIM][PF6]. A colorless solution of EuL dissolved in [BMIM][PF6] exhibits bright red luminescence with a quantum yield of 32.3%, a value that is much higher than that in acetonitrile (12%). Estimated rate constants for the energy relaxation pathway indicate that the energy transfer efficiency is enhanced in [BMIM][PF6] as a result of the suppression of molecular fluctuations in the ligands. Additionally, a highly luminescent helical structure is preserved in [EMIM][PF6] up to 120 °C. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Lanthanide Luminescence: Fundamental Research and Applications)
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Open AccessArticle Indole-3-Carbonitriles as DYRK1A Inhibitors by Fragment-Based Drug Design
Molecules 2018, 23(2), 64; doi:10.3390/molecules23020064
Received: 22 December 2017 / Revised: 11 January 2018 / Accepted: 12 January 2018 / Published: 24 January 2018
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Abstract
Dual-specificity tyrosine phosphorylation-regulated kinase 1A (DYRK1A) is a potential drug target because of its role in the development of Down syndrome and Alzheimer’s disease. The selective DYRK1A inhibitor 10-iodo-11H-indolo[3,2-c]quinoline-6-carboxylic acid (KuFal194), a large, flat and lipophilic molecule, suffers from
[...] Read more.
Dual-specificity tyrosine phosphorylation-regulated kinase 1A (DYRK1A) is a potential drug target because of its role in the development of Down syndrome and Alzheimer’s disease. The selective DYRK1A inhibitor 10-iodo-11H-indolo[3,2-c]quinoline-6-carboxylic acid (KuFal194), a large, flat and lipophilic molecule, suffers from poor water solubility, limiting its use as chemical probe in cellular assays and animal models. Based on the structure of KuFal194, 7-chloro-1H-indole-3-carbonitrile was selected as fragment template for the development of smaller and less lipophilic DYRK1A inhibitors. By modification of this fragment, a series of indole-3-carbonitriles was designed and evaluated as potential DYRK1A ligands by molecular docking studies. Synthesis and in vitro assays on DYRK1A and related protein kinases identified novel double-digit nanomolar inhibitors with submicromolar activity in cell culture assays. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Medicinal Chemistry)
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Open AccessArticle Metabolite Profiling of 14 Wuyi Rock Tea Cultivars Using UPLC-QTOF MS and UPLC-QqQ MS Combined with Chemometrics
Molecules 2018, 23(2), 104; doi:10.3390/molecules23020104
Received: 25 December 2017 / Revised: 19 January 2018 / Accepted: 20 January 2018 / Published: 24 January 2018
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Abstract
Wuyi Rock tea, well-recognized for rich flavor and long-lasting fragrance, is a premium subcategory of oolong tea mainly produced in Wuyi Mountain and nearby regions of China. The quality of tea is mainly determined by the chemical constituents in the tea leaves. However,
[...] Read more.
Wuyi Rock tea, well-recognized for rich flavor and long-lasting fragrance, is a premium subcategory of oolong tea mainly produced in Wuyi Mountain and nearby regions of China. The quality of tea is mainly determined by the chemical constituents in the tea leaves. However, this remains underexplored for Wuyi Rock tea cultivars. In this study, we investigated the leaf metabolite profiles of 14 major Wuyi Rock tea cultivars grown in the same producing region using UPLC-QTOF MS and UPLC-QqQ MS with data processing via principal component analysis and cluster analysis. Relative quantitation of 49 major metabolites including flavan-3-ols, proanthocyanidins, flavonol glycosides, flavone glycosides, flavonone glycosides, phenolic acid derivatives, hydrolysable tannins, alkaloids and amino acids revealed clear variations between tea cultivars. In particular, catechins, kaempferol and quercetin derivatives were key metabolites responsible for cultivar discrimination. Information on the varietal differences in the levels of bioactive/functional metabolites, such as methylated catechins, flavonol glycosides and theanine, offers valuable insights to further explore the nutritional values and sensory qualities of Wuyi Rock tea. It also provides potential markers for tea plant fingerprinting and cultivar identification. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Use of an UHPLC-MS/MS Method for Determination of Kuraridin and Characterization of Its Metabolites in Rat Plasma after Oral Administration
Molecules 2018, 23(2), 132; doi:10.3390/molecules23020132
Received: 1 January 2018 / Revised: 19 January 2018 / Accepted: 19 January 2018 / Published: 24 January 2018
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Abstract
Kuraridin is an active natural prenylated flavonoid ingredient originating from the well-known traditional Chinese medicine Sophora flavescens Ait., that possesses various bioactivities, such as antitumor activity, PLCγ1 inhibitory activity, glycosidase inhibitory activity, etc. However, there is no report on the plasma
[...] Read more.
Kuraridin is an active natural prenylated flavonoid ingredient originating from the well-known traditional Chinese medicine Sophora flavescens Ait., that possesses various bioactivities, such as antitumor activity, PLCγ1 inhibitory activity, glycosidase inhibitory activity, etc. However, there is no report on the plasma metabolic profile and pharmacokinetic study of kuraridin. The current study was designed to use an ultra-performance liquid chromatography/tandem mass spectrometry (UHPLC-MS/MS) method for the quantification and characterization metabolites in rat plasma after oral administration of kuraridin. A liquid-liquid extraction method with ethyl acetate-acetonitrile (1:3) was used to extract the kuraridin from rat plasma samples. The chromatographic separation was carried out on a Hypersil GOLD UHPLC C18 column equipped with a C18 guard cartridge using a gradient elution with organic solvent-water as mobile phase. Based on comparing the retention times with reference standards or on the basis of MS2 fragmentation behaviors, a total of 19 metabolites were identified or tentatively characterized from rat plasma. Under the optimized conditions, the method showed good linearity (r2 > 0.99) over the ranges of 1–500 ng/mL for kuraridin. The inter- and intra-day precisions were less than 8.95%, and the accuracy was in the range of −6.27–6.48%. The recovery of kuraridin ranged from 90.1% to 100.4%. The developed UHPLC-MS/MS method was thus successfully applied in the qualitative of metabolites and quantitative analysis of kuraridin in rat plasma. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Proteomic Analysis of Differentially-Expressed Proteins in the Liver of Streptozotocin-Induced Diabetic Rats Treated with Parkia biglobosa Protein Isolate
Molecules 2018, 23(2), 156; doi:10.3390/molecules23020156
Received: 29 October 2017 / Revised: 26 December 2017 / Accepted: 19 January 2018 / Published: 24 January 2018
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Abstract
Protein isolate from Parkia biglobosa seeds is believed to possess excellent anti-diabetic properties. The purpose of this study was to identify differentially expressed proteins in liver of streptozotocin-induced diabetic rats treated with Parkia biglobosa seeds protein isolate (PBPi). In this study, total proteins
[...] Read more.
Protein isolate from Parkia biglobosa seeds is believed to possess excellent anti-diabetic properties. The purpose of this study was to identify differentially expressed proteins in liver of streptozotocin-induced diabetic rats treated with Parkia biglobosa seeds protein isolate (PBPi). In this study, total proteins extracted from rat liver were separated on one-dimensional SDS polyacrylamide gel (1D SDS-PAGE) and stained with Coomassie brilliant blue (CBB) to visualize protein bands. We observed that protein bands in the region of 10–15 kDa were altered by the different treatments; these bands were selected and excised for in-gel digestion and peptide extraction followed by nLC-MS, MALDI-TOF MS, and LIFT MS/MS. A database search with the Mascot algorithm positively identified four differentially expressed proteins. These proteins are known to be responsible for diverse biological functions within various organs and tissues. The present result gives insight and understanding into possible molecular mechanisms by which streptozotocin causes various alterations in proteins found in the liver of diabetic rats and the possible modulatory role of PBPi in the management of streptozotocin-induced diabetes. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Medicinal Plants and Diabetes)
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Open AccessArticle Antioxidant and Cytoprotective Effects of Tibetan Tea and Its Phenolic Components
Molecules 2018, 23(2), 179; doi:10.3390/molecules23020179
Received: 6 December 2017 / Revised: 22 January 2018 / Accepted: 23 January 2018 / Published: 24 January 2018
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Abstract
Tibetan tea (Kangzhuan) is an essential beverage of the Tibetan people. In this study, a lyophilized aqueous extract of Tibetan tea (LATT) was prepared and analyzed by HPLC. The results suggested that there were at least five phenolic components, including gallic
[...] Read more.
Tibetan tea (Kangzhuan) is an essential beverage of the Tibetan people. In this study, a lyophilized aqueous extract of Tibetan tea (LATT) was prepared and analyzed by HPLC. The results suggested that there were at least five phenolic components, including gallic acid, and four catechins (i.e., (+)-catechin, (−)-catechin gallate (CG), (−)-epicatechin gallate (ECG), and (−)-epigallocatechin gallate). Gallic acid, the four catechins, and LATT were then comparatively investigated by four antioxidant assays: ferric reducing antioxidant power, 2-phenyl-4,4,5,5-tetramethylimidazoline-1-oxyl 3-oxide radical (PTIO•) scavenging, 1,1-diphenyl-2-picryl-hydrazl radical scavenging, and 2,2′-azino-bis(3-ethylbenzo-thiazoline-6-sulfonic acid) radical scavenging assays. In these assays, LATT, along with the five phenolic components, increased their antioxidant effects in a concentration-dependent manner; however, the half maximal scavenging concentrations of ECG were always lower than those of CG. Gallic acid and the four catechins were also suggested to chelate Fe2+ based on UV-visible spectral analysis. Ultra-performance liquid chromatography coupled with electrospray ionization quadrupole time-of-flight tandem mass spectrometry (UPLC−ESI−Q−TOF−MS/MS) analysis suggested that, when mixed with PTIO•, the five phenolic components could yield two types of radical adduct formation (RAF) products (i.e., tea phenolic dimers and tea phenolic-PTIO• adducts). In a flow cytometry assay, (+)-catechin and LATT was observed to have a cytoprotective effect towards oxidative-stressed bone marrow-derived mesenchymal stem cells. Based on this evidence, we concluded that LATT possesses antioxidative or cytoprotective properties. These effects may mainly be attributed to the presence of phenolic components, including gallic acid and the four catechins. These phenolic components may undergo electron transfer, H+-transfer, and Fe2+-chelating pathways to exhibit antioxidative or cytoprotective effects. In these effects, two diastereoisomeric CG and ECG showed differences to which a steric effect from the 2-carbon may contribute. Phenolic component decay may cause RAF in the antioxidant process. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Catechin in Human Health and Disease)
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Open AccessArticle The Integrative Method Based on the Module-Network for Identifying Driver Genes in Cancer Subtypes
Molecules 2018, 23(2), 183; doi:10.3390/molecules23020183
Received: 7 November 2017 / Revised: 29 December 2017 / Accepted: 8 January 2018 / Published: 24 January 2018
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Abstract
With advances in next-generation sequencing(NGS) technologies, a large number of multiple types of high-throughput genomics data are available. A great challenge in exploring cancer progression is to identify the driver genes from the variant genes by analyzing and integrating multi-types genomics data. Breast
[...] Read more.
With advances in next-generation sequencing(NGS) technologies, a large number of multiple types of high-throughput genomics data are available. A great challenge in exploring cancer progression is to identify the driver genes from the variant genes by analyzing and integrating multi-types genomics data. Breast cancer is known as a heterogeneous disease. The identification of subtype-specific driver genes is critical to guide the diagnosis, assessment of prognosis and treatment of breast cancer. We developed an integrated frame based on gene expression profiles and copy number variation (CNV) data to identify breast cancer subtype-specific driver genes. In this frame, we employed statistical machine-learning method to select gene subsets and utilized an module-network analysis method to identify potential candidate driver genes. The final subtype-specific driver genes were acquired by paired-wise comparison in subtypes. To validate specificity of the driver genes, the gene expression data of these genes were applied to classify the patient samples with 10-fold cross validation and the enrichment analysis were also conducted on the identified driver genes. The experimental results show that the proposed integrative method can identify the potential driver genes and the classifier with these genes acquired better performance than with genes identified by other methods. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Jasmonate-Elicited Stress Induces Metabolic Change in the Leaves of Leucaena leucocephala
Molecules 2018, 23(2), 188; doi:10.3390/molecules23020188
Received: 30 December 2017 / Revised: 13 January 2018 / Accepted: 16 January 2018 / Published: 24 January 2018
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Abstract
The plant Leucaena leucocephala was exposed to four jasmonate elicitors, i.e., jasmonic acid (JA), methyl jasmonic acid (MeJA), jasmonoyl-l-isoleucine (JA-Ile) and 6-ethyl indanoyl glycine conjugate (2-[(6-ethyl-1-oxo-indane-4-carbonyl)-amino]-acetic acid methyl ester) (CGM). The treatment was to mimic the herbivores and wounding stresses. By
[...] Read more.
The plant Leucaena leucocephala was exposed to four jasmonate elicitors, i.e., jasmonic acid (JA), methyl jasmonic acid (MeJA), jasmonoyl-l-isoleucine (JA-Ile) and 6-ethyl indanoyl glycine conjugate (2-[(6-ethyl-1-oxo-indane-4-carbonyl)-amino]-acetic acid methyl ester) (CGM). The treatment was to mimic the herbivores and wounding stresses. By using NMR spectroscopy along with chemometric analysis, including principal component analysis (PCA) and partial least squares discriminant analysis (PLS-DA), the changes of metabolites in the leaves of L. leucocephala were determined under the stress as induced by the four elicitors. The challenge of JA-Ile caused an accumulation of lactic acid (6), β-glucose (10), alanine (12), threonine (13), steroids (18), 3,4-dihydroxypyridine (19) and an unidentified compound 20. The chemometric analysis of the PCA and PLS-DA models indicated that the alternation of metabolites triggered by JA, MeJA, and CGM treatments were very minimum. In contrast, the treatment by JA-Ile could induce the most significant metabolic changes in the leaves. Moreover, there was very minimal new metabolite being detected in responding to the jasmonate-induced stresses. The results showed some metabolite concentrations changed after application of the elicitors, which may be related to a high level of tolerance to stress conditions as well as the strong ecological suitability of L. leucocephala. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Metabolites)
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Open AccessArticle Genome-Wide Identification and Comparative Analysis of the 3-Hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl Coenzyme A Reductase (HMGR) Gene Family in Gossypium
Molecules 2018, 23(2), 193; doi:10.3390/molecules23020193
Received: 13 December 2017 / Revised: 19 January 2018 / Accepted: 21 January 2018 / Published: 24 January 2018
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Abstract
Terpenes are the largest and most diverse class of secondary metabolites in plants and play a very important role in plant adaptation to environment. 3-Hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl coenzyme A reductase (HMGR) is a rate-limiting enzyme in the process of terpene biosynthesis in the cytosol. Previous
[...] Read more.
Terpenes are the largest and most diverse class of secondary metabolites in plants and play a very important role in plant adaptation to environment. 3-Hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl coenzyme A reductase (HMGR) is a rate-limiting enzyme in the process of terpene biosynthesis in the cytosol. Previous study found the HMGR genes underwent gene expansion in Gossypium raimondii, but the characteristics and evolution of the HMGR gene family in Gossypium genus are unclear. In this study, genome-wide identification and comparative study of HMGR gene family were carried out in three Gossypium species with genome sequences, i.e., G. raimondii, Gossypium arboreum, and Gossypium hirsutum. In total, nine, nine and 18 HMGR genes were identified in G. raimondii, G. arboreum, and G. hirsutum, respectively. The results indicated that the HMGR genes underwent gene expansion and a unique gene cluster containing four HMGR genes was found in all the three Gossypium species. The phylogenetic analysis suggested that the expansion of HMGR genes had occurred in their common ancestor. There was a pseudogene that had a 10-bp deletion resulting in a frameshift mutation and could not be translated into functional proteins in G. arboreum and the A-subgenome of G. hirsutum. The expression profiles of the two pseudogenes showed that they had tissue-specific expression. Additionally, the expression pattern of the pseudogene in the A-subgenome of G. hirsutum was similar to its paralogous gene in the D-subgenome of G. hirsutum. Our results provide useful information for understanding cytosolic terpene biosynthesis in Gossypium species. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Quercetin Suppresses CYR61-Mediated Multidrug Resistance in Human Gastric Adenocarcinoma AGS Cells
Molecules 2018, 23(2), 209; doi:10.3390/molecules23020209
Received: 20 December 2017 / Revised: 20 January 2018 / Accepted: 24 January 2018 / Published: 24 January 2018
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Abstract
Cysteine-rich angiogenic inducer 61 (CYR61) is an extracellular matrix-associated protein involved in survival, tumorigenesis, and drug resistance. Therefore, we examined the effects of flavones against CYR61-overexpressing human gastric adenocarcinoma AGS (AGS-cyr61) cells, which show remarkable resistance to 5-fluorouracil (5-FU), adriamycin (ADR), tamoxifen (TAM),
[...] Read more.
Cysteine-rich angiogenic inducer 61 (CYR61) is an extracellular matrix-associated protein involved in survival, tumorigenesis, and drug resistance. Therefore, we examined the effects of flavones against CYR61-overexpressing human gastric adenocarcinoma AGS (AGS-cyr61) cells, which show remarkable resistance to 5-fluorouracil (5-FU), adriamycin (ADR), tamoxifen (TAM), paclitaxel (PAC), and docetaxel (DOC). Among the tested flavones, quercetin had the lowest 50% inhibitory concentration (IC50) and significantly reduced the viability of AGS-cyr61 cells compared with AGS cells. Quercetin: (1) reduced multidrug resistance-associated protein 1 and nuclear factor (NF)-kappa B p65 subunit levels; (2) reversed multidrug resistance (MDR); (3) inhibited colony formation and induced caspase-dependent apoptosis; and (4) suppressed migration and down-regulated epithelial–mesenchymal transition-related proteins in AGS-cyr61. Moreover, AGS-cyr61 cells treated with quercetin concentrations close to the IC50 and simultaneously treated with 5-FU or ADR in the sub-lethal range showed strong synergism between quercetin and these two drugs. These findings indicate that CYR61 is a potential regulator of drug resistance and that quercetin may be a novel agent for improving the efficacy of anticancer drugs in AGS-cyr61 cells. Full article
(This article belongs to the collection Herbal Medicine Research)
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Open AccessArticle Informing Efforts to Develop Nitroreductase for Amine Production
Molecules 2018, 23(2), 211; doi:10.3390/molecules23020211
Received: 10 December 2017 / Revised: 3 January 2018 / Accepted: 12 January 2018 / Published: 24 January 2018
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Abstract
Nitroreductases (NRs) hold promise for converting nitroaromatics to aromatic amines. Nitroaromatic reduction rate increases with Hammett substituent constant for NRs from two different subgroups, confirming substrate identity as a key determinant of reactivity. Amine yields were low, but compounds yielding amines tend to
[...] Read more.
Nitroreductases (NRs) hold promise for converting nitroaromatics to aromatic amines. Nitroaromatic reduction rate increases with Hammett substituent constant for NRs from two different subgroups, confirming substrate identity as a key determinant of reactivity. Amine yields were low, but compounds yielding amines tend to have a large π system and electron withdrawing substituents. Therefore, we also assessed the prospects of varying the enzyme. Several different subgroups of NRs include members able to produce aromatic amines. Comparison of four NR subgroups shows that they provide contrasting substrate binding cavities with distinct constraints on substrate position relative to the flavin. The unique architecture of the NR dimer produces an enormous contact area which we propose provides the stabilization needed to offset the costs of insertion of the active sites between the monomers. Thus, we propose that the functional diversity included in the NR superfamily stems from the chemical versatility of the flavin cofactor in conjunction with a structure that permits tremendous active site variability. These complementary properties make NRs exceptionally promising enzymes for development for biocatalysis in prodrug activation and conversion of nitroaromatics to valuable aromatic amines. We provide a framework for identifying NRs and substrates with the greatest potential to advance. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Flavoenzymes)
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Open AccessArticle Synthesis and Optical Properties of Near-Infrared meso-Phenyl-Substituted Symmetric Heptamethine Cyanine Dyes
Molecules 2018, 23(2), 226; doi:10.3390/molecules23020226
Received: 27 November 2017 / Revised: 18 January 2018 / Accepted: 20 January 2018 / Published: 24 January 2018
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Abstract
Heptamethine cyanine dyes are a class of near infrared fluorescence (NIRF) probes of great interest in bioanalytical and imaging applications due to their modifiability, allowing them to be tailored for particular applications. Generally, modifications at the meso-position of these dyes are achieved
[...] Read more.
Heptamethine cyanine dyes are a class of near infrared fluorescence (NIRF) probes of great interest in bioanalytical and imaging applications due to their modifiability, allowing them to be tailored for particular applications. Generally, modifications at the meso-position of these dyes are achieved through Suzuki-Miyaura C-C coupling and SRN1 nucleophilic substitution of the chlorine atom at the meso-position of the dye. Herein, a series of 15 meso phenyl-substituted heptamethine cyanines was synthesized utilizing a modified dianil linker. Their optical properties, including molar absorptivity, fluorescence, Stokes shift, and quantum yield were measured. The HSA binding affinities of two representative compounds were measured and compared to that of a series of trimethine cyanines previously synthesized by our lab. The results indicate that the binding of these compounds to HSA is not only dependent on hydrophobicity, but may also be dependent on steric interferences in the binding site and structural dynamics of the NIRF compounds. Full article
(This article belongs to the collection Heterocyclic Compounds)
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle Accurate Estimation of the Standard Binding Free Energy of Netropsin with DNA
Molecules 2018, 23(2), 228; doi:10.3390/molecules23020228
Received: 23 December 2017 / Revised: 14 January 2018 / Accepted: 19 January 2018 / Published: 25 January 2018
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Abstract
DNA is the target of chemical compounds (drugs, pollutants, photosensitizers, etc.), which bind through non-covalent interactions. Depending on their structure and their chemical properties, DNA binders can associate to the minor or to the major groove of double-stranded DNA. They can also intercalate
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DNA is the target of chemical compounds (drugs, pollutants, photosensitizers, etc.), which bind through non-covalent interactions. Depending on their structure and their chemical properties, DNA binders can associate to the minor or to the major groove of double-stranded DNA. They can also intercalate between two adjacent base pairs, or even replace one or two base pairs within the DNA double helix. The subsequent biological effects are strongly dependent on the architecture of the binding motif. Discriminating between the different binding patterns is of paramount importance to predict and rationalize the effect of a given compound on DNA. The structural characterization of DNA complexes remains, however, cumbersome at the experimental level. In this contribution, we employed all-atom molecular dynamics simulations to determine the standard binding free energy of DNA with netropsin, a well-characterized antiviral and antimicrobial drug, which associates to the minor groove of double-stranded DNA. To overcome the sampling limitations of classical molecular dynamics simulations, which cannot capture the large change in configurational entropy that accompanies binding, we resort to a series of potentials of mean force calculations involving a set of geometrical restraints acting on collective variables. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Frontiers in Computational Chemistry for Drug Discovery)
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle Nano/Mesoporous Carbon from Rice Starch for Voltammetric Detection of Ascorbic Acid
Molecules 2018, 23(2), 234; doi:10.3390/molecules23020234
Received: 7 December 2017 / Revised: 22 January 2018 / Accepted: 24 January 2018 / Published: 25 January 2018
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Abstract
Rice starch (RS-)based nano/mesoporous carbon (RSNMC) was prepared via a hard-templating route using cheap rice starch as a carbon source. XRD and TEM characterization indicated the formation of organized nanoporous RSNMC. Nitrogen absorption–desorption studies revealed a high surface area of up to 488
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Rice starch (RS-)based nano/mesoporous carbon (RSNMC) was prepared via a hard-templating route using cheap rice starch as a carbon source. XRD and TEM characterization indicated the formation of organized nanoporous RSNMC. Nitrogen absorption–desorption studies revealed a high surface area of up to 488 m2∙g−1, uniform pore size of 3.92 nm, and pore volume of 1.14 cm3∙g−1. A RSNMC-modified glassy carbon (GC) electrode was employed for the determination of ascorbic acid (AA) and exhibited a linear response in the concentration range of 0.005–6.0 mM with a detection limit of 0.003 mM. These results demonstrate that RSNMC has potential as an advanced and cheap electrode material for electrochemical sensing and other electrocatalytic applications. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Functional Molecular Materials)
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Open AccessArticle Immunomodulatory Effect of Tremella Polysaccharides against Cyclophosphamide-Induced Immunosuppression in Mice
Molecules 2018, 23(2), 239; doi:10.3390/molecules23020239
Received: 25 December 2017 / Revised: 23 January 2018 / Accepted: 24 January 2018 / Published: 25 January 2018
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Abstract
Polysaccharides are closely associated with immune regulation, but there are different polysaccharide effects from different sources. In this study, the aim was to investigate the effect of tremella polysaccharides (TP) in cyclophosphamide-induced immunodeficient mice. We observed the thymus and spleen index, liver and
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Polysaccharides are closely associated with immune regulation, but there are different polysaccharide effects from different sources. In this study, the aim was to investigate the effect of tremella polysaccharides (TP) in cyclophosphamide-induced immunodeficient mice. We observed the thymus and spleen index, liver and spleen pathological changes, and the levels of IL-2, IL-12, INF-γ, TGF-β and Ig G in serum, and we also noted the mRNA expression of IL-1β, IL-4, IL-12 and TGF-β in liver and spleen. Besides, we also measured the best effects of different doses of TP (Low-TP was 20 mg/kg·BW, Middle-TP was 40 mg/kg·BW, and High-TP was 80 mg/kg·BW) on cyclophosphamide-induced immunosuppressed mice. The results were remarkable, and suggested that TP had a significant effect for enhancing immunity in cyclophosphamide-induced immunosuppression, and the immune enhancement of High-TP had the best results in TP-treated mice. It could significantly increase the thymus and spleen index, alleviate pathological features of immunosuppression such as the arrangement of liver sinusoid and hepatic plates was disordered, massive inflammatory cells infiltrated and fatty degeneration of hepatocytes in liver, and red pulp and white pulp were intermixed, splenic corpuscles demolished and disappeared, splenic sinusoid extended, and lymphocytes of spleen were reduced in spleen. Besides, it could also up-regulate serum levels of IL-2, IL-12, INF-γ and Ig G, reduce the level of TGF-β in serum, markedly promote mRNA expression of IL-1β, IL-4 and IL-12 in liver and spleen, and suppress mRNA expression of TGF-β. Above all, TP showed preventive effect for cyclophosphamide-induced immunosuppressed mice. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Anti-Tumor and Radiosensitization Effects of N-Butylidenephthalide on Human Breast Cancer Cells
Molecules 2018, 23(2), 240; doi:10.3390/molecules23020240
Received: 13 November 2017 / Revised: 23 January 2018 / Accepted: 24 January 2018 / Published: 25 January 2018
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Abstract
N-Butylidenephthalide (BP), which is extracted from a traditional Chinese medicine, Radix Angelica Sinensis (danggui), displays antitumor activity against various cancer cell lines. The purpose of this study was to investigate the cytotoxic and radiosensitizing effect of BP and the underlying
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N-Butylidenephthalide (BP), which is extracted from a traditional Chinese medicine, Radix Angelica Sinensis (danggui), displays antitumor activity against various cancer cell lines. The purpose of this study was to investigate the cytotoxic and radiosensitizing effect of BP and the underlying mechanism of action in human breast cancer cells. BP induces apoptosis in breast cancer cells, which was revealed by the TUNEL assay; the activation of caspase-9 and PARP was detected by western blot. In addition, BP-induced G2/M arrest was examined by flow cytometry and the expression levels of the G2/M regulatory protein were detected by western blot. BP also suppresses the migration and invasion of breast cancer cells, which was tested by wound healing and the matrigel invasion assay; the involvement of EMT-related gene expressions was detected by real-time PCR. Furthermore, BP enhanced the radiosensitivity of breast cancer cells, which was measured by the colony formation assay and comet assay, where the foci of γ-H2AX after radiation significantly increased in BP pretreated cells and was evidenced by immunocytochemistry staining and western blot. The homologous recombination (HR) repair protein Rad51 was down-regulated after BP pretreatment. These results indicate that BP might be a potential chemotherapeutic and radiosensitizing agent for breast cancer therapy. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Natural Products: Anticancer Potential and Beyond)
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Open AccessArticle Multispecies Adulteration Detection of Camellia Oil by Chemical Markers
Molecules 2018, 23(2), 241; doi:10.3390/molecules23020241
Received: 11 December 2017 / Revised: 22 January 2018 / Accepted: 24 January 2018 / Published: 25 January 2018
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Abstract
Adulteration of edible oils has attracted attention from more researchers and consumers in recent years. Complex multispecies adulteration is a commonly used strategy to mask the traditional adulteration detection methods. Most of the researchers were only concerned about single targeted adulterants, however, it
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Adulteration of edible oils has attracted attention from more researchers and consumers in recent years. Complex multispecies adulteration is a commonly used strategy to mask the traditional adulteration detection methods. Most of the researchers were only concerned about single targeted adulterants, however, it was difficult to identify complex multispecies adulteration or untargeted adulterants. To detect adulteration of edible oil, identification of characteristic markers of adulterants was proposed to be an effective method, which could provide a solution for multispecies adulteration detection. In this study, a simple method of multispecies adulteration detection for camellia oil (adulterated with soybean oil, peanut oil, rapeseed oil) was developed by quantifying chemical markers including four isoflavones, trans-resveratrol and sinapic acid, which used liquid chromatography tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS) combined with solid phase extraction (SPE). In commercial camellia oil, only two of them were detected of daidzin with the average content of 0.06 ng/g while other markers were absent. The developed method was highly sensitive as the limits of detection (LODs) ranged from 0.02 ng/mL to 0.16 ng/mL and the mean recoveries ranged from 79.7% to 113.5%, indicating that this method was reliable to detect potential characteristic markers in edible oils. Six target compounds for pure camellia oils, soybean oils, peanut oils and rapeseed oils had been analyzed to get the results. The validation results indicated that this simple and rapid method was successfully employed to determine multispecies adulteration of camellia oil adulterated with soybean, peanut and rapeseed oils. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Analytical Chemistry)
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Open AccessArticle Study of the Direct Red 81 Dye/Copper(II)-Phenanthroline System
Molecules 2018, 23(2), 242; doi:10.3390/molecules23020242
Received: 7 December 2017 / Revised: 14 January 2018 / Accepted: 16 January 2018 / Published: 25 January 2018
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Abstract
Recovered papers contain several chromophores, such as wood lignin and dyes. These have to be eliminated during paper recycling in order to produce white paper. Hydrogen peroxide under alkaline conditions is generally used to decolorize lignin, but its effect on dyes is limited.
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Recovered papers contain several chromophores, such as wood lignin and dyes. These have to be eliminated during paper recycling in order to produce white paper. Hydrogen peroxide under alkaline conditions is generally used to decolorize lignin, but its effect on dyes is limited. Copper(II)-phenanthroline (Cu-Phen) complexes can activate the oxidation of lignin by hydrogen peroxide. Hydrogen peroxide may also be activated during recycled fiber bleaching, thus enhancing its color-stripping efficiency towards unoxidizable azo dyes. The purpose of this paper was to determine the effect of Cu-Phen complexes on a model azo dye, Direct Red 81 (DR81), in aqueous solution. Different Cu-Phen solutions (with different initial Cu:Phen molar ratios) were prepared and mixed with the dye at different pHs. The geochemical computer program PHREEQC allowed precise calculation of the theoretical distribution between different possible coordinates (CuPhenOH+, Cu(Phen)22+, CuPhen(OH)2, Cu(Phen)32+, etc.) depending on pH and initial concentrations. UV-vis spectroscopic measurements were correlated with the major species theoretically present in each condition. The UV absorbance of the system was mainly attributed to the Cu-Phen complex and the visible absorbance was only due to the dye. Cu-Phen appeared to reduce the color intensity of the DR81 dye aqueous solution under specific conditions (more effective at pH 10.7 with Cu:Phen = 1:1), probably owing to the occurrence of a coordination phenomenon between DR81 and Cu-Phen. Hence, the ligand competition between phenanthroline and hydroxide ions would be disturbed by a third competitor, which is the dye molecule. Further investigation proved that the DR81 dye is able to form a complex with copper-phenanthroline, leading to partial color-stripping. This new “color-stripping effect” may be a new opportunity in paper and textile industries for wastewater treatment. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Green Chemistry)
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Open AccessArticle HPLC-PDA Combined with Chemometrics for Quantitation of Active Components and Quality Assessment of Raw and Processed Fruits of Xanthium strumarium L.
Molecules 2018, 23(2), 243; doi:10.3390/molecules23020243
Received: 22 December 2017 / Revised: 17 January 2018 / Accepted: 24 January 2018 / Published: 25 January 2018
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Abstract
As a valuable herbal medicine, the fruits of Xanthium strumarium L. (Xanthii Fructus) have been widely used in raw and processed forms to achieve different therapeutic effects in practice. In this study, a comprehensive strategy was proposed for evaluating the active components in
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As a valuable herbal medicine, the fruits of Xanthium strumarium L. (Xanthii Fructus) have been widely used in raw and processed forms to achieve different therapeutic effects in practice. In this study, a comprehensive strategy was proposed for evaluating the active components in 30 batches of raw and processed Xanthii Fructus (RXF and PXF) samples, based on high-performance liquid chromatography coupled with photodiode array detection (HPLC-PDA). Twelve common peaks were detected and eight compounds of caffeoylquinic acids were simultaneously quantified in RXF and PXF. All the analytes were detected with satisfactory linearity (R2 > 0.9991) over wide concentration ranges. Simultaneously, the chemically latent information was revealed by hierarchical cluster analysis (HCA) and principal component analysis (PCA). The results suggest that there were significant differences between RXF and PXF from different regions in terms of the content of eight caffeoylquinic acids. Potential chemical markers for XF were found during processing by chemometrics. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Complete Chloroplast Genome Sequence and Phylogenetic Analysis of Paeonia ostii
Molecules 2018, 23(2), 246; doi:10.3390/molecules23020246
Received: 22 December 2017 / Revised: 20 January 2018 / Accepted: 24 January 2018 / Published: 26 January 2018
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Abstract
Paeonia ostii, a common oil-tree peony, is important ornamentally and medicinally. However, there are few studies on the chloroplast genome of Paeonia ostii. We sequenced and analyzed the complete chloroplast genome of P. ostii. The size of the P. ostii
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Paeonia ostii, a common oil-tree peony, is important ornamentally and medicinally. However, there are few studies on the chloroplast genome of Paeonia ostii. We sequenced and analyzed the complete chloroplast genome of P. ostii. The size of the P. ostii chloroplast genome is 152,153 bp, including a large single-copy region (85,373 bp), a small single-copy region (17,054 bp), and a pair of inverted repeats regions (24,863 bp). The P. ostii chloroplast genome encodes 111 genes, including 77 protein-coding genes, four ribosomal RNA genes, and 30 transfer RNA genes. The genome contains forward repeats (22), palindromic repeats (28), and tandem repeats (24). The presence of rich simple-sequence repeat loci in the genome provides opportunities for future population genetics work for breeding new varieties. A phylogenetic analysis showed that P. ostii is more closely related to Paeonia delavayi and Paeonia ludlowii than to Paeonia obovata and Paeonia veitchii. The results of this study provide an assembly of the whole chloroplast genome of P. ostii, which may be useful for future breeding and further biological discoveries. It will provide a theoretical basis for the improvement of peony yield and the determination of phylogenetic status. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Effect of Temperature on Flavor Compounds and Sensory Characteristics of Maillard Reaction Products Derived from Mushroom Hydrolysate
Molecules 2018, 23(2), 247; doi:10.3390/molecules23020247
Received: 3 January 2018 / Revised: 20 January 2018 / Accepted: 25 January 2018 / Published: 26 January 2018
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Abstract
Maillard reaction products (MRPs) were prepared from mushroom hydrolysate (MH) by heating with d-xylose and l-cysteine at various temperatures (100 °C–140 °C) for 2 h at a pH of 7.4. The sensory characteristics of MH and MRPs were evaluated by panelists
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Maillard reaction products (MRPs) were prepared from mushroom hydrolysate (MH) by heating with d-xylose and l-cysteine at various temperatures (100 °C–140 °C) for 2 h at a pH of 7.4. The sensory characteristics of MH and MRPs were evaluated by panelists and volatile compounds were analyzed by GC/MS. Additionally, partial least squares regression (PLSR) was performed to analyze the correlation between quantitative sensory characteristics and GC/MS data. GC/MS results revealed that higher reaction temperature resulted in more nitrogen and sulfur containing compounds in MRPs while alcohols, ketones and aldehydes were the major flavor compounds obtained in MH. PLSR results showed that 3-phenylfuran and 2-octylfuran were the compounds responsible for the caramel-like flavor; 1-octen-3-ol, (E)-2-octen-1-ol and geranyl acetone were significantly and positively correlated to mushroom-like flavor, whereas, 2-thiophene-carboxaldehyde, 2,5-thiophenedicarboxaldehyde and 3-methylbutanal positively affected MRPs meat-like attribute. Overall, 125 °C was identified as the optimal temperature for preparing MRPs with abundant volatile compounds and favorable sensory characteristics; the concentration of free amino acids and 5′-GMP, which are associated with the umami taste, in MRPs derived under 125 °C were 3 to 4 times higher than those in MH. Full article
(This article belongs to the collection Recent Advances in Flavors and Fragrances)
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Open AccessArticle Sesquiterpene Lactones from Vernonia cinerascens Sch. Bip. and Their in Vitro Antitrypanosomal Activity
Molecules 2018, 23(2), 248; doi:10.3390/molecules23020248
Received: 22 December 2017 / Revised: 24 January 2018 / Accepted: 26 January 2018 / Published: 27 January 2018
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Abstract
In the endeavor to obtain new antitrypanosomal agents, particularly sesquiterpene lactones, from Kenyan plants of the family Asteraceae, Vernonia cinerascens Sch. Bip. was investigated. Bioactivity-guided fractionation and isolation in conjunction with LC/MS-based dereplication has led to the identification of vernodalol (1)
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In the endeavor to obtain new antitrypanosomal agents, particularly sesquiterpene lactones, from Kenyan plants of the family Asteraceae, Vernonia cinerascens Sch. Bip. was investigated. Bioactivity-guided fractionation and isolation in conjunction with LC/MS-based dereplication has led to the identification of vernodalol (1) and isolation of vernodalin (2), 11β,13-dihydrovernodalin (3), 11β,13-dihydrovernolide (4), vernolide (5), 11β,13-dihydrohydroxyvernolide (6), hydroxyvernolide (7), and a new germacrolide type sesquiterpene lactone vernocinerascolide (8) from the dichloromethane extract of V. cinerascens leaves. Compounds 38 were characterized by extensive analysis of their 1D and 2D NMR spectroscopic and HR/MS spectrometric data. All the compounds were evaluated for their in vitro biological activity against bloodstream forms of Trypanosoma brucei rhodesiense and for cytotoxicity against the mammalian cell line L6. Vernodalin (2) was the most active compound with an IC50 value of 0.16 µM and a selectivity index of 35. Its closely related congener 11β,13-dihydrovernodalin (3) registered an IC50 value of 1.1 µM and a selectivity index of 4.2. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Interaction between Saikosaponin D, Paeoniflorin, and Human Serum Albumin
Molecules 2018, 23(2), 249; doi:10.3390/molecules23020249
Received: 23 December 2017 / Revised: 19 January 2018 / Accepted: 22 January 2018 / Published: 27 January 2018
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Abstract
Saikosaponin D (SSD) and paeoniflorin (PF) are the major active constituents of Bupleuri Radix and Paeonia lactiflora Pall, respectively, and have been widely used in China to treat liver and other diseases for many centuries. We explored the binding of SSD/PF to
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Saikosaponin D (SSD) and paeoniflorin (PF) are the major active constituents of Bupleuri Radix and Paeonia lactiflora Pall, respectively, and have been widely used in China to treat liver and other diseases for many centuries. We explored the binding of SSD/PF to human serum albumin (HSA) by using fluorospectrophotometry, circular dichroism (CD) and molecular docking. Both SSD and PF produced a conformational change in HSA. Fluorescence quenching was accompanied by a blue shift in the fluorescence spectra. Co-binding of PF and SSD also induced quenching and a conformational change in HSA. The Stern-Volmer equation showed that quenching was dominated by static quenching. The binding constant for ternary interaction was below that for binary interaction. Site-competitive experiments demonstrated that SSD/PF bound to site I (subdomain IIA) and site II (subdomain IIIA) in HSA. Analysis of thermodynamic parameters indicated that hydrogen bonding and van der Waals forces were mostly responsible for the binary association. Also, there was energy transfer upon binary interaction. Molecular docking supported the experimental findings in conformation, binding sites and binding forces. Full article
(This article belongs to the collection Herbal Medicine Research)
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Open AccessArticle Predicting the Effect of Single and Multiple Mutations on Protein Structural Stability
Molecules 2018, 23(2), 251; doi:10.3390/molecules23020251
Received: 24 December 2017 / Revised: 15 January 2018 / Accepted: 19 January 2018 / Published: 27 January 2018
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Abstract
Predicting how a point mutation alters a protein’s stability can guide pharmaceutical drug design initiatives which aim to counter the effects of serious diseases. Conducting mutagenesis studies in physical proteins can give insights about the effects of amino acid substitutions, but such wet-lab
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Predicting how a point mutation alters a protein’s stability can guide pharmaceutical drug design initiatives which aim to counter the effects of serious diseases. Conducting mutagenesis studies in physical proteins can give insights about the effects of amino acid substitutions, but such wet-lab work is prohibitive due to the time as well as financial resources needed to assess the effect of even a single amino acid substitution. Computational methods for predicting the effects of a mutation on a protein structure can complement wet-lab work, and varying approaches are available with promising accuracy rates. In this work we compare and assess the utility of several machine learning methods and their ability to predict the effects of single and double mutations. We in silico generate mutant protein structures, and compute several rigidity metrics for each of them. We use these as features for our Support Vector Regression (SVR), Random Forest (RF), and Deep Neural Network (DNN) methods. We validate the predictions of our in silico mutations against experimental Δ Δ G stability data, and attain Pearson Correlation values upwards of 0.71 for single mutations, and 0.81 for double mutations. We perform ablation studies to assess which features contribute most to a model’s success, and also introduce a voting scheme to synthesize a single prediction from the individual predictions of the three models. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Systematic Structure-Activity Relationship (SAR) Exploration of Diarylmethane Backbone and Discovery of A Highly Potent Novel Uric Acid Transporter 1 (URAT1) Inhibitor
Molecules 2018, 23(2), 252; doi:10.3390/molecules23020252
Received: 18 January 2018 / Revised: 25 January 2018 / Accepted: 26 January 2018 / Published: 27 January 2018
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Abstract
In order to systematically explore and better understand the structure-activity relationship (SAR) of a diarylmethane backbone in the design of potent uric acid transporter 1 (URAT1) inhibitors, 33 compounds (1a1x and 1ha1hi) were designed and synthesized, and
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In order to systematically explore and better understand the structure-activity relationship (SAR) of a diarylmethane backbone in the design of potent uric acid transporter 1 (URAT1) inhibitors, 33 compounds (1a1x and 1ha1hi) were designed and synthesized, and their in vitro URAT1 inhibitory activities (IC50) were determined. The three-round systematic SAR exploration led to the discovery of a highly potent novel URAT1 inhibitor, 1h, which was 200- and 8-fold more potent than parent lesinurad and benzbromarone, respectively (IC50 = 0.035 μM against human URAT1 for 1h vs. 7.18 μM and 0.28 μM for lesinurad and benzbromarone, respectively). Compound 1h is the most potent URAT1 inhibitor discovered in our laboratories so far and also comparable to the most potent ones currently under development in clinical trials. The present study demonstrates that the diarylmethane backbone represents a very promising molecular scaffold for the design of potent URAT1 inhibitors. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Medicinal Chemistry)
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Open AccessArticle N-Salicyloyltryptamine, an N-Benzoyltryptamine Analogue, Induces Vasorelaxation through Activation of the NO/sGC Pathway and Reduction of Calcium Influx
Molecules 2018, 23(2), 253; doi:10.3390/molecules23020253
Received: 20 December 2017 / Revised: 6 January 2018 / Accepted: 12 January 2018 / Published: 28 January 2018
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Abstract
Benzoyltryptamine analogues act as neuroprotective and spasmolytic agents on smooth muscles. In this study, we investigated the ability of N-salicyloyltryptamine (STP) to produce vasorelaxation and determined its underlying mechanisms of action. Isolated rat mesenteric arteries with and without functional endothelium were studied
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Benzoyltryptamine analogues act as neuroprotective and spasmolytic agents on smooth muscles. In this study, we investigated the ability of N-salicyloyltryptamine (STP) to produce vasorelaxation and determined its underlying mechanisms of action. Isolated rat mesenteric arteries with and without functional endothelium were studied in an isometric contraction system in the presence or absence of pharmacological inhibitors. Amperometric experiments were used to measure the nitric oxide (NO) levels in CD31+ cells using flow cytometry. GH3 cells were used to measure Ca2+ currents using the whole cell patch clamp technique. STP caused endothelium-dependent and -independent relaxation in mesenteric rings. The endothelial-dependent relaxations in response to STP were markedly reduced by L-NAME (endothelial NO synthase—eNOS—inhibitor), jHydroxocobalamin (NO scavenger, 30 µM) and ODQ (soluble Guanylyl Cyclase—sGC—inhibitor, 10 µM), but were not affected by the inhibition of the formation of vasoactive prostanoids. These results were reinforced by the increased NO levels observed in the amperometric experiments with freshly dispersed CD31+ cells. The endothelium-independent effect appeared to involve the inhibition of voltage-gated Ca2+ channels, due to the inhibition of the concentration-response Ca2+ curves in depolarizing solution, the increased relaxation in rings that were pre-incubated with high extracellular KCl (80 mM), and the inhibition of macroscopic Ca2+ currents. The present findings show that the activation of the NO/sGC/cGMP pathway and the inhibition of gated-voltage Ca2+ channels are the mechanisms underlying the effect of STP on mesenteric arteries. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Medicinal Chemistry)
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Open AccessArticle The Effect of Ultraviolet Irradiation on the Physicochemical Properties of Poly(vinyl Chloride) Films Containing Organotin(IV) Complexes as Photostabilizers
Molecules 2018, 23(2), 254; doi:10.3390/molecules23020254
Received: 3 January 2018 / Revised: 17 January 2018 / Accepted: 25 January 2018 / Published: 28 January 2018
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Abstract
Three organotin(IV) complexes containing ciprofloxacin as a ligand (Ph3SnL, Me2SnL2 and Bu2SnL2; 0.5% by weight) were used as additives to inhibit the photodegradation of polyvinyl chloride films (40 µm thickness) upon irradiation with ultraviolet
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Three organotin(IV) complexes containing ciprofloxacin as a ligand (Ph3SnL, Me2SnL2 and Bu2SnL2; 0.5% by weight) were used as additives to inhibit the photodegradation of polyvinyl chloride films (40 µm thickness) upon irradiation with ultraviolet light (λmax = 313 at a light intensity = 7.75 × 10−7 ein dm−3 S−1) at room temperature. The efficiency of organotin(IV) complexes as photostabilizers was determined by monitoring the changes in the weight, growth of specific functional groups (hydroxyl, carbonyl and carbene), viscosity, average molecular weight, chain scission and degree of deterioration of the polymeric films upon irradiation. The results obtained indicated that organotin(IV) complexes stabilized poly(vinyl chloride) and the dimethyltin(IV) complex was the most efficient additive. The surface morphologies of poly(vinyl chloride) films containing organotin(IV) complexes were examined using an atomic force microscope and scanning electron microscopy. These showed that the surface of polymeric films containing organotin(IV) complexes were smoother and less rough, compared to the surface of the blank films. Some mechanisms that explained the role of organotin(IV) complexes in poly(vinyl chloride) photostabilization process were proposed. Full article
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Open AccessCommunication Novel Topologically Complex Scaffold Derived from Alkaloid Haemanthamine
Molecules 2018, 23(2), 255; doi:10.3390/molecules23020255
Received: 8 January 2018 / Revised: 24 January 2018 / Accepted: 25 January 2018 / Published: 28 January 2018
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Abstract
The generation of natural product-like compound collections has become an important area of research due to low hit rates found with synthetic high-throughput libraries. One method of generating compounds occupying the areas of chemical space not accessible to synthetic planar heterocyclic structures is
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The generation of natural product-like compound collections has become an important area of research due to low hit rates found with synthetic high-throughput libraries. One method of generating compounds occupying the areas of chemical space not accessible to synthetic planar heterocyclic structures is the utilization of natural products as starting materials. In the current work, using a ring-closing iodoalkoxylation reaction, alkaloid haemanthamine was transformed into a unique structural framework possessing an intricate ring system and a large number of stereocenters. The structure of the new compound was confirmed with an X-ray analysis. A small number of derivatives of this new compound were synthesized as a demonstration of the possibility of generating a large natural product-like compound collection based on the new structural framework. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Structure-Activity Relationship of Natural Products 2018)
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Open AccessArticle Nigella damascena L. Essential Oil—A Valuable Source of β-Elemene for Antimicrobial Testing
Molecules 2018, 23(2), 256; doi:10.3390/molecules23020256
Received: 13 December 2017 / Revised: 24 January 2018 / Accepted: 26 January 2018 / Published: 28 January 2018
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Abstract
The most commonly used plant source of β-elemene is Curcuma wenyujin Y. H. Chen & C. Ling (syn. of Curcuma aromatic Salisb.) with its content in supercritical CO2 extract up to 27.83%. However, the other rich source of this compound is Nigella
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The most commonly used plant source of β-elemene is Curcuma wenyujin Y. H. Chen & C. Ling (syn. of Curcuma aromatic Salisb.) with its content in supercritical CO2 extract up to 27.83%. However, the other rich source of this compound is Nigella damascena L. essential oil, in which β-elemene accounts for 47%. In this work, the effective protocol for preparative isolation of β-elemene from a new source—N. damascena essential oil—using high performance counter-current chromatography HPCCC was elaborated. Furthermore, since sesquiterpens are known as potent antimicrobials, the need for finding new agents designed to combat multi-drug resistant strains was addressed and the purified target compound and the essential oil were tested for its activity against a panel of Gram-positive and Gram-negative bacteria, fungi, and mycobacterial strains. The application of the mixture of petroleum ether, acetonitrile, and acetone in the ratio 2:1.5:0.5 (v/v) in the reversed phase mode yielded β-elemene with high purity in 70 min. The results obtained for antimicrobial assay clearly indicated that N. damascena essential oil and isolated β-elemene exert action against Mycobacterium tuberculosis strain H37Ra. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Diversity of Terpenoids)
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle In Silico and in Vitro-Guided Identification of Inhibitors of Alkylquinolone-Dependent Quorum Sensing in Pseudomonas aeruginosa
Molecules 2018, 23(2), 257; doi:10.3390/molecules23020257
Received: 22 December 2017 / Revised: 20 January 2018 / Accepted: 20 January 2018 / Published: 28 January 2018
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Abstract
Pseudomonas aeruginosa is a major opportunistic pathogen in cystic fibrosis, wound and nosocomial infections, posing a serious burden to public health, due to its antibiotic resistance. The P. aeruginosa Pseudomonas Quinolone System (pqs) quorum sensing system, driven by the activation of
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Pseudomonas aeruginosa is a major opportunistic pathogen in cystic fibrosis, wound and nosocomial infections, posing a serious burden to public health, due to its antibiotic resistance. The P. aeruginosa Pseudomonas Quinolone System (pqs) quorum sensing system, driven by the activation of the transcriptional regulator, PqsR (MvfR) by alkylquinolone (AQ) signal molecules, is a key player in the regulation of virulence and a potential target for the development of novel antibacterial agents. In this study, we performed in silico docking analysis, coupled with screening using a P. aeruginosa mCTX::PpqsA-lux chromosomal promoter fusion, to identify a series of new PqsR antagonists. The hit compounds inhibited pyocyanin and alkylquinolone signal molecule production in P. aeruginosa PAO1-L and PA14 strains. The inhibitor Ia, which showed the highest activity in PA14, reduced biofilm formation in PAO1-L and PA14, increasing their sensitivity to tobramycin. Furthermore, the hepatic and plasma stabilities for these compounds were determined in both rat and human in vitro microsomal assays, to gain a further understanding of their therapeutic potential. This work has uncovered a new class of P. aeruginosa PqsR antagonists with potential for hit to lead optimisation in the search for quorum sensing inhibitors for future anti-infective drug discovery programs. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Design and Synthesis of Quorum-Sensing Inhibitors)
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Open AccessArticle Study of the Anti-Staphylococcal Potential of Honeys Produced in Northern Poland
Molecules 2018, 23(2), 260; doi:10.3390/molecules23020260
Received: 5 December 2017 / Revised: 25 January 2018 / Accepted: 26 January 2018 / Published: 28 January 2018
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Abstract
The antimicrobial activity of 144 samples of honeys including 95 products from apiaries located in Northern Poland was evaluated. The antibacterial activity of those natural products, their thermal stability, and activity in the presence of catalase was investigated by microdilution assays in titration
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The antimicrobial activity of 144 samples of honeys including 95 products from apiaries located in Northern Poland was evaluated. The antibacterial activity of those natural products, their thermal stability, and activity in the presence of catalase was investigated by microdilution assays in titration plates. The MTT assay was performed for the determination of anti-biofilm activity. Spectrophotometric assays were used for the determination of antioxidant potential, total phenolic content, and ability to generate hydrogen peroxide. Some of the investigated honeys exhibited surprisingly high antimicrobial, especially anti-staphylococcal, potential, with Minimal Inhibitory Concentration (MIC) values of only 1.56% (v/v). Much higher resistance was observed in the case of staphylococci growing as biofilms. Lower concentrations of the product, up to 12.5% (v/v) stimulated its growth and effective eradication of biofilm required concentration of at least 25% (v/v). Hydrogen peroxide has been identified as a crucial contributor to the antimicrobial activity of honeys supplied by Polish beekeepers. However, some of the results suggest that phytochemicals, especially polyphenols, play an important role depending on botanical source (both positive, e.g., in the case of buckwheat honeys as well as negative, e.g., in the case of some rapeseed honeys) in their antimicrobial potential. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Natural Products)
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Open AccessArticle Food-Grade Synthesis of Maillard-Type Taste Enhancers Using Natural Deep Eutectic Solvents (NADES)
Molecules 2018, 23(2), 261; doi:10.3390/molecules23020261
Received: 6 January 2018 / Revised: 22 January 2018 / Accepted: 27 January 2018 / Published: 28 January 2018
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Abstract
The increasing demand for healthier food products, with reduced levels of table salt, sugar, and mono sodium glutamate, reinforce the need for novel taste enhancers prepared by means of food-grade kitchen-type chemistry. Although several taste modulating compounds have been discovered in processed foods,
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The increasing demand for healthier food products, with reduced levels of table salt, sugar, and mono sodium glutamate, reinforce the need for novel taste enhancers prepared by means of food-grade kitchen-type chemistry. Although several taste modulating compounds have been discovered in processed foods, their Maillard-type ex food production is usually not exploited by industrial process reactions as the yields of target compounds typically do not exceed 1–2%. Natural deep eutectic solvents (NADES) are reported for the first time to significantly increase the yields of the taste enhancers 1-deoxy-d-fructosyl-N-β-alanyl-l-histidine (49% yield), N-(1-methyl-4-oxoimidazolidin-2-ylidene) aminopropionic acid (54% yield) and N2-(1-carboxyethyl) guanosine 5′-monophosphate (22% yield) at low temperature (80–100 °C) within a maximum reaction time of 2 h. Therefore, NADES open new avenues to a “next-generation culinary chemistry” overcoming the yield limitations of traditional Maillard chemistry approaches and enable a food-grade Maillard-type generation of flavor modulators. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Green Chemistry)
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Open AccessCommunication Analysis of Protein-Phenolic Compound Modifications Using Electrochemistry Coupled to Mass Spectrometry
Molecules 2018, 23(2), 264; doi:10.3390/molecules23020264
Received: 13 December 2017 / Revised: 18 January 2018 / Accepted: 24 January 2018 / Published: 29 January 2018
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Abstract
In the last decade, electrochemical oxidation coupled with mass spectrometry has been successfully used for the analysis of metabolic studies. The application focused in this study was to investigate the redox potential of different phenolic compounds such as the very prominent chlorogenic acid.
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In the last decade, electrochemical oxidation coupled with mass spectrometry has been successfully used for the analysis of metabolic studies. The application focused in this study was to investigate the redox potential of different phenolic compounds such as the very prominent chlorogenic acid. Further, EC/ESI-MS was used as preparation technique for analyzing adduct formation between electrochemically oxidized phenolic compounds and food proteins, e.g., alpha-lactalbumin or peptides derived from a tryptic digestion. In the first step of this approach, two reactant solutions are combined and mixed: one contains the solution of the digested protein, and the other contains the phenolic compound of interest, which was, prior to the mixing process, electrochemically transformed to several oxidation products using a boron-doped diamond working electrode. As a result, a Michael-type addition led to covalent binding of the activated phenolic compounds to reactive protein/peptide side chains. In a follow-up approach, the reaction mix was further separated chromatographically and finally detected using ESI-HRMS. Compound-specific, electrochemical oxidation of phenolic acids was performed successfully, and various oxidation and reaction products with proteins/peptides were observed. Further optimization of the reaction (conditions) is required, as well as structural elucidation concerning the final adducts, which can be phenolic compound oligomers, but even more interestingly, quite complex mixtures of proteins and oxidation products. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Protein Modifications and Bioconjugation)
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Open AccessArticle Effect of Melatonin on the Renin-Angiotensin-Aldosterone System in l-NAME-Induced Hypertension
Molecules 2018, 23(2), 265; doi:10.3390/molecules23020265
Received: 20 December 2017 / Revised: 15 January 2018 / Accepted: 25 January 2018 / Published: 29 January 2018
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Abstract
The renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system (RAAS) is a dominant player in several cardiovascular pathologies. This study investigated whether alterations induced by l-NAME, (NLG)-nitro-l-arginine methyl ester, a nitric oxide synthase inhibitor, and the protective effect of melatonin are associated with changes in the
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The renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system (RAAS) is a dominant player in several cardiovascular pathologies. This study investigated whether alterations induced by l-NAME, (NLG)-nitro-l-arginine methyl ester, a nitric oxide synthase inhibitor, and the protective effect of melatonin are associated with changes in the RAAS. Four groups of 3-month-old male Wistar rats (n = 10) were treated as follows for four weeks: untreated controls, rats treated with melatonin (10 mg/kg/day), rats treated with l-NAME (40 mg/kg/day), and rats treated with l-NAME + melatonin. l-NAME administration led to hypertension and left ventricular (LV) fibrosis in terms of enhancement of soluble, insoluble and total collagen concentration and content. Melatonin reduced systolic blood pressure enhancement and lowered the concentration and content of insoluble and total collagen in the LV. The serum concentration of angiotensin (Ang) 1–8 (Ang II) and its downstream metabolites were reduced in the l-NAME group and remained unaltered by melatonin. The serum aldosterone level and its ratio to Ang II (AA2-ratio) were increased in the l-NAME group without being modified by melatonin. We conclude that l-NAME-hypertension is associated with reduced level of Ang II and its downstream metabolites and increased aldosterone concentration and AA2-ratio. Melatonin exerts its protective effect in l-NAME-induced hypertension without affecting RAAS. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Synthesis, DNA Binding, and Anticancer Properties of Bis-Naphthalimide Derivatives with Lysine-Modified Polyamine Linkers
Molecules 2018, 23(2), 266; doi:10.3390/molecules23020266
Received: 28 December 2017 / Revised: 15 January 2018 / Accepted: 16 January 2018 / Published: 29 January 2018
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Abstract
A series of bis-naphthalimide derivatives with different diamine linkers were designed and synthesized. All of the synthesized bis-naphthalimide derivatives were characterized by NMR and HRMS spectra. The binding ability between the compounds and CT DNA was evaluated by using UV–Vis titration experiments. The
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A series of bis-naphthalimide derivatives with different diamine linkers were designed and synthesized. All of the synthesized bis-naphthalimide derivatives were characterized by NMR and HRMS spectra. The binding ability between the compounds and CT DNA was evaluated by using UV–Vis titration experiments. The bis-naphthalimide compound with an ethylenediamine linker showed the largest binding constant with CT DNA. Hence, it was used as the model compound to study the DNA binding selectivity by UV–Vis titration aiming at different DNA duplexes. As a result, this compound showed binding preference to AT-rich duplexes. The DNA binding modes of the compounds were also measured by viscosity titration. The cytotoxicity of the compounds was evaluated by MTT assay. Compounds with 1,6-diaminohexane or 1,4-phenylenedimethanamine linkers showed higher cytotoxicity compared with other bis-naphthalimide derivatives. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Isolation and Quantification of Ginsenoside Rh23, a New Anti-Melanogenic Compound from the Leaves of Panax ginseng
Molecules 2018, 23(2), 267; doi:10.3390/molecules23020267
Received: 28 November 2017 / Revised: 23 January 2018 / Accepted: 26 January 2018 / Published: 29 January 2018
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Abstract
A new ginsenoside, named ginsenoside Rh23 (1), and 20-O-β-d-glucopyranosyl-3β,6α,12β,20β,25-pentahydroxydammar-23-ene (2) were isolated from the leaves of hydroponic Panax ginseng. Compounds were isolated by various column chromatography and their structures were determined based on spectroscopic
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A new ginsenoside, named ginsenoside Rh23 (1), and 20-O-β-d-glucopyranosyl-3β,6α,12β,20β,25-pentahydroxydammar-23-ene (2) were isolated from the leaves of hydroponic Panax ginseng. Compounds were isolated by various column chromatography and their structures were determined based on spectroscopic methods, including high resolution quadrupole/time of flight mass spectrometry (HR-QTOF/MS), nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy, and infrared (IR) spectroscopy. To determine anti-melanogenic activity, the change in the melanin content in melan-a cells treated with identified compounds was tested. Additionally, we investigated the melanin inhibitory effects of ginsenoside Rh23 on pigmentation in a zebrafish in vivo model. Compound 1 inhibited potent melanogenesis in melan-a cells with 37.0% melanogenesis inhibition at 80 µM and also presented inhibition on the body pigmentation in zebrafish model. Although compound 2 showed slightly lower inhibitory activity than compound 1, it also showed significantly decreased melanogenesis in melan-a cell and in zebrafish model. These results indicated that compounds isolated from hydroponic P. ginseng may be used as new skin whitening compound through the in vitro and in vivo systems. Furthermore, this study demonstrated the utility of MS-based compound 1 for the quantitative analysis. Ginsenoside Rh23 (1) was found at a level of 0.31 mg/g in leaves of hydroponic P. ginseng. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biological Activity of Secondary Metabolites)
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Open AccessArticle Anticancer Efficacy of Targeted Shikonin Liposomes Modified with RGD in Breast Cancer Cells
Molecules 2018, 23(2), 268; doi:10.3390/molecules23020268
Received: 2 January 2018 / Revised: 22 January 2018 / Accepted: 26 January 2018 / Published: 29 January 2018
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Abstract
Shikonin (SHK) has been proven to have a good anti-tumor effect. However, poor water solubility and low bioavailability limit its wide application in clinical practice. In this study, to overcome these drawbacks, RGD-modified shikonin-loaded liposomes (RGD-SSLs-SHK) were successfully prepared. It exhibited excellent physicochemical
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Shikonin (SHK) has been proven to have a good anti-tumor effect. However, poor water solubility and low bioavailability limit its wide application in clinical practice. In this study, to overcome these drawbacks, RGD-modified shikonin-loaded liposomes (RGD-SSLs-SHK) were successfully prepared. It exhibited excellent physicochemical characteristics including particle size, zeta potential, encapsulation efficiency, and delayed release time. Meanwhile, the targeting activity of the RGD-modified liposomes was demonstrated by flow cytometry and confocal microscopy in the αvβ3-positive MDA-MB-231 cells. Besides exhibiting greater cytotoxicity in vitro, compared with non-targeted shikonin-loaded liposomes (SSLs-SHK), RGD-SSLs-SHK could also evidently induce apoptosis by decreasing the expression of Bcl-2 and increasing the expression of Bax. It could also inhibit cell proliferation, migration, invasion, and adhesion by reducing the expression of MMP-9 and the level of NF-κB p65, but did not affect the expression of MMP-2 in the MDA-MB-231 cells. Therefore, these findings indicated that the strategy to use RGD-modified liposomes as carriers for targeted delivery of shikonin is a very promising approach to achieve breast cancer targeted therapy. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Liposomes as Drug Carriers)
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Open AccessArticle Cloning, Expression Analysis and Functional Characterization of Squalene Synthase (SQS) from Tripterygium wilfordii
Molecules 2018, 23(2), 269; doi:10.3390/molecules23020269
Received: 4 January 2018 / Revised: 24 January 2018 / Accepted: 25 January 2018 / Published: 29 January 2018
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Abstract
Celastrol is an active triterpenoid compound derived from Tripterygium wilfordii which is well-known as a traditional Chinese medicinal plant. Squalene synthase has a vital role in condensing two molecules of farnesyl diphosphate to form squalene, a key precursor of triterpenoid biosynthesis. In the
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Celastrol is an active triterpenoid compound derived from Tripterygium wilfordii which is well-known as a traditional Chinese medicinal plant. Squalene synthase has a vital role in condensing two molecules of farnesyl diphosphate to form squalene, a key precursor of triterpenoid biosynthesis. In the present study, T. wilfordii squalene synthase (TwSQS) was cloned followed by prokaryotic expression and functional verification. The open reading frame cDNA of TwSQS was 1242 bp encoding 413 amino acids. Bioinformatic and phylogenetic analysis showed that TwSQS had high homology with other plant SQSs. To obtain soluble protein, the truncated TwSQS without the last 28 amino acids of the carboxy terminus was inductively expressed in Escherichia coli Transetta (DE3). The purified protein was detected by SDS-PAGE and Western blot analysis. Squalene was detected in the product of in vitro reactions by gas chromatograph-mass spectrometry, which meant that TwSQS did have catalytic activity. Organ-specific and inducible expression levels of TwSQS were detected by quantitative real-time PCR. The results indicated that TwSQS was highly expressed in roots, followed by the stems and leaves, and was significantly up-regulated upon MeJA treatment. The identification of TwSQS is important for further studies of celastrol biosynthesis in T. wilfordii. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Novel Strategies Using Total Gastrodin and Gastrodigenin, or Total Gastrodigenin for Quality Control of Gastrodia elata
Molecules 2018, 23(2), 270; doi:10.3390/molecules23020270
Received: 29 December 2017 / Revised: 21 January 2018 / Accepted: 27 January 2018 / Published: 29 January 2018
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Abstract
Gastrodia elata Blume (G. elata), a traditional Chinese medicine, is widely used for treatment of various neuro dysfunctions. However, its quality control is still limited to the determination of gastrodin. In the present study, two novel strategies based on quantitative evaluation
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Gastrodia elata Blume (G. elata), a traditional Chinese medicine, is widely used for treatment of various neuro dysfunctions. However, its quality control is still limited to the determination of gastrodin. In the present study, two novel strategies based on quantitative evaluation of total gastrodin and gastrodigenin with base hydrolysis and total gastrodigenin with base-enzymatic hydrolysis followed by HPLC-FLD were put forward and successfully applied to evaluate the quality of 47 batches of G. elata from eight localities. Meanwhile, a systematic comparison of the novel strategy with the multiple markers and the Pharmacopeia method was performed. The results showed that the parishins category could be completely hydrolyzed to gastrodin by sodium hydroxide solution, and gastrodin could further utterly hydrolyze to gastrodigenin with β-d-glucosidase buffer solution. The contents of total gastrodin and gastrodigenin ranged from 1.311% to 2.034%, and total gastrodigenin from 0.748% to 1.120% at the eight localities. From the comparison, we can conclude that the two novel strategies can comprehensively reveal the characteristics of overall active ingredients in G. elata for quality control. The present study provides a feasible and credible strategy for the quality control of G. elata, suggesting a revision of the latest Chinese Pharmacopoeia or European Pharmacopoeia methods for the modernization of G. elata use. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Natural Products)
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Open AccessArticle Chemical Constituents and Antioxidant, Anti-Inflammatory and Anti-Tumor Activities of Melilotus officinalis (Linn.) Pall
Molecules 2018, 23(2), 271; doi:10.3390/molecules23020271
Received: 25 December 2017 / Revised: 22 January 2018 / Accepted: 24 January 2018 / Published: 29 January 2018
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Abstract
Two new p-hydroxybenzoic acid glycosides, namely p-hydroxybenzoic acid-4-O-α-d-manopyranosyl-(1 → 3)-α-l-rhamnopyranoside (compound 1) and 4-O-α-l-rhamnopyran-osyl-(1 → 6)-α-d-manopyranosyl-(1 → 3)-α-l-rhamnopyranoside (compound 2), and seven known compounds, compound 3,
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Two new p-hydroxybenzoic acid glycosides, namely p-hydroxybenzoic acid-4-O-α-d-manopyranosyl-(1 → 3)-α-l-rhamnopyranoside (compound 1) and 4-O-α-l-rhamnopyran-osyl-(1 → 6)-α-d-manopyranosyl-(1 → 3)-α-l-rhamnopyranoside (compound 2), and seven known compounds, compound 3, 6, 7 (acid components), compound 8, 9 (flavonoids), compound 4 (a coumarin) and compound 5 (an alkaloid), were isolated from the 70% ethanol aqueous extract of the aerial parts of Melilotus officinalis (Linn.) Pall. The structures of all compounds were elucidated by use of extensive spectroscopic methods Infrared Spectroscopy (IR), High resolution electrospray ionization mass spectrometry (HR-ESI-MS), and 1H and 13C-NMR). Sugar residues obtained after acid hydrolysis were identified by high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC). The antioxidant activity of all the compounds was evaluated by 2,2′-azino-bis(3-ethylbenzothiazoline-6-sulfonic acid) (ABTS+) and 1,1-diphenyl-2-picrylhydrazyl (DPPH). The anti-inflammatory effects of the compounds were also evaluated in lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-stimulated RAW 264.7 macrophages. All compounds were shown to inhibit LPS-induced nitric oxide (NO) and prostaglandin E 2 (PGE 2) production by suppressing the expression of inducible NO synthase (iNOS) and cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2), respectively, in LPS-stimulated RAW 264.7 cells. The inhibitory effect of all the compounds on MCF-7 cells was determined by Cell Counting Kit-8 (CCK-8) method. The results showed that compounds 1, 2, 7, 8, 9 exhibited better antioxidant activity compared to the other compounds. compounds 19 had different inhibitory effects on the release of NO, TNF-α and IL-6 in LPS-stimulated RAW264.7 cells by LPS, of which compound 7 was the most effective against inflammatory factors. compounds 1 and 2 have better antitumor activity compared to other compounds. Further research to elucidate the chemical composition and pharmacological effects of Melilotus officinalis (Linn.) Pall is of major importance towards the development and foundation of clinical application of the species. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Natural Products)
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Open AccessArticle Evaluation of Melatonin Secretion and Metabolism Exponents in Patients with Ulcerative and Lymphocytic Colitis
Molecules 2018, 23(2), 272; doi:10.3390/molecules23020272
Received: 3 January 2018 / Revised: 21 January 2018 / Accepted: 26 January 2018 / Published: 29 January 2018
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Abstract
Inflammatory bowel diseases, particularly ulcerative colitis (UC) and lymphocytic colitis (LC), affect many people. The role of melatonin in the pathogenesis of UC is precisely determined, whereas in LC it remains unknown. The aim of this study was to compare the expression of
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Inflammatory bowel diseases, particularly ulcerative colitis (UC) and lymphocytic colitis (LC), affect many people. The role of melatonin in the pathogenesis of UC is precisely determined, whereas in LC it remains unknown. The aim of this study was to compare the expression of the melatonin-synthesizing enzymes tryptophan hydroxylase (TPH1), arylalkylamine-N-acetyltransferase (AANAT), and N-acetylserotonin methyltransferase (ASMT) in the colonic mucosa and urinary excretion of 6-sulfatoxymelatonin in patients with ulcerative and lymphocytic colitis. The study included 30 healthy subjects (group C), 30 patients with severe ulcerative colitis (group UC), and 30 patients with lymphocytic colitis (group LC). The diagnosis was based on endoscopic, histological, and laboratory examinations. Biopsy specimens were collected from right, transverse, and left parts of the colon. The levels of mRNA expression, TPH1, AANAT, and ASMT were estimated in the colonic mucosa with RT-PCR. The urine concentration of aMT6s was determined by the photometric method. The expression of TPH1, AANAT, and ASMT in colonic mucosa in UC and LC patients was significantly higher than in healthy subjects. Significant differences were found in the urinary aMT6s excretion: group C—13.4 ± 4.8 µg/24 h, group UC—7.8 ± 2.6 µg/24 h (p < 0.01), group LC—19.2 ± 6.1 µg/24 h (p < 0.01). Moreover, a negative correlation was found between fecal calprotectin and MT6s—in patients with UC − r = −0.888 and with LC − r = −0.658. These results indicate that patients with UC and those with LC may display high levels of melatonin-synthesizing enzymes in their colonic mucosa, which could possibly be related to increased melatonin synthesis as an adaptive antioxidant activity. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Preparation, Characterization and Catalytic Activity of Nickel Molybdate (NiMoO4) Nanoparticles
Molecules 2018, 23(2), 273; doi:10.3390/molecules23020273
Received: 13 January 2018 / Revised: 25 January 2018 / Accepted: 27 January 2018 / Published: 29 January 2018
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Abstract
Nickel molybdate (NiMoO4) nanoparticles were synthesized via calcination of an oxalate complex in static air at 500 °C. The oxalate complex was analyzed by thermal gravimetric analysis (TGA) and Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR). The as-synthesized nickel molybdate was characterized by
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Nickel molybdate (NiMoO4) nanoparticles were synthesized via calcination of an oxalate complex in static air at 500 °C. The oxalate complex was analyzed by thermal gravimetric analysis (TGA) and Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR). The as-synthesized nickel molybdate was characterized by Brunauer–Emmett–Teller technique (BET), X-ray diffraction (XRD), and transmission electron microscopy (TEM) and its catalytic efficiency was tested in the reduction reaction of the three-nitrophenol isomers. The nickel molybdate displays a very high activity in the catalytic reduction of the nitro functional group to an amino. The reduction progress was controlled using Ultraviolet-Visible (UV-Vis) absorption. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Rapid Characterization and Identification of Non-Diterpenoid Constituents in Tinospora sinensis by HPLC-LTQ-Orbitrap MSn
Molecules 2018, 23(2), 274; doi:10.3390/molecules23020274
Received: 12 December 2017 / Revised: 23 January 2018 / Accepted: 24 January 2018 / Published: 29 January 2018
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Abstract
Tinospora sinensis, a kind of Chinese folk medicine, has functions of harmonizing qi and blood, dredging the channels and collaterals, calming and soothing the nerves. In the present study, a method based on high-performance liquid chromatography coupled with linear ion trap-Orbitrap mass
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Tinospora sinensis, a kind of Chinese folk medicine, has functions of harmonizing qi and blood, dredging the channels and collaterals, calming and soothing the nerves. In the present study, a method based on high-performance liquid chromatography coupled with linear ion trap-Orbitrap mass spectrometry (HPLC-LTQ-Orbitrap) was developed for the systematical characterization of the non-diterpenoid constituents which possessed remarkable biological activities in T. sinensis, like anti-tumor, anti-inflammatory, hypoglycemic activity and immunomodulatory activity. Based on the accurate mass measurement (<5 ppm), retention times and MS fragmentation ions, 60 non-diterpenoid constituents were unambiguously or tentatively characterized from T. sinensis extract, including 27 alkaloids, 23 phenylpropanoids, seven sesquiterpenoids and three other constituents. Among them, 13 compounds were tentatively identified as new compounds. Finally, three of the non-diterpenoid constituents were purified and identified, which further confirmed the validity of the results. This study demonstrated that the HPLC-LTQ-Orbitrap MSn platform was a useful and efficient analytical tool to screen and identify constituents in natural medicine. Full article
(This article belongs to the collection Herbal Medicine Research)
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle Lipase-Produced Hydroxytyrosyl Eicosapentaenoate is an Excellent Antioxidant for the Stabilization of Omega-3 Bulk Oils, Emulsions and Microcapsules
Molecules 2018, 23(2), 275; doi:10.3390/molecules23020275
Received: 7 January 2018 / Revised: 26 January 2018 / Accepted: 27 January 2018 / Published: 29 January 2018
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Abstract
In this study, several lipophilic hydroxytyrosyl esters were prepared enzymatically using immobilized lipase from Candida antarctica B. Oxidation tests showed that these conjugates are excellent antioxidants in lipid-based matrices, with hydroxytyrosyl eicosapentaenoate showing the highest antioxidant activity. Hydroxytyrosyl eicosapentaenoate effectively stabilized bulk fish
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In this study, several lipophilic hydroxytyrosyl esters were prepared enzymatically using immobilized lipase from Candida antarctica B. Oxidation tests showed that these conjugates are excellent antioxidants in lipid-based matrices, with hydroxytyrosyl eicosapentaenoate showing the highest antioxidant activity. Hydroxytyrosyl eicosapentaenoate effectively stabilized bulk fish oil, fish-oil-in-water emulsions and microencapsulated fish oil. The stabilizing effect of this antioxidant may either be because it orients itself with the omega-3 fatty acids in the oil, thereby protecting them against oxidation, or because this unstable fatty acid can preferentially oxidise, thus providing an additional mechanism of antioxidant protection. Hydroxytyrosyl eicosapentaenoate itself was stable for one year when stored at −20 °C. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Lipases and Lipases Modification)
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Open AccessArticle Xylosylated Detoxification of the Rice Flavonoid Phytoalexin Sakuranetin by the Rice Sheath Blight Fungus Rhizoctonia solani
Molecules 2018, 23(2), 276; doi:10.3390/molecules23020276
Received: 13 December 2017 / Revised: 26 January 2018 / Accepted: 26 January 2018 / Published: 29 January 2018
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Abstract
Sakuranetin (1) is a rice flavanone-type phytoalexin. We have already reported that the metabolites from the detoxification of 1 by Pyricularia oryzae are naringenin (2) and sternbin. In this study, we investigated whether the rice sheath blight fungus Rhizoctonia
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Sakuranetin (1) is a rice flavanone-type phytoalexin. We have already reported that the metabolites from the detoxification of 1 by Pyricularia oryzae are naringenin (2) and sternbin. In this study, we investigated whether the rice sheath blight fungus Rhizoctonia solani, another major rice pathogen, can detoxify 1. The extract of R. solani suspension culture containing 1 was analyzed by LC-MS to identify the metabolites of 1. Three putative metabolites of 1 were detected in the extract from the R. solani suspension culture 12 h after the addition of 1, and they were identified as 2, sakuranetin-4′-O-β-d-xylopyranoside (3), and naringenin-7-O-β-d-xylopyranoside (4) by NMR, LC-MS/MS, and GC-MS analyses. The accumulation of 2, 3, and 4 reached their maximum levels 9–12 h after the addition of 1, whereas the content of 1 decreased to almost zero within 9 h. The antifungal activities of 3 and 4 against R. solani were negligible, and 2 showed weaker antifungal activity than 1. We concluded that 2, 3, and 4 are metabolites from the detoxification of 1 by R. solani. Xylosylation is a rare and efficient detoxification method for phytoalexins. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Yacon (Smallanthus sonchifolius Poepp. & Endl.) as a Novel Source of Health Promoting Compounds: Antioxidant Activity, Phytochemicals and Sugar Content in Flesh, Peel, and Whole Tubers of Seven Cultivars
Molecules 2018, 23(2), 278; doi:10.3390/molecules23020278
Received: 9 January 2018 / Revised: 26 January 2018 / Accepted: 28 January 2018 / Published: 29 January 2018
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Abstract
The aim of this study was to evaluate the quality characteristics of seven yacon (Smallanthus sonchifolius Poepp. and Endl.) cultivars (Cajamarca, Cusco, Early White, Late Red, Morado, New Zealand and Quinault) cultivated in the southwest of Germany. The following phyto/chemical traits were
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The aim of this study was to evaluate the quality characteristics of seven yacon (Smallanthus sonchifolius Poepp. and Endl.) cultivars (Cajamarca, Cusco, Early White, Late Red, Morado, New Zealand and Quinault) cultivated in the southwest of Germany. The following phyto/chemical traits were investigated in different yacon tuber parts (flesh, peel, and whole tubers): total dry matter, sugar content (fructose, glucose, and sucrose content), total phenolic content (TPC), total flavonoid content (TFC), 2,20-azino-bis(3-ethylbenzothiazoline-6-sulfonic acid) (ABTS) radical scavenging activity, 2,2-diphenyl-1-picrylhydrazyl (DPPH) radical scavenging activity, and Ferric reducing antioxidant power (FRAP). The results indicated a significant interaction between cultivar and tuber part on all of the examined traits (p < 0.0001). Of flesh and whole tuber, cv. Late Red, cv. Morado, and cv. Cajamarca had the highest TPC, TFC, DPPH radical scavenging activity, and FRAP. They also had relatively higher total sugar content. Cv. New Zealand had the lowest amount of sugars, TPC, TFC, DPPH radical scavenging activity, and FRAP, but the highest ABTS radical scavenging activity content in its flesh and whole tuber. Moreover, the results indicated that the peel of yacon tubers contained considerably high amounts of phytochemicals while possessing low sugar contents. Overall, this study provides a broad insight into the phyto/chemical content of yacon tubers from different cultivars, which can be used for further breeding programs, and the selection of proper cultivars for specific food product development. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Antioxidant Capacities of Natural Products)
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Open AccessCommunication Curcumin Analog CH-5 Suppresses the Proliferation, Migration, and Invasion of the Human Gastric Cancer Cell Line HGC-27
Molecules 2018, 23(2), 279; doi:10.3390/molecules23020279
Received: 22 December 2017 / Revised: 16 January 2018 / Accepted: 18 January 2018 / Published: 30 January 2018
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Abstract
Gastric cancer is one of the most frequent malignant tumors in the world. The majority of patients are diagnosed with metastatic gastric cancer, which has a low survival rate. These data reinforce the importance of studying the anticancer activity of new molecules with
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Gastric cancer is one of the most frequent malignant tumors in the world. The majority of patients are diagnosed with metastatic gastric cancer, which has a low survival rate. These data reinforce the importance of studying the anticancer activity of new molecules with the potential to suppress gastric cancer metastasis. Curcumin is a well-studied compound that has demonstrated anti-metastatic effects. Here we investigated if CH-5, a curcumin derivative compound, has anti-metastatic properties in the human gastric cancer cell line HGC-27. Firstly, we found that CH-5 decreased viability and induced apoptosis in HGC-27 cells in a dose-dependent manner. Additionally, CH-5 suppressed the migration and invasion of HGC-27 cells by downregulating the expression and collagenase activity of matrix metalloproteinase 2 in a dose-dependent manner. In conclusion, CH-5 showed anticancer activities, including the induction of apoptosis, and the suppression of migration and invasion in HGC-27 cells, suggesting that CH-5 can be a lead molecule for the development of anti-metastatic drugs for gastric cancer therapy. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Natural Products)
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Open AccessArticle Efficient OLEDs Fabricated by Solution Process Based on Carbazole and Thienopyrrolediones Derivatives
Molecules 2018, 23(2), 280; doi:10.3390/molecules23020280
Received: 14 December 2017 / Revised: 26 January 2018 / Accepted: 26 January 2018 / Published: 30 January 2018
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Abstract
Four low molecular weight compounds—three of them new, two of them with carbazole (Cz) as functional group and the other two with thienopyrroledione (TPD) group—were used as emitting materials in organic light emitting diodes (OLEDs). Devices were fabricated with the configuration ITO/PEDOT:PSS/emitting material/LiF/Al.
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Four low molecular weight compounds—three of them new, two of them with carbazole (Cz) as functional group and the other two with thienopyrroledione (TPD) group—were used as emitting materials in organic light emitting diodes (OLEDs). Devices were fabricated with the configuration ITO/PEDOT:PSS/emitting material/LiF/Al. The hole injector layer (HIL) and the emitting sheet were deposited by spin coating; LiF and Al were thermally evaporated. OLEDs based on carbazole derivatives show luminances up to 4130 cd/m2, large current efficiencies about 20 cd/A and, cautiously, a very impressive External Quantum Efficiency (EQE) up to 9.5%, with electroluminescence peaks located around 490 nm (greenish blue region). Whereas, devices manufactured with TPD derivatives, present luminance up to 1729 cd/m2, current efficiencies about 4.5 cd/A and EQE of 1.5%. These results are very competitive regarding previous reported materials/devices. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Organic Synthesis)
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Open AccessArticle Preliminary Characterization, Antioxidant and Hepatoprotective Activities of Polysaccharides from Taishan Pinus massoniana Pollen
Molecules 2018, 23(2), 281; doi:10.3390/molecules23020281
Received: 28 December 2017 / Revised: 20 January 2018 / Accepted: 28 January 2018 / Published: 30 January 2018
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Abstract
The objectives of the present study were to characterize the chemical composition, antioxidant activity and hepatoprotective effect of the polysaccharides from Taishan Pinus massoniana pollen (TPPPS). HPLC analysis showed that TPPPS was an acidic heteropolysaccharide with glucose and arabinose as the main component
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The objectives of the present study were to characterize the chemical composition, antioxidant activity and hepatoprotective effect of the polysaccharides from Taishan Pinus massoniana pollen (TPPPS). HPLC analysis showed that TPPPS was an acidic heteropolysaccharide with glucose and arabinose as the main component monosaccharides (79.6%, molar percentage). Fourier transform-infrared spectroscopy (FT-IR) analysis indicated that the spectra of TPPPS displayed infrared absorption peaks characteristic of polysaccharides. In in vitro assays TPPPS exhibited different degrees of dose-dependent antioxidant activities , and this was further verified by suppression of CCl4-induced oxidative stress in the liver with three tested doses of TPPPS (100, 200, and 400 mg/kg bw) in rats. Pretreatment with TPPPS significantly decreased the levels of alanine aminotransferase (AST), aspartate aminotransferase (ALT), alkaline phosphatase (ALP), lactic dehydrogenase (LDH) and malondialdehyde (MDA) against CCl4 injuries, and elevated the activities of superoxide dismutase (SOD) as well as glutathione peroxidase (GSH-Px). Histopathological observation further confirmed that TPPPS could protect the liver tissues from CCl4-induced histological alternation. These results suggest that TPPPS has strong antioxidant activities and significant protective effect against acute hepatotoxicity induced by CCl4. The hepatoprotective effect may partly be related to its free radical scavenging effect, increasing antioxidant activity and inhibiting lipid peroxidation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Polysaccharide-based Materials)
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Open AccessCommunication Chloro-1,4-dimethyl-9H-carbazole Derivatives Displaying Anti-HIV Activity
Molecules 2018, 23(2), 286; doi:10.3390/molecules23020286
Received: 21 December 2017 / Revised: 18 January 2018 / Accepted: 27 January 2018 / Published: 30 January 2018
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Abstract
Background: Despite the progress achieved by anti-retroviral drug research in the last decades, the discovery of novel compounds endowed with selective antiviral activity and reduced side effects is still a necessity. At present, the most urgent requirement includes the improvement of HIV (Human
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Background: Despite the progress achieved by anti-retroviral drug research in the last decades, the discovery of novel compounds endowed with selective antiviral activity and reduced side effects is still a necessity. At present, the most urgent requirement includes the improvement of HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus) prevention and sexual transmission and the development of new drugs to treat the chronic lifelong infection. Methods: Six chloro-1,4-dimethyl-9H-carbazoles (2a,b4a,b) have been prepared following opportunely modified known chemical procedures and tested in luciferase and Escherichia coli β-galactosidase expressing CD4+, CXCR4+, CCR5+ TZM-bl cells. Results and Conclusion: a preliminary biological investigation on the synthesized small series of chloro-1,4-dimethyl-9H-carbazoles has been carried out. Among all tested compounds, a nitro-derivative (3b) showed the most interesting profile representing a suitable lead for the development of novel anti-HIV drugs. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Medicinal Chemistry)
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Open AccessArticle The Effect of Methyl-β-cyclodextrin on Apoptosis, Proliferative Activity, and Oxidative Stress in Adipose-Derived Mesenchymal Stromal Cells of Horses Suffering from Metabolic Syndrome (EMS)
Molecules 2018, 23(2), 287; doi:10.3390/molecules23020287
Received: 12 December 2017 / Revised: 26 January 2018 / Accepted: 28 January 2018 / Published: 30 January 2018
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Abstract
Methyl-β-cyclodextrin (MβCD) is a cyclic oligosaccharide, commonly used as a pharmacological agent to deplete membrane cholesterol. In this study, we examined the effect of MβCD on adipose-derived mesenchymal stromal cells (ASCs) isolated form healthy horses (ASCCTRL) and from horses suffering from
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Methyl-β-cyclodextrin (MβCD) is a cyclic oligosaccharide, commonly used as a pharmacological agent to deplete membrane cholesterol. In this study, we examined the effect of MβCD on adipose-derived mesenchymal stromal cells (ASCs) isolated form healthy horses (ASCCTRL) and from horses suffering from metabolic syndrome (ASCEMS). We investigated the changes in the mRNA levels of the glucose transporter 4 (GLUT4) and found that MβCD application may lead to a significant improvement in glucose transport in ASCEMS. We also showed that MβCD treatment affected GLUT4 upregulation in an insulin-independent manner via an NO-dependent signaling pathway. Furthermore, the analysis of superoxide dismutase activity (SOD) and reactive oxygen species (ROS) levels showed that MβCD treatment was associated with an increased antioxidant capacity in ASCEMS. Moreover, we indicated that methyl-β-cyclodextrin treatment did not cause a dysfunction of the endoplasmic reticulum and lysosomes. Thereby, we propose the possibility of improving the functionality of ASCEMS by increasing their metabolic stability. Full article
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Open AccessArticle 2-(2-Phenylethyl)-4H-chromen-4-one Derivatives from the Resinous Wood of Aquilaria sinensis with Anti-Inflammatory Effects in LPS-Induced Macrophages
Molecules 2018, 23(2), 289; doi:10.3390/molecules23020289
Received: 6 January 2018 / Revised: 22 January 2018 / Accepted: 27 January 2018 / Published: 30 January 2018
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Abstract
The resinous wood of Aquilaria sinensis, known as agarwood (Chen Xiang in Chinese), is traditionally used for the treatment of abdominal pain, vomiting, circulatory disorders, and dyspnea. Four new 2-(2-phenylethyl)-4H-chromen-4-one derivatives, namely 7-methoxy-2-[2-(4′-hydroxy-phenyl)ethyl]chromone (1), 7-hydroxy-2-[2-(4′-methoxyphenyl)ethyl]chromone (2
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The resinous wood of Aquilaria sinensis, known as agarwood (Chen Xiang in Chinese), is traditionally used for the treatment of abdominal pain, vomiting, circulatory disorders, and dyspnea. Four new 2-(2-phenylethyl)-4H-chromen-4-one derivatives, namely 7-methoxy-2-[2-(4′-hydroxy-phenyl)ethyl]chromone (1), 7-hydroxy-2-[2-(4′-methoxyphenyl)ethyl]chromone (2), 5,6-dihydroxy- 2-[2-(3′-hydroxy-4′-methoxyphenyl)ethyl]chromone (3), and 6-hydroxy-5-methoxy-2-(2-phenyl-ethyl)chromone (4), have been isolated from the resinous wood of A. sinensis, together with nine known compounds. The structures of these compounds were determined through spectroscopic and MS analyses. Among the isolated compounds, neopetasan, 7-methoxy-2-(2-phenylethyl)-chromone, 6,7-dimethoxy-2-(2-phenylethyl)chromone, and 6,7-dimethoxy-2-[2-(4′-methoxy-phenyl)ethyl]chromone inhibited NF-κB activation in LPS-stimulated RAW 264.7 macrophages with relative luciferase activity values of 0.55 ± 0.09, 0.54 ± 0.03, 0.31 ± 0.05, and 0.38 ± 0.14, respectively, versus that of vehicle control (1.03 ± 0.02). In addition, 5,6-dihydroxy-2-[2-(3′-hydroxy-4′-methoxyphenyl)ethyl]chromone, 7-methoxy-2-(2-phenylethyl)chromone, 7-dimethoxy-2-(2-phenylethyl)chromone, and 6,7-dimethoxy-2-[2-(4′-methoxyphenyl)ethyl]chromone could suppress LPS-induced NO production in RAW 264.7 cells and did not induce cytotoxicity against RAW 264.7 cells after 24-h treatment. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Natural Products)
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle Enzymatic Synthesis of Amino Acids Endcapped Polycaprolactone: A Green Route Towards Functional Polyesters
Molecules 2018, 23(2), 290; doi:10.3390/molecules23020290
Received: 20 October 2017 / Revised: 15 January 2018 / Accepted: 23 January 2018 / Published: 30 January 2018
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Abstract
ε-caprolactone (CL) has been enzymatically polymerized using α-amino acids based on sulfur (methionine and cysteine) as (co-)initiators and immobilized lipase B of Candida antarctica (CALB) as biocatalyst. In-depth characterizations allowed determining the corresponding involved mechanisms and the polymers thermal properties. Two synthetic strategies
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ε-caprolactone (CL) has been enzymatically polymerized using α-amino acids based on sulfur (methionine and cysteine) as (co-)initiators and immobilized lipase B of Candida antarctica (CALB) as biocatalyst. In-depth characterizations allowed determining the corresponding involved mechanisms and the polymers thermal properties. Two synthetic strategies were tested, a first one with direct polymerization of CL with the native amino acids and a second one involving the use of an amino acid with protected functional groups. The first route showed that mainly polycaprolactone (PCL) homopolymer could be obtained and highlighted the lack of reactivity of the unmodified amino acids due to poor solubility and affinity with the lipase active site. The second strategy based on protected cysteine showed higher monomer conversion, with the amino acids acting as (co-)initiators, but their insertion along the PCL chains remained limited to chain endcapping. These results thus showed the possibility to synthesize enzymatically polycaprolactone-based chains bearing amino acids units. Such cysteine endcapped PCL materials could then find application in the biomedical field. Indeed, subsequent functionalization of these polyesters with drugs or bioactive molecules can be obtained, by derivatization of the amino acids, after removal of the protecting group. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Natural Polymers and Biopolymers)
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Open AccessArticle A Lateral Flow Strip Based Aptasensor for Detection of Ochratoxin A in Corn Samples
Molecules 2018, 23(2), 291; doi:10.3390/molecules23020291
Received: 19 December 2017 / Revised: 11 January 2018 / Accepted: 15 January 2018 / Published: 31 January 2018
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Abstract
Ochratoxin A (OTA) is a mycotoxin identified as a contaminant in grains and wine throughout the world, and convenient, rapid and sensitive detection methods for OTA have been a long-felt need for food safety monitoring. Herein, we presented a new competitive format based
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Ochratoxin A (OTA) is a mycotoxin identified as a contaminant in grains and wine throughout the world, and convenient, rapid and sensitive detection methods for OTA have been a long-felt need for food safety monitoring. Herein, we presented a new competitive format based lateral flow strip fluorescent aptasensor for one-step determination of OTA in corn samples. Briefly, biotin-cDNA was immobilized on the surface of a nitrocellulose filter on the test line. Without OTA, Cy5-labeled aptamer combined with complementary strands formed a stable double helix. In the presence of OTA, however, the Cy5-aptamer/OTA complexes were generated, and therefore less free aptamer was captured in the test zone, leading to an obvious decrease in fluorescent signals on the test line. The test strip showed an excellent linear relationship in the range from 1 ng·mL−1 to 1000 ng·mL−1 with the LOD of 0.40 ng·mL−1, IC15 value of 3.46 ng·mL−1 and recoveries from 96.4% to 104.67% in spiked corn samples. Thus, the strip sensor developed in this study is an acceptable alternative for rapid detection of the OTA level in grain samples. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Nucleic Acid Aptamers)
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Open AccessArticle Biodiversity within Melissa officinalis: Variability of Bioactive Compounds in a Cultivated Collection
Molecules 2018, 23(2), 294; doi:10.3390/molecules23020294
Received: 20 November 2017 / Revised: 22 January 2018 / Accepted: 30 January 2018 / Published: 31 January 2018
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Abstract
Phytochemical characters were evaluated in a five-year-old lemon balm collection consisting of 15 and 13 subspecies officinalis and altissima accessions, respectively. Stems were lower in essential oil than leaves. First cut leaves (June) gave more oil than those of the second cut (August).
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Phytochemical characters were evaluated in a five-year-old lemon balm collection consisting of 15 and 13 subspecies officinalis and altissima accessions, respectively. Stems were lower in essential oil than leaves. First cut leaves (June) gave more oil than those of the second cut (August). Subspecies officinalis plants had leaf oils rich in geranial, neral and citronellal in various proportions in the first cut. However, in the second cut the oils from all accessions appeared very similar with 80–90% geranial plus neral. Leaf oils of subsp. altissima contained sesquiterpenes (β-caryophyllene, caryophyllene oxide, germacrene D) and also further monoterpenes in the second cut. Leaves had higher rosmarinic acid (RA) contents than stems. More RA was in subsp. officinalis than subsp. altissima leaves. First cut leaves were richer in RA than those from second cut. Total phenolics and antioxidant parameters showed that lemon balm is a valuable source of plant antioxidants. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Chemical Biology)
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Open AccessArticle Synthesis and In Vitro Antiproliferative Activity of New 1-Phenyl-3-(4-(pyridin-3-yl)phenyl)urea Scaffold-Based Compounds
Molecules 2018, 23(2), 297; doi:10.3390/molecules23020297
Received: 13 December 2017 / Revised: 1 January 2018 / Accepted: 22 January 2018 / Published: 31 January 2018
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Abstract
A new series of 1-phenyl-3-(4-(pyridin-3-yl)phenyl)urea derivatives were synthesized and subjected to in vitro antiproliferative screening against National Cancer Institute (NCI)-60 human cancer cell lines of nine different cancer types. Fourteen compounds 5an were synthesized with three different solvent exposure moieties (4-hydroxylmethylpiperidinyl
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A new series of 1-phenyl-3-(4-(pyridin-3-yl)phenyl)urea derivatives were synthesized and subjected to in vitro antiproliferative screening against National Cancer Institute (NCI)-60 human cancer cell lines of nine different cancer types. Fourteen compounds 5an were synthesized with three different solvent exposure moieties (4-hydroxylmethylpiperidinyl and trimethoxyphenyloxy and 4-hydroxyethylpiperazine) attached to the core structure. Substituents with different π and σ values were added on the terminal phenyl group. Compounds 5ae with a 4-hydroxymethylpiperidine moiety showed broad-spectrum antiproliferative activity with higher mean percentage inhibition values over the 60-cell line panel at 10 µM concentration. Compound 5a elicited lethal rather than inhibition effects on SK-MEL-5 melanoma cell line, 786-0, A498, RXF 393 renal cancer cell lines, and MDA-MB-468 breast cancer cell line. Two compounds, 5a and 5d showed promising mean growth inhibitions and thus were further tested at five-dose mode to determine median inhibitory concentration (IC50) values. The data revealed that urea compounds 5a and 5d are the most active derivatives, with significant efficacies and superior potencies than paclitaxel in 21 different cancer cell lines belonging particularly to renal cancer and melanoma cell lines. Moreover, 5a and 5d had superior potencies than gefitinib in 38 and 34 cancer cell lines, respectively, particularly colon cancer, breast cancer and melanoma cell lines. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Medicinal Chemistry)
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Open AccessArticle Highly Efficient One-Pot Synthesis of COS-Based Block Copolymers by Using Organic Lewis Pairs
Molecules 2018, 23(2), 298; doi:10.3390/molecules23020298
Received: 14 January 2018 / Revised: 28 January 2018 / Accepted: 30 January 2018 / Published: 31 January 2018
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Abstract
A one-pot synthesis of block copolymer with regioregular poly(monothiocarbonate) block is described via metal-free catalysis. Lewis bases such as guanidine, quaternary onium salts, and Lewis acid triethyl borane (TEB) were equivalently combined and used as the catalysts. By using polyethylene glycol (PEG) as
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A one-pot synthesis of block copolymer with regioregular poly(monothiocarbonate) block is described via metal-free catalysis. Lewis bases such as guanidine, quaternary onium salts, and Lewis acid triethyl borane (TEB) were equivalently combined and used as the catalysts. By using polyethylene glycol (PEG) as the macromolecular chain transfer agent (CTA), narrow polydispersity block copolymers were obtained from the copolymerization of carbonyl sulfide (COS) and propylene oxide (PO). The block copolymers had a poly(monothiocarbonate) block with perfect alternating degree and regioregularity. Unexpectedly, the addition of CTA to COS/PO copolymerization system could dramatically improve the turnover frequency (TOF) of PO (up to 240 h−1), higher than that of the copolymerization without CTA. In addition, the conversion of CTA could be up to 100% in most cases, as revealed by 1H NMR spectra. Of consequence, the number-average molecular weights (Mns) of the resultant block copolymers could be regulated by varying the feed ratio of CTA to PO. Oxygen-sulfur exchange reaction (O/S ER), which can generate randomly distributed thiocarbonate and carbonate units, was effectively suppressed in all of the cases in the presence of CTA, even at 80 °C. This work presents a versatile method for synthesizing sulfur-containing block copolymers through a metal-free route, providing an array of new block copolymers. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Terretonin N: A New Meroterpenoid from Nocardiopsis sp.
Molecules 2018, 23(2), 299; doi:10.3390/molecules23020299
Received: 21 December 2017 / Revised: 26 January 2018 / Accepted: 28 January 2018 / Published: 31 January 2018
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Abstract
Terretonin N (1), a new highly oxygenated and unique tetracyclic 6-hydroxymeroterpenoid, was isolated together with seven known compounds from the ethyl acetate extract of a solid-state fermented culture of Nocardiopsis sp. Their structures were elucidated by spectroscopic analysis. The structure and
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Terretonin N (1), a new highly oxygenated and unique tetracyclic 6-hydroxymeroterpenoid, was isolated together with seven known compounds from the ethyl acetate extract of a solid-state fermented culture of Nocardiopsis sp. Their structures were elucidated by spectroscopic analysis. The structure and absolute configuration of 1 were unambiguously determined by X-ray crystallography. The isolation and taxonomic characterization of Nocardiopsis sp. is reported. The antimicrobial activity and cytotoxicity of the strain extract and compound 1 were studied using different microorganisms and a cervix carcinoma cell line, respectively. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Natural Products)
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Open AccessArticle Spiroketones and a Biphenyl Analog from Stems and Leaves of Larrea nitida and Their Inhibitory Activity against IL-6 Production
Molecules 2018, 23(2), 302; doi:10.3390/molecules23020302
Received: 17 January 2018 / Revised: 28 January 2018 / Accepted: 30 January 2018 / Published: 31 January 2018
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Abstract
Bioactivity-guided fractionation for the stems of leaves of Larrea nitida Cav., using interleukin-6 (IL-6) inhibitory assay in human mast cells (HMC-1), led to the isolation of three new compounds with an unprecedented skeleton in nature (13) and three known
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Bioactivity-guided fractionation for the stems of leaves of Larrea nitida Cav., using interleukin-6 (IL-6) inhibitory assay in human mast cells (HMC-1), led to the isolation of three new compounds with an unprecedented skeleton in nature (13) and three known compounds (46). Their structures were elucidated through extensive spectroscopic analysis. The three new compounds were elucidated as two new spiroketones, nitidaones A (1), and B (2) and one new biphenyl analog, nitidaol (3). The known compounds were identified as nordihydroguaiaretic acid (4), 7,3′,4′-tri-O-methylquercetin (5) and ayanin (6). All the isolates were tested for their inhibitory activity against IL-6 production in HMC-1 cells. Of them, compounds 1, 36 showed potent anti-inflammatory activity, with IC50 values of 12.8, 17.5, 14.9, 22.9, and 17.8 µM, respectively. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Natural Products)
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Open AccessArticle Optimization of the Preparation Conditions of Borneol-Modified Ginkgolide Liposomes by Response Surface Methodology and Study of Their Blood Brain Barrier Permeability
Molecules 2018, 23(2), 303; doi:10.3390/molecules23020303
Received: 24 November 2017 / Revised: 22 January 2018 / Accepted: 24 January 2018 / Published: 31 January 2018
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Abstract
Ginkgolides (GG), containing ginkgolide A (GA), ginkgolide B (GB) and ginkgolide C (GC), are mainly prescribed for ischemic stroke and cerebral infarction. However, the ginkgolides can hardly pass the blood-brain barrier (BBB) into the brain. The purpose of this study was to prepare
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Ginkgolides (GG), containing ginkgolide A (GA), ginkgolide B (GB) and ginkgolide C (GC), are mainly prescribed for ischemic stroke and cerebral infarction. However, the ginkgolides can hardly pass the blood-brain barrier (BBB) into the brain. The purpose of this study was to prepare borneol-modified ginkgolides liposomes (GGB-LPs) to study whether borneol could enhance the transport of ginkgolides across the BBB. The preparation conditions of GGB-LPs were optimized by a response surface-central composite design. Also, pharmacokinetics and biodistribution studies of GGB-LPs were conducted using UPLC-MS. The optimal preparation conditions for GGB-LP were as follows: ratio of lipid to drug (w/w) was 9:1, ratio of phospholipid to cholesterol (w/w) was 7:1, and hydrate volume was 17.5 mL. Under these conditions, the GGB-LP yield was 89.73 ± 3.45%. With GGB-LPs, borneol significantly promoted the transport of ginkgolide across the BBB. The pharmacokinetic parameters of GGB-LP were significantly improved too, with Tmax of 15 min and a high drug concentration of 3.39 μg/g in brain. Additionally, the drug targeting index and relative uptake rate of GGB-LP was increased. Borneol-modified ginkgolide liposomes can thus potentially be used to improve the BBB permeability of gingkolide formulations. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Natural Products)
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Open AccessArticle A Cyclic Altered Peptide Analogue Based on Myelin Basic Protein 87–99 Provides Lasting Prophylactic and Therapeutic Protection Against Acute Experimental Autoimmune Encephalomyelitis
Molecules 2018, 23(2), 304; doi:10.3390/molecules23020304
Received: 5 December 2017 / Revised: 18 January 2018 / Accepted: 24 January 2018 / Published: 31 January 2018
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Abstract
In this report, amide-linked cyclic peptide analogues of the 87–99 myelin basic protein (MBP) epitope, a candidate autoantigen in multiple sclerosis (MS), are tested for therapeutic efficacy in experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE). Cyclic altered peptide analogues of MBP87–99 with substitutions at positions
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In this report, amide-linked cyclic peptide analogues of the 87–99 myelin basic protein (MBP) epitope, a candidate autoantigen in multiple sclerosis (MS), are tested for therapeutic efficacy in experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE). Cyclic altered peptide analogues of MBP87–99 with substitutions at positions 91 and/or 96 were tested for protective effects when administered using prophylactic or early therapeutic protocols in MBP72–85-induced EAE in Lewis rats. The Lys91 and Pro96 of MBP87–99 are crucial T-cell receptor (TCR) anchors and participate in the formation of trimolecular complex between the TCR-antigen (peptide)-MHC (major histocompability complex) for the stimulation of encephalitogenic T cells that are necessary for EAE induction and are implicated in MS. The cyclic peptides were synthesized using Solid Phase Peptide Synthesis (SPPS) applied on the 9-fluorenylmethyloxycarboxyl/tert-butyl Fmoc/tBu methodology and combined with the 2-chlorotrityl chloride resin (CLTR-Cl). Cyclo(91–99)[Ala96]MBP87–99, cyclo(87–99)[Ala91,96]MBP87–99 and cyclo(87–99)[Arg91, Ala96]MBP87–99, but not wild-type linear MBP87–99, strongly inhibited MBP72–85-induced EAE in Lewis rats when administered using prophylactic and early therapeutic vaccination protocols. In particular, cyclo(87–99)[Arg91, Ala96]MBP87–99 was highly effective in preventing the onset and development of clinical symptoms and spinal cord pathology and providing lasting protection against EAE induction. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Peptide Therapeutics)
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle Exploring Alternative Radiolabeling Strategies for Sialic Acid-Binding Immunoglobulin-Like Lectin 9 Peptide: [68Ga]Ga- and [18F]AlF-NOTA-Siglec-9
Molecules 2018, 23(2), 305; doi:10.3390/molecules23020305
Received: 10 January 2018 / Revised: 26 January 2018 / Accepted: 29 January 2018 / Published: 31 January 2018
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Abstract
Amino acid residues 283–297 from sialic acid-binding immunoglobulin-like lectin 9 (Siglec-9) form a cyclic peptide ligand targeting vascular adhesion protein-1 (VAP-1). VAP-1 is associated with the transfer of leukocytes from blood to tissues upon inflammation. Therefore, analogs of Siglec-9 peptide are good candidates
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Amino acid residues 283–297 from sialic acid-binding immunoglobulin-like lectin 9 (Siglec-9) form a cyclic peptide ligand targeting vascular adhesion protein-1 (VAP-1). VAP-1 is associated with the transfer of leukocytes from blood to tissues upon inflammation. Therefore, analogs of Siglec-9 peptide are good candidates for visualizing inflammation non-invasively using positron emission tomography (PET). Gallium-68-labeled 1,4,7,10-tetraazacyclododecane-N,N′,N″,N‴-tetraacetic acid (DOTA)-conjugated Siglec-9 has been evaluated extensively for this purpose. Here, we explored two alternative strategies for radiolabeling Siglec-9 peptide using a 1,4,7-triazacyclononane-triacetic acid (NOTA)-chelator to bind [68Ga]Ga or [18F]AlF. The radioligands were evaluated by in vivo PET imaging and ex vivo γ-counting of turpentine-induced sterile skin/muscle inflammation in Sprague-Dawley rats. Both tracers showed clear accumulation in the inflamed tissues. The whole-body biodistribution patterns of the tracers were similar. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Medicinal Chemistry in Europe)
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Open AccessArticle Synthesis and Biological Evaluations of NO-Donating Oxa- and Aza-Pentacycloundecane Derivatives as Potential Neuroprotective Candidates
Molecules 2018, 23(2), 308; doi:10.3390/molecules23020308
Received: 1 December 2017 / Revised: 26 January 2018 / Accepted: 28 January 2018 / Published: 31 January 2018
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Abstract
In order to utilize the neuroprotective properties of polycyclic cage compounds, and explore the NO-donating ability of nitrophenyl groups, an array of compounds was synthesized where the different nitrophenyl groups were appended on oxa and aza-bridged cage derivatives. Biological evaluations of the compounds
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In order to utilize the neuroprotective properties of polycyclic cage compounds, and explore the NO-donating ability of nitrophenyl groups, an array of compounds was synthesized where the different nitrophenyl groups were appended on oxa and aza-bridged cage derivatives. Biological evaluations of the compounds were done for cytotoxicity, neuroprotective abilities, the inhibition of N-methyl-d-aspartate (NMDA)-mediated Ca2+ influx, the inhibition of voltage-mediated Ca2+ influx, and S-nitrosylation abilities. All of the compounds showed low toxicity. With a few exceptions, most of the compounds displayed good neuroprotection and showed inhibitory activity for NMDA-mediated and voltage-gated calcium influx, ranging from high (>70%) to low (20–39%) inhibition. In the S-nitrosylation assay, the compounds with the nitro moiety as the NO-donating group exhibited low to good nitrosylation potency compared to the positive controls. From the biological evaluation of the tested compounds, it was not possible to obtain a simple correlation that could explain the results across all of the biological study domains. This can be ascribed to the independent processes evaluated in the different assays, which reiterate that neuroprotection is a result of multifactorial biochemical mechanisms and interactions. However, these results signify the important aspects of the pentacylcoundecylamine neuroprotectants across different biological study realms. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Neuroprotective Agents)
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Open AccessArticle Synthesis of Scutellarein Derivatives with a Long Aliphatic Chain and Their Biological Evaluation against Human Cancer Cells
Molecules 2018, 23(2), 310; doi:10.3390/molecules23020310
Received: 14 January 2018 / Revised: 29 January 2018 / Accepted: 30 January 2018 / Published: 1 February 2018
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Abstract
Scutellarin is the major active flavonoid extracted from the traditional Chinese herbal medicine Erigeron breviscapus (Vant.) Hand-Mazz., which is widely used in China. Recently, accumulating evidence has highlighted the potential role of scutellarin and its main metabolite scutellarein in the treatment of cancer.
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Scutellarin is the major active flavonoid extracted from the traditional Chinese herbal medicine Erigeron breviscapus (Vant.) Hand-Mazz., which is widely used in China. Recently, accumulating evidence has highlighted the potential role of scutellarin and its main metabolite scutellarein in the treatment of cancer. To explore novel anticancer agents with high efficiency, a series of new scutellarein derivatives with a long aliphatic chain were synthesized, and the antiproliferative activities against Jurkat, HCT-116 and MDA-MB-231 cancer cell lines were assessed. Among them, compound 6a exhibited the strongest antiproliferative effects on Jurkat (IC50 = 1.80 μM), HCT-116 (IC50 = 11.50 μM) and MDA-MB-231 (IC50 = 53.91 μM). In particular, 6a even showed stronger antiproliferative effects than the positive control NaAsO2 on Jurkat and HCT-116 cell lines. The results showed that a proper long aliphatic chain enhanced the antiproliferative activity of scutellarein. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Medicinal Chemistry)
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Open AccessArticle Antioxidant Activity of Zein Hydrolysates from Zea Species and Their Cytotoxic Effects in a Hepatic Cell Culture
Molecules 2018, 23(2), 312; doi:10.3390/molecules23020312
Received: 6 December 2017 / Revised: 26 January 2018 / Accepted: 26 January 2018 / Published: 2 February 2018
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Abstract
In recent years, food proteins with bioactivity have been studied for cancer treatment. Zein peptides have shown an important set of bioactivities. This work compares the cytotoxic activity of zein hydrolyzed, extracted from four Zea species: teosinte, native, hybrid, and transgenic (Teo, Nat,
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In recent years, food proteins with bioactivity have been studied for cancer treatment. Zein peptides have shown an important set of bioactivities. This work compares the cytotoxic activity of zein hydrolyzed, extracted from four Zea species: teosinte, native, hybrid, and transgenic (Teo, Nat, Hyb, and HT) in a hepatic cell culture. Zein fraction was extracted, quantified, and hydrolyzed. Antioxidant capacity and cytotoxicity assays were performed on HepG2 cells. The levels of expression of caspase 3, 8, and 9 were evaluated in zein-treated cell cultures. Zea parviglumis showed the highest zein content (46.0 mg/g) and antioxidant activity (673.40 TE/g) out of all native zeins. Peptides from Hyb and HT showed high antioxidant activity compared to their native counterparts (1055.45 and 724.32 TE/g, respectively). Cytotoxic activity was observed in the cell culture using peptides of the four Zea species; Teo and Nat (IC50: 1781.63 and 1546.23 ng/mL) had no significant difference between them but showed more cytotoxic activity than Hyb and HT (IC50: 1252.25 and 1155.56 ng/mL). Increased expression of caspase 3 was observed in the peptide-treated HepG2 cells (at least two-fold more with respect to the control sample). These data indicate the potential for zein peptides to prevent or treat cancer, possibly by apoptosis induction. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Peptide Therapeutics)
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Open AccessArticle Tulbaghia violacea and Allium ursinum Extracts Exhibit Anti-Parasitic and Antimicrobial Activities
Molecules 2018, 23(2), 313; doi:10.3390/molecules23020313
Received: 7 December 2017 / Revised: 27 January 2018 / Accepted: 30 January 2018 / Published: 2 February 2018
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Abstract
Garlic has played an important role in culinary arts and remedies in the traditional medicine throughout human history. Parasitic infections represent a burden in the society of especially poor countries, causing more than 1 billion infections every year and leading to around one
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Garlic has played an important role in culinary arts and remedies in the traditional medicine throughout human history. Parasitic infections represent a burden in the society of especially poor countries, causing more than 1 billion infections every year and leading to around one million deaths. In this study, we investigated the mode of anti-parasitic activity of “wild garlics” Tulbaghia violacea and Allium ursinum dichloromethane extracts against parasites Trypanosoma brucei brucei and Leishmania tarentolae with regard to their already known antimicrobial activity. We also evaluated their cytotoxic potential against human cells. Both extracts showed a relevant trypanocidal and leishmanicidal activity, although L. tarentolae was less sensitive. We determined that the probable mode of action of both extracts is the irreversible inhibition of the activity of Trypanosoma brucei trypanothione reductase enzyme. The extracts showed a mild cytotoxic activity against human keratinocytes. They also exhibited weak—in most cases comparable—antibacterial and antifungal activity. HPLC-MS/MS analysis showed that both extracts are abundant in sulfur compounds. Thus, for the first time, the ability of Allium ursinum and Tulbaghia violacea to kill Trypanosoma sp. and Leishmania sp. parasites, probably by binding to and inactivating sulfur-containing compounds essential for the survival of the parasite, is shown. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Natural Products)
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Open AccessArticle Lipase-Catalyzed Acidolysis of Egg-Yolk Phosphatidylcholine with Citronellic Acid. New Insight into Synthesis of Isoprenoid-Phospholipids
Molecules 2018, 23(2), 314; doi:10.3390/molecules23020314
Received: 16 January 2018 / Revised: 27 January 2018 / Accepted: 1 February 2018 / Published: 2 February 2018
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Abstract
The development of a biotechnological method for the production of new biologically active phosphatidylcholine containing monoterpene citronellic acid (CA) was the aim of this work. Incorporation of citronellic acid (CA) into egg-yolk phosphatidylcholine (PC) in the lipase-catalyzed acidolysis process was studied. Isoprenoid acid
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The development of a biotechnological method for the production of new biologically active phosphatidylcholine containing monoterpene citronellic acid (CA) was the aim of this work. Incorporation of citronellic acid (CA) into egg-yolk phosphatidylcholine (PC) in the lipase-catalyzed acidolysis process was studied. Isoprenoid acid CA was used as an acyl donor and five commercially available immobilized lipases were examined as biocatalysts. The effects of organic solvent, enzyme load, reaction time and molar ratio of substrates on the incorporation of citronellic acid (CA) into the phospholipids were evaluated. Modified phospholipid fraction enriched with CA in the sn-1 position (39% of incorporation) was obtained in high 33% yield using Novozym 435 as biocatalyst. In this study a biotechnological method for production of new phospholipid biopreparation enriched with citronellic acid, which can play an important role as a nutraceutical, was applied. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Frontier in Biocatalysis for Organic Synthesis)
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Open AccessArticle Nine New Gingerols from the Rhizoma of Zingiber officinale and Their Cytotoxic Activities
Molecules 2018, 23(2), 315; doi:10.3390/molecules23020315
Received: 9 December 2017 / Revised: 30 January 2018 / Accepted: 31 January 2018 / Published: 2 February 2018
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Abstract
Nine new gingerols, including three 6-oxo-shogaol derivatives [(Z)-6-oxo-[6]-shogaol (1), (Z)-6-oxo-[8]-shogaol (2), (Z)-6-oxo-[10]-shogaol (3)], one 6-oxoparadol derivative [6-oxo-[6]-paradol (4)], one isoshogaol derivative [(E)-[4]-isoshogaol (5)], and four
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Nine new gingerols, including three 6-oxo-shogaol derivatives [(Z)-6-oxo-[6]-shogaol (1), (Z)-6-oxo-[8]-shogaol (2), (Z)-6-oxo-[10]-shogaol (3)], one 6-oxoparadol derivative [6-oxo-[6]-paradol (4)], one isoshogaol derivative [(E)-[4]-isoshogaol (5)], and four paradoldiene derivatives [(4E,6Z)-[4]-paradoldiene (8), (4E,6E)-[6]-paradoldiene (9), (4E,6E)-[8]-paradoldiene (10), (4E,6Z)-[8]-paradoldiene (11)], together with eight known analogues, were isolated from the rhizoma of Zingiber officinale. Their structures were elucidated on the basis of spectroscopic data. It was noted that the isolation of 6-oxo-shogaol derivatives represents the first report of gingerols containing one 1,4-enedione motif. Their structures were elucidated on the basis of spectroscopic and HRESIMS data. All the new compounds were evaluated for their cytotoxic activities against human cancer cells (MCF-7, HepG-2, KYSE-150). Full article
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Open AccessArticle MicroRNA-125a-5p Mediates 3T3-L1 Preadipocyte Proliferation and Differentiation
Molecules 2018, 23(2), 317; doi:10.3390/molecules23020317
Received: 25 December 2017 / Revised: 26 January 2018 / Accepted: 28 January 2018 / Published: 2 February 2018
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Abstract
Excessive accumulation of adipose tissue is a main cause of obesity or overweight, which is significantly involved in increasing the risk of diseases. Recently, numerous studies have proved that microRNAs (miRNAs) play important roles in adipogenesis by negatively regulating gene expression at posttranscriptional
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Excessive accumulation of adipose tissue is a main cause of obesity or overweight, which is significantly involved in increasing the risk of diseases. Recently, numerous studies have proved that microRNAs (miRNAs) play important roles in adipogenesis by negatively regulating gene expression at posttranscriptional levels. In this study, we showed that miR-125a-5p was expressed at lower levels in the adipose tissues of high-fat diet (HFD)-fed mice than the normal chow (NCW)-fed mice. MiR-125a-5p expression were strongly up-regulated by nearly five-fold, when 3T3-L1 preadipocyte were induced and differentiated into mature adipocytes. Functional analysis indicated that overexpression of miR-125a-5p promoted 3T3-L1 preadipocyte proliferation and inhibited its differentiation. By contrast, inhibition of miR-125a-5p repressed 3T3-L1 preadipocyte proliferation and accelerated its differentiation. Furthermore, a dual-luciferase reporter assay demonstrated that signal transducer and activator of transcription 3 (STAT3) is a direct target gene of miR-125a-5p during 3T3-L1 preadipocyte differentiation. Further analysis confirmed that the process of miR-125a-5p inhibiting 3T3-L1 preadipocyte differentiation might be associated with the regulation of fatty acid metabolism related genes. Taken together, our results indicated that miR-125a-5p might promote 3T3-L1 preadipocyte proliferation, whereas inhibiting 3T3-L1 preadipocyte differentiation by negatively regulating STAT3. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Graphene-Derivatized Silica Composite as Solid-Phase Extraction Sorbent Combined with GC–MS/MS for the Determination of Polycyclic Musks in Aqueous Samples
Molecules 2018, 23(2), 318; doi:10.3390/molecules23020318
Received: 6 January 2018 / Revised: 25 January 2018 / Accepted: 1 February 2018 / Published: 2 February 2018
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Abstract
Polycyclic musks (PCMs) have recently received growing attention as emerging contaminants because of their bioaccumulation and potential ecotoxicological effects. Herein, an effective method for the determination of five PCMs in aqueous samples is presented. Reduced graphene oxide-derivatized silica (rGO@silica) particles were prepared from
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Polycyclic musks (PCMs) have recently received growing attention as emerging contaminants because of their bioaccumulation and potential ecotoxicological effects. Herein, an effective method for the determination of five PCMs in aqueous samples is presented. Reduced graphene oxide-derivatized silica (rGO@silica) particles were prepared from graphene oxide and aminosilica microparticles and characterized by scanning electron microscopy, Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy, and X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy. PCMs were preconcentrated using rGO@silica as the solid-phase extraction sorbent and quantified by gas chromatography–tandem mass spectrometry. Several experimental parameters, such as eluent, elution volume, sorbent amount, pH, and sample volume were optimized. The correlation coefficient (R) ranged from 0.9958 to 0.9992, while the limits of detection and quantitation for the five PCMs were 0.3–0.8 ng/L and 1.1–2.1 ng/L, respectively. Satisfactory recoveries were obtained for tap water (86.6–105.9%) and river water samples (82.9–107.1%), with relative standard deviations <10% under optimal conditions. The developed method was applied to analyze PCMs in tap and river water samples from Beijing, China. Galaxolide (HHCB) and tonalide (AHTN) were the main PCM components detected in one river water sample at concentrations of 18.7 for HHCB, and 11.7 ng/L for AHTN. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Solid Phase Extraction: State of the Art and Future Perspectives)
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Open AccessArticle Nutritional Value, Chemical Characterization and Bulb Morphology of Greek Garlic Landraces
Molecules 2018, 23(2), 319; doi:10.3390/molecules23020319
Received: 5 January 2018 / Revised: 26 January 2018 / Accepted: 1 February 2018 / Published: 2 February 2018
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Abstract
Garlic (Allium sativum L.) is an important vegetable crop throughout the world. In Greece there are many areas which have specialized in garlic cultivation through the last decades, considered the main production areas. However, despite the significance of garlic as a food
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Garlic (Allium sativum L.) is an important vegetable crop throughout the world. In Greece there are many areas which have specialized in garlic cultivation through the last decades, considered the main production areas. However, despite the significance of garlic as a food product and the high annual income of this crop, there is a decreasing trend in total cultivated area in Greece, and the local landraces are gradually neglected in favor of new imported genotypes. In the present study, garlic genotypes (local landraces/varieties, imported genotypes, commercial cultivars) from the main production regions of Greece were assessed for their chemical composition and quality (total soluble solids, dry matter content, nutritional value, mineral composition, organic acids, fatty acids content and free sugars content), and bulb morphology. The results of the present study showed significant diversity in quality features and bulb morphology, not only between the genotypes from different growing regions, but also between those of the same region. This result is interesting since it could be implemented for further improvement and valorization of this important vegetable crop through extensive breeding programs within the framework of sustainability and genetic, material conservation. Full article
(This article belongs to the collection Bioactive Compounds)
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Open AccessArticle Relationship between the Polymeric Ionization Degree and Powder and Surface Properties in Materials Derived from Poly(maleic anhydride-alt-octadecene)
Molecules 2018, 23(2), 320; doi:10.3390/molecules23020320
Received: 18 December 2017 / Revised: 17 January 2018 / Accepted: 1 February 2018 / Published: 2 February 2018
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Abstract
Polymeric materials derived from poly(maleic anhydride-alt-octadecene)—here referred as PAM-18—have shown interesting properties that make them potential pharmaceutical excipients. In this work, eight polymers derived from PAM-18 were obtained using NaOH and KOH at 1:1; 1:0.75, 1:0.5, and 1:0.25 molar ratios. The
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Polymeric materials derived from poly(maleic anhydride-alt-octadecene)—here referred as PAM-18—have shown interesting properties that make them potential pharmaceutical excipients. In this work, eight polymers derived from PAM-18 were obtained using NaOH and KOH at 1:1; 1:0.75, 1:0.5, and 1:0.25 molar ratios. The resulting products were labeled as PAM-18Na and PAM-18K, respectively. Each polymer was purified by ultrafiltration/lyophilization, and the ionization degree was determined by potentiometric studies, which was related to the zeta potential. The structural characterization was performed using the Fourier transform infrared (FT-IR) espectroscopy, differential scanning calorimetry (DSC), thermogravimetric analysis (TGA), and X-ray diffraction (XRD) techniques. The physical characterization was carried out by SEM, particle analysis, and humidity loss and gain studies; the surface studies were performed by the sessile drop method. PAM-18Na had ionization degrees of 95%, 63%, 39% and 22%, whereas those for PAM-18K were 99%, 52%, 35% and 20%, respectively. The results also showed that for higher inorganic base amounts used, the polymeric materials obtained possess high ionization degrees, which could form polymeric solutions or hetero-dispersed systems. Likewise, it was observed that for higher proportions of carboxylate groups in the polymeric structure, the capability to retain water is increased and, only can be eliminated by drying at temperatures greater than 160 °C. On the other hand, the modification of PAM-18 to its ionized forms led to the formation of powder materials with low flowability and surfaces that ranged from very hydrophobic to slightly wettable. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Functional Molecular Materials)
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle Carbamates as Potential Prodrugs and a New Warhead for HDAC Inhibition
Molecules 2018, 23(2), 321; doi:10.3390/molecules23020321
Received: 10 January 2018 / Revised: 25 January 2018 / Accepted: 31 January 2018 / Published: 2 February 2018
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Abstract
We designed and synthesized carbamates of the clinically-approved HDAC (histone deacetylase) inhibitor vorinostat (suberoylanilide hydroxamic acid, SAHA) in order to validate our previously-proposed hypothesis that these carbamates might serve as prodrugs for hydroxamic acid containing HDAC inhibitors. Biochemical assays proved our new compounds
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We designed and synthesized carbamates of the clinically-approved HDAC (histone deacetylase) inhibitor vorinostat (suberoylanilide hydroxamic acid, SAHA) in order to validate our previously-proposed hypothesis that these carbamates might serve as prodrugs for hydroxamic acid containing HDAC inhibitors. Biochemical assays proved our new compounds to be potent inhibitors of histone deacetylases in vitro, and they also showed antiproliferative effects in leukemic cells. These results, as well as stability analysis led to the suggestion that the intact carbamates are inhibitors of histone deacetylases themselves, representing a new zinc-binding warhead in HDAC inhibitor design. This suggestion was further supported by the synthesis and evaluation of a carbamate derivative of the HDAC6-selective inhibitor bufexamac. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Modulators of Histone Acetylation: A Medicinal Chemistry Perspective)
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Open AccessArticle Oleanolic Acid-amino Acids Derivatives: Design, Synthesis, and Hepatoprotective Evaluation In Vitro and In Vivo
Molecules 2018, 23(2), 322; doi:10.3390/molecules23020322
Received: 8 January 2018 / Revised: 30 January 2018 / Accepted: 1 February 2018 / Published: 2 February 2018
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Abstract
Activated hepatic stellate cells (HSCs) are the main extracellular matrix (ECM)-producing cells in the injured liver and the key mediators of liver fibrosis; they also promote the progression of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). In the acidic extracellular microenvironment of HCC, HSCs are activated to
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Activated hepatic stellate cells (HSCs) are the main extracellular matrix (ECM)-producing cells in the injured liver and the key mediators of liver fibrosis; they also promote the progression of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). In the acidic extracellular microenvironment of HCC, HSCs are activated to promote the migration of HCC cells. It is worth attempting to alter the weak acidic microenvironment to promote activated HSC apoptosis to treat liver fibrosis and liver cancer. In the present study, a series of novel OA-amino acids analogues were designed and synthesized to introduce different amino acids in the 3-hydroxyl of OA using the ester condensation reaction to enhance hydrophilicity, alkalinity, and biological activity. We found that OA-lysine derivative (3g) could improve the hydrophilic of OA and induce HSCs apoptosis via inducing MMP depolarization and increasing intracellular Ca2+ levels. Additionally, 3g displayed a better hepatoprotective effect than OA (20 mg/kg, intragastric administration) against the acute liver injury induced by carbon tetrachloride (CCl4) in mice. The results suggested that basic amino acids (lysine) could effectively enhance OA’s hydrophilicity, alkalinity, and hepatoprotective activity in vitro and in vivo, which might be likely associated with increasing bioavailability and altering an extracellular weak acidic microenvironment with further verification. Therefore, the OA-lysine derivative (3g) has the potential to be developed as an agent with hepatoprotective activity. Full article
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Open AccessArticle The Biological Properties and Potential Interacting Proteins of d-Alanyl-d-alanine Ligase A from Mycobacterium tuberculosis
Molecules 2018, 23(2), 324; doi:10.3390/molecules23020324
Received: 21 December 2017 / Revised: 23 January 2018 / Accepted: 1 February 2018 / Published: 3 February 2018
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Abstract
(1) Background: d-alanine-d-alanine ligase (DdlA), an effective target for drug development to combat against Mycobacterium tuberculosis (Mtb), which threatens human health globally, supplies a substrate of d-alanyl-d-alanine for peptidoglycan crosslinking by catalyzing the dimerization of
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(1) Background: d-alanine-d-alanine ligase (DdlA), an effective target for drug development to combat against Mycobacterium tuberculosis (Mtb), which threatens human health globally, supplies a substrate of d-alanyl-d-alanine for peptidoglycan crosslinking by catalyzing the dimerization of two d-alanines. To obtain a better understanding of DdlA profiles and develop a colorimetric assay for high-throughput inhibitor screening, we focused on explicating and characterizing Tb-DdlA. (2) Methods and Results: Rv2981c (ddlA) was expressed in Escherichia coli, and the purified Tb-DdlA was identified using (anti)-polyhistidine antibody followed by DdlA activity confirmation by measuring the released orthophosphate via colorimetric assay and the yielded d-alanyl-d-alanine through high performance thin layer chromatography (HP-TLC). The kinetic assays on Tb-DdlA indicated that Tb-DdlA exhibited a higher affinity to ATP (KmATP: 50.327 ± 4.652 μmol/L) than alanine (KmAla: 1.011 ± 0.094 mmol/L). A colorimetric assay for Tb-DdlA activity was developed for high-throughput screening of DdlA inhibitors in this study. In addition, we presented an analysis on Tb-DdlA interaction partners by pull-down assay and MS/MS. Eight putative interaction partners of Tb-DdlA were identified. (3) Conclusions: Our dataset provided a valuable resource for exploring Tb-DdlA biology, and developed an easy colorimetric assay for screening of Tb-DdlA inhibitors. Full article
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Open AccessArticle A Novel Flavonoid Glucoside from the Fruits of Lycium ruthenicun
Molecules 2018, 23(2), 325; doi:10.3390/molecules23020325
Received: 3 January 2018 / Revised: 23 January 2018 / Accepted: 28 January 2018 / Published: 3 February 2018
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Abstract
A novel flavonoid glucoside, ruthenicunoid A (1), together with eight known substances, were isolated from the fruits of Lycium ruthenicun Murr. Their structures were elucidated by extensive spectroscopic data and chemical methods. Especially, the absolute configuration of glucose residue in 1
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A novel flavonoid glucoside, ruthenicunoid A (1), together with eight known substances, were isolated from the fruits of Lycium ruthenicun Murr. Their structures were elucidated by extensive spectroscopic data and chemical methods. Especially, the absolute configuration of glucose residue in 1 was assigned by acid hydrolysis followed by derivatization and GC analysis. Biological evaluation towards Sirtuin 1 (SIRT1) found that compounds 1 and 2 exhibit inhibitory activity against SIRT1 in a concentration-dependent manner, indicating its potential on SIRT1-associated disorders. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Non-Imidazole Histamine H3 Ligands. Part VII. Synthesis, In Vitro and In Vivo Characterization of 5-Substituted-2-thiazol-4-n-propylpiperazines
Molecules 2018, 23(2), 326; doi:10.3390/molecules23020326
Received: 18 January 2018 / Revised: 31 January 2018 / Accepted: 1 February 2018 / Published: 3 February 2018
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Abstract
H3 receptors present on histaminergic and non-histaminergic neurons, act as autoreceptors or heteroreceptors controlling neurotransmitter release and synthesis. Previous, studies have found that the compound N-methyl-N-3-phenylalkyl-2-[2-(4-n-propylpiperazin-1-yl)-1,3-thiazol-5-yl]ethan-1-amine (ADS-531, 2c) exhibits high in vitro potency toward H3 guinea
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H3 receptors present on histaminergic and non-histaminergic neurons, act as autoreceptors or heteroreceptors controlling neurotransmitter release and synthesis. Previous, studies have found that the compound N-methyl-N-3-phenylalkyl-2-[2-(4-n-propylpiperazin-1-yl)-1,3-thiazol-5-yl]ethan-1-amine (ADS-531, 2c) exhibits high in vitro potency toward H3 guinea pig jejunal receptors, with pA2 = 8.27. To optimize the structure of the lead compound ADS-531, a series of 5-substituted-2-thiazol-4-n-propylpiperazines 3 were synthesized and subjected to in vitro pharmacological characterization; the alkyl chain between position 2 of the thiazole ring and the terminal secondary N-methylamino function was elongated from three to four methylene groups and the N-methylamino functionality was substituted by benzyl-, 2-phenylethyl-, and 3-phenyl-propyl- moieties. SAR studies on novel non-imidazole, 5-substituted-2-thiazol-4-n-propyl-piperazines 3 showed that the most active compound 3a (pA2 = 8.38), additionally possessed a weak competitive H1-antagonistic activity. Therefore, compound ADS-531, which did not exhibit any H1-antagonistic activity, was chosen for further evaluation for its affinity to the recombinant rat and human histamine H3 receptors (rH3R and hH3R, respectively). ADS-531 exhibited nanomolar affinity for both rH3R and hH3R receptors. It was also shown that, ADS-531 given subchronically to rats (s.c. 3 mg/kg, 5 days) penetrated the brain, where it affected dopamine, noradrenaline and serotonin concentration; however, it did not affect histamine concentration nor feeding behavior. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Focusing on Sulfur in Medicinal Chemistry)
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle Synthesis of Two Tetrasaccharide Pentenyl Glycosides Related to the Pectic Rhamnogalacturonan I Polysaccharide
Molecules 2018, 23(2), 327; doi:10.3390/molecules23020327
Received: 16 January 2018 / Revised: 29 January 2018 / Accepted: 1 February 2018 / Published: 3 February 2018
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Abstract
The synthesis of two protected tetrasaccharide pentenyl glycosides with diarabinan and digalactan branching related to the pectic polysaccharide rhamnogalacturonan I is reported. The strategy relies on the coupling of N-phenyl trifluoroacetimidate disaccharide donors to a common rhamnosyl acceptor. The resulting trisaccharide thioglycosides
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The synthesis of two protected tetrasaccharide pentenyl glycosides with diarabinan and digalactan branching related to the pectic polysaccharide rhamnogalacturonan I is reported. The strategy relies on the coupling of N-phenyl trifluoroacetimidate disaccharide donors to a common rhamnosyl acceptor. The resulting trisaccharide thioglycosides were finally coupled to an n-pentenyl galactoside acceptor to access the two protected branched tetrasaccharides. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Oligosaccharide Synthesis)
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Open AccessArticle Prediction of Disordered Regions and Their Roles in the Anti-Pathogenic and Immunomodulatory Functions of Butyrophilins
Molecules 2018, 23(2), 328; doi:10.3390/molecules23020328
Received: 8 January 2018 / Revised: 31 January 2018 / Accepted: 1 February 2018 / Published: 4 February 2018
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Abstract
Butyrophilins (BTNs) are a group of the moonlighting proteins, some members of which are secreted in milk. They constitute a large family of structurally similar type 1 transmembrane proteins from the immunoglobulin superfamily. Although the founding member of this family is related to
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Butyrophilins (BTNs) are a group of the moonlighting proteins, some members of which are secreted in milk. They constitute a large family of structurally similar type 1 transmembrane proteins from the immunoglobulin superfamily. Although the founding member of this family is related to lactation, participating in the secretion, formation and stabilization of milk fat globules, it may also have a cell surface receptor function. Generally, the BTN family members are known to modulate co-stimulatory responses, T cell selection, differentiation, and cell fate determination. Polymorphism of these genes was shown to be associated with the pathology of several human diseases. Despite their biological significance, structural information on human butyrophilins is rather limited. Based on their remarkable multifunctionality, butyrophilins seem to belong to the category of moonlighting proteins, which are known to contain intrinsically disordered protein regions (IDPRs). However, the disorder status of human BTNs was not systematically investigated as of yet. The goal of this study is to fill this gap and to evaluate peculiarities of intrinsic disorder predisposition of the members of human BTN family, and to find if they have IDPRs that can be attributed to the multifunctionality of these important proteins. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Bioorganic Chemistry)
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Open AccessArticle Role of Cationic Side Chains in the Antimicrobial Activity of C18G
Molecules 2018, 23(2), 329; doi:10.3390/molecules23020329
Received: 11 January 2018 / Revised: 23 January 2018 / Accepted: 1 February 2018 / Published: 4 February 2018
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Abstract
Antimicrobial peptides (AMPs) have been an area of great interest, due to the high selectivity of these molecules toward bacterial targets over host cells and the limited development of bacterial resistance to these molecules throughout evolution. The peptide C18G has been shown to
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Antimicrobial peptides (AMPs) have been an area of great interest, due to the high selectivity of these molecules toward bacterial targets over host cells and the limited development of bacterial resistance to these molecules throughout evolution. The peptide C18G has been shown to be a selective, broad spectrum AMP with a net +8 cationic charge from seven lysine residues in the sequence. In this work, the cationic Lys residues were replaced with other natural or non-proteinogenic cationic amino acids: arginine, histidine, ornithine, or diaminopropionic acid. These changes vary in the structure of the amino acid side chain, the identity of the cationic moiety, and the pKa of the cationic group. Using a combination of spectroscopic and microbiological methods, the influence of these cationic groups on membrane binding, secondary structure, and antibacterial activity was investigated. The replacement of Lys with most other cationic residues had, at most, 2-fold effects on minimal inhibitory concentration against a variety of Gram-positive and Gram-negative bacteria. However, the peptide containing His as the cationic group showed dramatically reduced activity. All peptide variants retained the ability to bind lipid vesicles and showed clear preference for binding vesicles that contained anionic lipids. Similarly, all peptides adopted a helical conformation when bound to lipids or membrane mimetics, although the peptide containing diaminopropionic acid exhibited a decreased helicity. The peptides exhibited a wider variety of activity in the permeabilization of bacterial membranes, with peptides containing Lys, Arg, or Orn being the most broadly active. In all, the antibacterial activity of the C18G peptide is generally tolerant to changes in the structure and identity of the cationic amino acids, yielding new possibilities for design and development of AMPs that may be less susceptible to immune and bacterial recognition or in vivo degradation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Antimicrobial Peptides and Peptidomimetics)
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Open AccessArticle Non-Covalent Supported of l-Proline on Graphene Oxide/Fe3O4 Nanocomposite: A Novel, Highly Efficient and Superparamagnetically Separable Catalyst for the Synthesis of Bis-Pyrazole Derivatives
Molecules 2018, 23(2), 330; doi:10.3390/molecules23020330
Received: 1 December 2017 / Revised: 12 January 2018 / Accepted: 14 January 2018 / Published: 5 February 2018
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Abstract
A superparamagnetic graphene oxide/Fe3O4/l-proline nano hybrid that was obtained from the non-covalent immobilization of l-proline on graphene oxide/Fe3O4 nanocomposite was used as a new magnetically separable catalyst for the efficient synthesis of 4,4′-(arylmethylene)
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A superparamagnetic graphene oxide/Fe3O4/l-proline nano hybrid that was obtained from the non-covalent immobilization of l-proline on graphene oxide/Fe3O4 nanocomposite was used as a new magnetically separable catalyst for the efficient synthesis of 4,4′-(arylmethylene)bis(1H-pyrazol-5-ol) derivatives. The prepared heterogeneous catalyst was characterized using FTIR, TGA, DTG, XRD, TEM, SEM, and elemental analysis techniques. Short reaction times (5–15 min), excellent yields (87–98%), and simple experimental procedure with an easy work-up are some of the advantages of the introduced catalyst. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Nanochemistry)
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Open AccessArticle Anti-Inflammatory Effect of Melittin on Porphyromonas Gingivalis LPS-Stimulated Human Keratinocytes
Molecules 2018, 23(2), 332; doi:10.3390/molecules23020332
Received: 5 January 2018 / Revised: 31 January 2018 / Accepted: 31 January 2018 / Published: 5 February 2018
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Abstract
Periodontitis is a chronic inflammatory disease that contributes to the destruction of the gingiva. Porphyromonas gingivalis (P. gingivalis) can cause periodontitis via its pathogenic lipopolysaccharides (LPS). Melittin, a major component of bee venom, is known to have anti-inflammatory and antibacterial effects.
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Periodontitis is a chronic inflammatory disease that contributes to the destruction of the gingiva. Porphyromonas gingivalis (P. gingivalis) can cause periodontitis via its pathogenic lipopolysaccharides (LPS). Melittin, a major component of bee venom, is known to have anti-inflammatory and antibacterial effects. However, the role of melittin in the inflammatory response has not been elucidated in periodontitis-like human keratinocytes. Therefore, we investigated the anti-inflammatory effects of melittin on a P. gingivalis LPS (PgLPS)-treated HaCaT human keratinocyte cell line. The cytotoxicity of melittin was measured using a human keratinocyte cell line, HaCaT, and a Cell Counting Kit-8. The effect of melittin on PgLPS-induced inflammation was determined with Western blot, real-time quantitative PCT, and immunofluorescence. PgLPS increased the expression of toll-like receptor (TLR) 4 and proinflammatory cytokines, such as tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF-α), interleukin (IL)-6, IL-8, and interferon-γ (IFN-γ). Moreover, PgLPS induced activation of the nuclear factor kappa-light-chain-enhancer of activated B cells (NF-κB), extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK), and protein kinase B/Akt. Melittin also inhibited the expression of proinflammatory cytokines by suppressing the activation of the NF-κB signaling pathway, ERK, and Akt. Melittin attenuates the PgLPS-induced inflammatory response and could therefore be applied in the treatment of periodontitis for anti-inflammatory effects. Full article
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