Biomolecules2015, 5(2), 306-317; doi:10.3390/biom5020306 (registering DOI) - published 27 March 2015 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Bacterial asparaginases (amidohydrolases, EC 22.214.171.124) are important enzymes in cancer therapy, especially for Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia. They are tetrameric enzymes able to catalyze the deamination of L-ASN and, to a variable extent, of L-GLN, on which leukemia cells are dependent for survival. In contrast to other known L-asparaginases, Helicobacter pylori CCUG 17874 type II enzyme (HpASNase) is cooperative and has a low affinity towards L-GLN. In this study, some critical amino acids forming the active site of HpASNase (T16, T95 and E289) have been tackled by rational engineering in the attempt to better define their role in catalysis and to achieve a deeper understanding of the peculiar cooperative behavior of this enzyme. Mutations T16E, T95D and T95H led to a complete loss of enzymatic activity. Mutation E289A dramatically reduced the catalytic activity of the enzyme, but increased its thermostability. Interestingly, E289 belongs to a loop that is very variable in L-asparaginases from the structure, sequence and length point of view, and which could be a main determinant of their different catalytic features.
Biomolecules2015, 5(2), 282-305; doi:10.3390/biom5020282 - published 25 March 2015 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: In a number of neurological diseases including Parkinson’s disease (PD), α‑synuclein is aberrantly folded, forming abnormal oligomers, and amyloid fibrils within nerve cells. Strong evidence exists for the toxicity of increased production and aggregation of α-synuclein in vivo. The toxicity of α-synuclein is popularly attributed to the formation of “toxic oligomers”: a heterogenous and poorly characterized group of conformers that may share common molecular features. This review presents the available evidence on the properties of α-synuclein oligomers and the potential molecular mechanisms of their cellular disruption. Toxic α-synuclein oligomers may impact cells in a number of ways, including the disruption of membranes, mitochondrial depolarization, cytoskeleton changes, impairment of protein clearance pathways, and enhanced oxidative stress. We also examine the relationship between α-synuclein toxic oligomers and amyloid fibrils, in the light of recent studies that paint a more complex picture of α-synuclein toxicity. Finally, methods of studying and manipulating oligomers within cells are described.
Biomolecules2015, 5(1), 263-281; doi:10.3390/biom5010263 - published 20 March 2015 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: The mRNA binding protein HuR is over expressed in cancer cells and contributes to disease progression through post-transcriptional regulation of mRNA. The regulation of HuR and how this relates to glioma is the focus of this report. SRC and c-Abl kinases regulate HuR sub-cellular trafficking and influence accumulation in the pericentriolar matrix (PCM) via a growth factor dependent signaling mechanism. Growth factor stimulation of glioma cell lines results in the associate of HuR with the PCM and amplification of centrosome number. This process is regulated by tyrosine phosphorylation of HuR and is abolished by mutating tyrosine residues. HuR is overexpressed in tumor samples from patients with glioblastoma and associated with a reduced survival. These findings suggest HuR plays a significant role in centrosome amplification and genomic instability, which contributes to a worse disease outcome.
Biomolecules2015, 5(1), 244-262; doi:10.3390/biom5010244 - published 18 March 2015 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: A review of the fabrication of polysaccharide ion gels with ionic liquids is presented. From various polysaccharides, the corresponding ion gels were fabricated through the dissolution with ionic liquids. As ionic liquids, in the most cases, 1-butyl-3-methylimidazolium chloride has been used, whereas 1-allyl-3methylimidazolium acetate was specifically used for chitin. The resulting ion gels have been characterized by suitable analytical measurements. Characterization of a pregel state by viscoelastic measurement provided the molecular weight information. Furthermore, the polysaccharide ion gels have been converted into value-added sustainable materials by appropriate procedures, such as exchange with other disperse media and regeneration.
Biomolecules2015, 5(1), 223-243; doi:10.3390/biom5010223 - published 17 March 2015 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: The increased expression of pro-inflammatory and pro-angiogenic chemokines contributes to ovarian cancer progression through the induction of tumor cell proliferation, survival, angiogenesis, and metastasis. The substantial potential of these chemokines to facilitate the progression and metastasis of ovarian cancer underscores the need for their stringent transcriptional regulation. In this Review, we highlight the key mechanisms that regulate the transcription of pro-inflammatory chemokines in ovarian cancer cells, and that have important roles in controlling ovarian cancer progression. We further discuss the potential mechanisms underlying the increased chemokine expression in drug resistance, along with our perspective for future studies.
Biomolecules2015, 5(1), 194-222; doi:10.3390/biom5010194 - published 16 March 2015 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) is a very complex and multifactorial metabolic disease characterized by insulin resistance and β cell failure leading to elevated blood glucose levels. Hyperglycemia is suggested to be the main cause of diabetic complications, which not only decrease life quality and expectancy, but are also becoming a problem regarding the financial burden for health care systems. Therefore, and to counteract the continually increasing prevalence of diabetes, understanding the pathogenesis, the main risk factors, and the underlying molecular mechanisms may establish a basis for prevention and therapy. In this regard, research was performed revealing further evidence that oxidative stress has an important role in hyperglycemia-induced tissue injury as well as in early events relevant for the development of T2DM. The formation of advanced glycation end products (AGEs), a group of modified proteins and/or lipids with damaging potential, is one contributing factor. On the one hand it has been reported that AGEs increase reactive oxygen species formation and impair antioxidant systems, on the other hand the formation of some AGEs is induced per se under oxidative conditions. Thus, AGEs contribute at least partly to chronic stress conditions in diabetes. As AGEs are not only formed endogenously, but also derive from exogenous sources, i.e., food, they have been assumed as risk factors for T2DM. However, the role of AGEs in the pathogenesis of T2DM and diabetic complications—if they are causal or simply an effect—is only partly understood. This review will highlight the involvement of AGEs in the development and progression of T2DM and their role in diabetic complications.