Abstract: Synergistic interactions among peptides and receptors of the insulin family are required for glucose homeostasis, normal cellular growth and development, proliferation, differentiation and other metabolic processes. The peptides of the insulin family are disulfide-linked single or dual-chain proteins, while receptors are ligand-activated transmembrane glycoproteins of the receptor tyrosine kinase (RTK) superfamily. Binding of ligands to the extracellular domains of receptors is known to initiate signaling via activation of intracellular kinase domains. While the structure of insulin has been known since 1969, recent decades have seen remarkable progress on the structural biology of apo and liganded receptor fragments. Here, we review how this useful structural information (on ligands and receptors) has enabled large-scale atomically-resolved simulations to elucidate the conformational dynamics of these biomolecules. Particularly, applications of molecular dynamics (MD) and Monte Carlo (MC) simulation methods are discussed in various contexts, including studies of isolated ligands, apo-receptors, ligand/receptor complexes and intracellular kinase domains. The review concludes with a brief overview and future outlook for modeling and computational studies in this family of proteins.
Abstract: The mechanical properties of cell-sized giant unilamellar liposomes were studied by manipulating polystyrene beads encapsulated within the liposomes using double-beam laser tweezers. Mechanical forces were applied to the liposomes from within by moving the beads away from each other, which caused the liposomes to elongate. Subsequently, a tubular membrane projection was generated in the tip at either end of the liposome, or the bead moved out from the laser trap. The force required for liposome transformation reached maximum strength just before formation of the projection or the moving out of the bead. By employing this manipulation system, we investigated the effects of membrane lipid compositions and environment solutions on the mechanical properties. With increasing content of acidic phospholipids, such as phosphatidylglycerol or phosphatidic acid, a larger strength of force was required for the liposome transformation. Liposomes prepared with a synthetic dimyristoylphosphatidylcholine, which has uniform hydrocarbon chains, were transformed easily compared with liposomes prepared using natural phosphatidylcholine. Surprisingly, bovine serum albumin or fetuin (soluble proteins that do not bind to membranes) decreased liposomal membrane rigidity, whereas the same concentration of sucrose showed no particular effect. These results show that the mechanical properties of liposomes depend on their lipid composition and environment.
Abstract: In this work, a supported ionic liquid membrane (SILM) was prepared by impregnating a PVDF membrane with 1-butyl-3-methylimidazolium dicyanamide ([BMIM][DCA]) ionic liquid. This membrane was tested for its permeability to pure gases (CO2, N2 and O2) and ideal selectivities were calculated. The SILM performance was also compared to that of Ion-Jelly® membranes, a new type of gelled membranes developed recently. It was found that the PVDF membrane presents permeabilities for pure gases similar or lower to those presented by the Ion-Jelly® membranes, but with increased ideal selectivities. This membrane presents also the highest ideal selectivity (73) for the separation of CO2 from N2 when compared with SILMs using the same PVDF support but with different ionic liquids.
Abstract: Polyvinylidene fluoride (PVDF) membranes were exposed vertically to a high energy electron beam (EB) in air, at room temperature. The chemical changes were examined by Fourier Transform Infrared Spectroscopy (FTIR). The surface morphologies were studied by Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM) and showed some changes in the pore size. Thermogravimetric (TGA) analysis represented an increase in the thermal stability of PVDF due to irradiation. Electron paramagnetic resonance (EPR) showed the presence of free radicals in the irradiated PVDF. The effect of EB irradiation on the electrical properties of the membranes was analyzed in order to determine the dielectric constant, and an increase in the dielectric constant was found on increasing the dose. The surface hydrophilicity of the modified membrane was characterized by water contact angle measurement. The contact angle decreased compared to the original angle, indicating an improvement of surface hydrophilicity. Filtration results also showed that the pure water flux (PWF) of the modified membrane was lower than that of the unirradiated membrane.
Abstract: We isolated a high-purity carp glycophorin from carp erythrocyte membranes and prepared the oligosaccharide fraction from glycophorin by β-elimination . The oligosaccharide fraction was separated into two components (P-1 and P-2) using a Glyco-Pak DEAE column. These O-linked oligosaccharides (P-1 and P-2) were composed of glucose, galactose, fucose, N-acetylgalactosamine and N-glycolylneuraminic acid (NeuGc). The P-1 and P-2 contained one and two NeuGc residues, respectively, and the P-1 exhibited bacteriostatic activity . Using NMR and GC-MS, we determined that the structure of the bacteriostatic P-1 was NeuGcα2→6 (Fucα1→4) (Glcα1→3) Galβ1→4GalNAc-ol. This O-linked oligosaccharide was unique for a vertebrate with respect to the hexosamine and hexose linkages and its non-chain structure.