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Molecules, Volume 26, Issue 5 (March-1 2021) – 299 articles

Cover Story (view full-size image): Boron neutron capture therapy is a promising binary therapeutic method for cancer treatment based on the capture of thermal neutrons by the 10B isotope, followed by a fission reaction resulting in high-energy α-particles and 7Li nuclei, which have a short range in biological tissues comparable to the size of cells. This allows tumor cells to be selectively destroyed without affecting the surrounding healthy tissue. The 157Gd isotope has the highest thermal neutron capture cross-section of all stable nuclides and its presence can significantly increase the effect of neutron capture therapy when a combined drug is localized near the cell nucleus. Therefore, the synthesis of a stable complex in which gadolinium is a part of a metallacarborane cluster is a real challenge for boron chemists. View this paper
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Open AccessArticle
Thermal Charging Optimization of a Wavy-Shaped Nano-Enhanced Thermal Storage Unit
Molecules 2021, 26(5), 1496; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules26051496 - 09 Mar 2021
Viewed by 434
Abstract
A wavy shape was used to enhance the thermal heat transfer in a shell-tube latent heat thermal energy storage (LHTES) unit. The thermal storage unit was filled with CuO–coconut oil nano-enhanced phase change material (NePCM). The enthalpy-porosity approach was employed to model the [...] Read more.
A wavy shape was used to enhance the thermal heat transfer in a shell-tube latent heat thermal energy storage (LHTES) unit. The thermal storage unit was filled with CuO–coconut oil nano-enhanced phase change material (NePCM). The enthalpy-porosity approach was employed to model the phase change heat transfer in the presence of natural convection effects in the molten NePCM. The finite element method was applied to integrate the governing equations for fluid motion and phase change heat transfer. The impact of wave amplitude and wave number of the heated tube, as well as the volume concertation of nanoparticles on the full-charging time of the LHTES unit, was addressed. The Taguchi optimization method was used to find an optimum design of the LHTES unit. The results showed that an increase in the volume fraction of nanoparticles reduces the charging time. Moreover, the waviness of the tube resists the natural convection flow circulation in the phase change domain and could increase the charging time. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Assessing Adherence to Antihypertensive Medication by Means of Dose-Dependent Reference Plasma Concentration Ranges and Ultra-High Performance Liquid Chromatography-Ion Trap Mass Spectrometry Analysis
Molecules 2021, 26(5), 1495; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules26051495 - 09 Mar 2021
Viewed by 394
Abstract
Poor adherence to antihypertensive drug therapy is a well-recognized problem and can be assessed by mass spectrometry-based analyses of body fluids. However, contrary statements exist whether drug quantification in blood or qualitative screening in urine is more suitable. The present pilot study aimed [...] Read more.
Poor adherence to antihypertensive drug therapy is a well-recognized problem and can be assessed by mass spectrometry-based analyses of body fluids. However, contrary statements exist whether drug quantification in blood or qualitative screening in urine is more suitable. The present pilot study aimed to further elucidate the power of blood plasma drug concentrations for adherence monitoring by developing and validating a quantification procedure for nine antihypertensive drugs (amlodipine, bisoprolol, candesartan, canrenone, carvedilol, metoprolol, olmesartan, torasemide, and valsartan) in blood plasma using liquid–liquid extraction and an ultra-high-performance liquid chromatography-ion trap mass spectrometry analysis. The procedure should then be used for an adherence assessment and compared with the results of an established qualitative urine screening. Selectivity, carryover, matrix effect, accuracy, precision, dilution integrity, and stability were successfully validated, except for amlodipine. The applicability was demonstrated by analyzing 19 plasma samples containing 28 antihypertensive drugs and comparing the measured concentrations with calculated dose-dependent reference plasma concentration ranges. The interpretation of plasma concentrations was found to be more sophisticated and time-consuming than that of urine screening results, and adherence could not be assessed in two cases (10%) due to measured plasma concentrations below the lower limit of quantification. However, 14 out of 19 subjects were classified as adherent (75%) and three as nonadherent (15%), in contrast to 19 (100%) that were claimed to be adherent based on the results of the qualitative urine screening. Nevertheless, further data is needed to estimate whether plasma quantification is superior in terms of assessing adherence to antihypertensive medication. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Bioanalysis and Biological Matrix Sampling)
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
New Solids in As-O-Mo, As(P)-O-Mo(W) and As(P)-O-Nb(W) Systems That Exhibit Nonlinear Optical Properties
Molecules 2021, 26(5), 1494; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules26051494 - 09 Mar 2021
Viewed by 323
Abstract
Interactions between well-mixed fine powders of As2O3, P2O5, MoO3, WO3 and Nb2O5 at different stoichiometry in quartz ampoules under vacuum at ~1000 °C in the presence of metallic molybdenum [...] Read more.
Interactions between well-mixed fine powders of As2O3, P2O5, MoO3, WO3 and Nb2O5 at different stoichiometry in quartz ampoules under vacuum at ~1000 °C in the presence of metallic molybdenum (or niobium), over several weeks, led to shiny dichroic crystalline materials being formed in cooler parts of the reaction vessel. An addition of small quantities of metals-Mo or Nb-was made with the aim of partially reducing their highly oxidized Mo(VI), W(VI) or Nb(V) species to corresponding Mo(V), W(V) and Nb(IV) centers, in order to form mixed valence solids. Sublimed crystals of four new compounds were investigated using a variety of techniques, with prime emphasis on the X-ray analysis, followed by spectroscopy (diffusion reflectance, IR, Raman and EPR), second harmonic generation (SHG), thermal analysis under N2 and air atmosphere, and single crystals electrical conductivity studies. The results evidenced the formation of new complex solids of previously unknown compositions and structures. Three out of four compounds crystallized in non-centrosymmetric space groups and represent layered 2D polymeric puckered structures that being stacked on each other form 3D lattices. All new solids exhibit strong second-harmonic-generation (SHG effect; based on YAG 1064 nm tests with detection of 532 nm photons), and a rare photosalient effect when crystals physically move in the laser beam. Single crystals’ electrical conductivity of the four new synthesized compounds was measured, and the results showed their semiconductor behavior. Values of band gaps of these new solids were determined using diffusion reflectance spectroscopy in the visible region. Aspects of new solids’ practical usefulness are discussed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Recent Advances in Modern Inorganic Chemistry)
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Open AccessArticle
Synthesis and Antiviral Evaluation of (1,4-Disubstituted-1,2,3-Triazol)-(E)-2-Methyl-but-2-Enyl Nucleoside Phosphonate Prodrugs
Molecules 2021, 26(5), 1493; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules26051493 - 09 Mar 2021
Viewed by 440
Abstract
A series of hitherto unknown (1,4-disubstituted-1,2,3-triazol)-(E)-2-methyl-but-2-enyl nucleosides phosphonate prodrugs bearing 4-substituted-1,2,3-triazoles were prepared in a straight approach through an olefin acyclic cross metathesis as the key synthetic step. All novel compounds were evaluated for their antiviral activities against HBV, HIV and [...] Read more.
A series of hitherto unknown (1,4-disubstituted-1,2,3-triazol)-(E)-2-methyl-but-2-enyl nucleosides phosphonate prodrugs bearing 4-substituted-1,2,3-triazoles were prepared in a straight approach through an olefin acyclic cross metathesis as the key synthetic step. All novel compounds were evaluated for their antiviral activities against HBV, HIV and SARS-CoV-2. Among these molecules, only compound 15j, a hexadecyloxypropyl (HDP)/(isopropyloxycarbonyl-oxymethyl)-ester (POC) prodrug, showed activity against HBV in Huh7 cell cultures with 62% inhibition at 10 μM, without significant cytotoxicity (IC50 = 66.4 μM in HepG2 cells, IC50 = 43.1 μM in HepG2 cells) at 10 μM. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Synthesis of Antiviral Compounds)
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Open AccessArticle
Cytotoxicity of β-Cyclodextrins in Retinal Explants for Intravitreal Drug Formulations
Molecules 2021, 26(5), 1492; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules26051492 - 09 Mar 2021
Viewed by 441
Abstract
Cyclodextrins (CDs) have been widely used as pharmaceutical excipients for formulation purposes for different delivery systems. Recent studies have shown that CDs are able to form complexes with a variety of biomolecules, such as cholesterol. This has subsequently paved the way for the [...] Read more.
Cyclodextrins (CDs) have been widely used as pharmaceutical excipients for formulation purposes for different delivery systems. Recent studies have shown that CDs are able to form complexes with a variety of biomolecules, such as cholesterol. This has subsequently paved the way for the possibility of using CDs as drugs in certain retinal diseases, such as Stargardt disease and retinal artery occlusion, where CDs could absorb cholesterol lumps. However, studies on the retinal toxicity of CDs are limited. The purpose of this study was to examine the retinal toxicity of different beta-(β)CD derivatives and their localization within retinal tissues. To this end, we performed cytotoxicity studies with two different CDs—2-hydroxypropyl-βCD (HPβCD) and randomly methylated β-cyclodextrin (RMβCD)—using wild-type mouse retinal explants, the terminal deoxynucleotidyl transferase dUTP nick end labeling (TUNEL) assay, and fluorescence microscopy. RMβCD was found to be more toxic to retinal explants when compared to HPβCD, which the retina can safely tolerate at levels as high as 10 mM. Additionally, studies conducted with fluorescent forms of the same CDs showed that both CDs can penetrate deep into the inner nuclear layer of the retina, with some uptake by Müller cells. These results suggest that HPβCD is a safer option than RMβCD for retinal drug delivery and may advance the use of CDs in the development of drugs designed for intravitreal administration. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Cyclodextrin Chemistry and Toxicology)
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Open AccessArticle
Thermal Energy Storage and Heat Transfer of Nano-Enhanced Phase Change Material (NePCM) in a Shell and Tube Thermal Energy Storage (TES) Unit with a Partial Layer of Eccentric Copper Foam
Molecules 2021, 26(5), 1491; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules26051491 - 09 Mar 2021
Viewed by 414
Abstract
Thermal energy storage units conventionally have the drawback of slow charging response. Thus, heat transfer enhancement techniques are required to reduce charging time. Using nanoadditives is a promising approach to enhance the heat transfer and energy storage response time of materials that store [...] Read more.
Thermal energy storage units conventionally have the drawback of slow charging response. Thus, heat transfer enhancement techniques are required to reduce charging time. Using nanoadditives is a promising approach to enhance the heat transfer and energy storage response time of materials that store heat by undergoing a reversible phase change, so-called phase change materials. In the present study, a combination of such materials enhanced with the addition of nanometer-scale graphene oxide particles (called nano-enhanced phase change materials) and a layer of a copper foam is proposed to improve the thermal performance of a shell-and-tube latent heat thermal energy storage (LHTES) unit filled with capric acid. Both graphene oxide and copper nanoparticles were tested as the nanometer-scale additives. A geometrically nonuniform layer of copper foam was placed over the hot tube inside the unit. The metal foam layer can improve heat transfer with an increase of the composite thermal conductivity. However, it suppressed the natural convection flows and could reduce heat transfer in the molten regions. Thus, a metal foam layer with a nonuniform shape can maximize thermal conductivity in conduction-dominant regions and minimize its adverse impacts on natural convection flows. The heat transfer was modeled using partial differential equations for conservations of momentum and heat. The finite element method was used to solve the partial differential equations. A backward differential formula was used to control the accuracy and convergence of the solution automatically. Mesh adaptation was applied to increase the mesh resolution at the interface between phases and improve the quality and stability of the solution. The impact of the eccentricity and porosity of the metal foam layer and the volume fraction of nanoparticles on the energy storage and the thermal performance of the LHTES unit was addressed. The layer of the metal foam notably improves the response time of the LHTES unit, and a 10% eccentricity of the porous layer toward the bottom improved the response time of the LHTES unit by 50%. The presence of nanoadditives could reduce the response time (melting time) of the LHTES unit by 12%, and copper nanoparticles were slightly better than graphene oxide particles in terms of heat transfer enhancement. The design parameters of the eccentricity, porosity, and volume fraction of nanoparticles had minimal impact on the thermal energy storage capacity of the LHTES unit, while their impact on the melting time (response time) was significant. Thus, a combination of the enhancement method could practically reduce the thermal charging time of an LHTES unit without a significant increase in its size. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Phase Change Materials 2.0)
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Open AccessArticle
Design and Synthesis of Non-Covalent Imidazo[1,2-a]quinoxaline-Based Inhibitors of EGFR and Their Anti-Cancer Assessment
Molecules 2021, 26(5), 1490; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules26051490 - 09 Mar 2021
Viewed by 875
Abstract
A series of 30 non-covalent imidazo[1,2-a]quinoxaline-based inhibitors of epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) were designed and synthesized. EGFR inhibitory assessment (against wild type) data of compounds revealed 6b, 7h, 7j, 9a and 9c as potent EGFRWT inhibitors [...] Read more.
A series of 30 non-covalent imidazo[1,2-a]quinoxaline-based inhibitors of epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) were designed and synthesized. EGFR inhibitory assessment (against wild type) data of compounds revealed 6b, 7h, 7j, 9a and 9c as potent EGFRWT inhibitors with IC50 values of 211.22, 222.21, 193.18, 223.32 and 221.53 nM, respectively, which were comparable to erlotinib (221.03 nM), a positive control. Furthermore, compounds exhibited excellent antiproliferative activity when tested against cancer cell lines harboring EGFRWT; A549, a non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), HCT-116 (colon), MDA-MB-231 (breast) and gefitinib-resistant NSCLC cell line H1975 harboring EGFRL858R/T790M. In particular, compound 6b demonstrated significant inhibitory potential against gefitinib-resistant H1975 cells (IC50 = 3.65 μM) as compared to gefitinib (IC50 > 20 μM). Moreover, molecular docking disclosed the binding mode of the 6b to the domain of EGFR (wild type and mutant type), indicating the basis of inhibition. Furthermore, its effects on redox modulation, mitochondrial membrane potential, cell cycle analysis and cell death mode in A549 lung cancer cells were also reported. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Chemical Composition, Antioxidant and Cytoprotective Potentials of Carica papaya Leaf Extracts: A Comparison of Supercritical Fluid and Conventional Extraction Methods
Molecules 2021, 26(5), 1489; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules26051489 - 09 Mar 2021
Viewed by 422
Abstract
The leaves of Carica papaya (CP) are rich in natural antioxidants. Carica papaya has traditionally been used to treat various ailments, including skin diseases. This study aims to decipher the antioxidant effects and phytochemical content of different CP leaf extracts (CPEs) obtained using [...] Read more.
The leaves of Carica papaya (CP) are rich in natural antioxidants. Carica papaya has traditionally been used to treat various ailments, including skin diseases. This study aims to decipher the antioxidant effects and phytochemical content of different CP leaf extracts (CPEs) obtained using supercritical carbon dioxide (scCO2) and conventional extraction methods. The antioxidant activities of CPEs were evaluated by cell-free (1,1-diphenyl-2-picryl-hydrazyl (DPPH) and ferric-reduced antioxidative power (FRAP)) and cell-based (H2O2) assay. Both C. papaya leaf scCO2 extract with 5% ethanol (CPSCE) and C. papaya leaf scCO2 extract (CPSC) exhibited stronger DPPH radical scavenging activity than conventional extracts. In the FRAP assay, two hydrophilic extracts (C. papaya leaf ethanol extract (CPEE) and C. papaya freeze-dried leaf juice (CPFD)) showed relatively stronger reducing power compared to lipophilic extracts. Cell-based assays showed that CPFD significantly protected skin fibroblasts from H2O2-induced oxidative stress in both pre-and post-treatment. CPEE protected skin fibroblasts from oxidative stress in a dose-dependent manner while CPSCE significantly triggered the fibroblast recovery after treatment with H2O2. GC-MS analysis indicated that CPSCE had the highest α-tocopherol and squalene contents. By contrast, both CP hydrophilic extracts (CPEE and CPFD) had a higher total phenolic content (TPC) and rutin content than the lipophilic extracts. Overall, CPEs extracted using green and conventional extraction methods showed antioxidative potential in both cell-based and cell-free assays due to their lipophilic and hydrophilic antioxidants, respectively. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Processing of Materials by Supercritical Fluids)
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Open AccessReview
Development of CDK4/6 Inhibitors: A Five Years Update
Molecules 2021, 26(5), 1488; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules26051488 - 09 Mar 2021
Viewed by 467
Abstract
The inhibition of cyclin dependent kinases 4 and 6 plays a role in aromatase inhibitor resistant metastatic breast cancer. Three dual CDK4/6 inhibitors have been approved for the breast cancer treatment that, in combination with the endocrine therapy, dramatically improved the survival outcomes [...] Read more.
The inhibition of cyclin dependent kinases 4 and 6 plays a role in aromatase inhibitor resistant metastatic breast cancer. Three dual CDK4/6 inhibitors have been approved for the breast cancer treatment that, in combination with the endocrine therapy, dramatically improved the survival outcomes both in first and later line settings. The developments of the last five years in the search for new selective CDK4/6 inhibitors with increased selectivity, treatment efficacy, and reduced adverse effects are reviewed, considering the small-molecule inhibitors and proteolysis-targeting chimeras (PROTACs) approaches, mainly pointing at structure-activity relationships, selectivity against different kinases and antiproliferative activity. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Anticancer Inhibitors)
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Open AccessArticle
Tea as a Source of Biologically Active Compounds in the Human Diet
Molecules 2021, 26(5), 1487; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules26051487 - 09 Mar 2021
Viewed by 412
Abstract
Due to the different levels of bioactive compounds in tea reported in the literature, the aim of this study was to determine whether commercially available leaf teas could be an important source of phenolics and selected minerals (copper, manganese, iron, zinc, magnesium, calcium, [...] Read more.
Due to the different levels of bioactive compounds in tea reported in the literature, the aim of this study was to determine whether commercially available leaf teas could be an important source of phenolics and selected minerals (copper, manganese, iron, zinc, magnesium, calcium, sodium, potassium) and if the differences in the content of these components between various types of tea are significant. It was found that both the amount of these compounds in tea and the antioxidant activity of tea infusions were largely determined by the origin of tea leaves as well as the processing method, which can modify the content of the studied components up to several hundred-fold. The group of green teas was the best source of phenolic compounds (110.73 mg/100 mL) and magnesium (1885 µg/100 mL) and was also characterised by the highest antioxidant activity (59.02%). This type of tea is a great contributor to the daily intake of the studied components. The average consumption of green tea infusions, assumed to be 3–4 cups (1 L) a day, provides the body with health-promoting polyphenol levels significantly exceeding the recommended daily dose. Moreover, drinking one litre of an unfermented tea infusion provides more than three times the recommended daily intake of manganese. Tea infusions can be a fairly adequate, but only a supplementary, source of potassium, zinc, magnesium, and copper in the diet. Moreover, it could be concluded that the antioxidant activity of all the analysed types of tea infusions results not only from the high content of phenolic compounds and manganese but is also related to the presence of magnesium and potassium. Full article
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Open AccessReview
Recent Advances in Tannic Acid (Gallotannin) Anticancer Activities and Drug Delivery Systems for Efficacy Improvement; A Comprehensive Review
Molecules 2021, 26(5), 1486; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules26051486 - 09 Mar 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 660
Abstract
Tannic acid is a chief gallo-tannin belonging to the hydrolysable tannins extracted from gall nuts and other plant sources. A myriad of pharmaceutical and biological applications in the medical field has been well recognized to tannic acid. Among these effects, potential anticancer activities [...] Read more.
Tannic acid is a chief gallo-tannin belonging to the hydrolysable tannins extracted from gall nuts and other plant sources. A myriad of pharmaceutical and biological applications in the medical field has been well recognized to tannic acid. Among these effects, potential anticancer activities against several solid malignancies such as liver, breast, lung, pancreatic, colorectal and ovarian cancers have been reported. Tannic acid was found to play a maestro-role in tuning several oncological signaling pathways including JAK/STAT, RAS/RAF/mTOR, TGF-β1/TGF-β1R axis, VEGF/VEGFR and CXCL12/CXCR4 axes. The combinational beneficial effects of tannic acid with other conventional chemotherapeutic drugs have been clearly demonstrated in literature such as a synergistic anticancer effect and enhancement of the chemo-sensitivity in several resistant cases. Yet, clinical applications of tannic acid have been limited owing to its poor lipid solubility, low bioavailability, off-taste, and short half-life. To overcome such obstacles, novel drug delivery systems have been employed to deliver tannic acid with the aim of improving its applications and/or efficacy against cancer cells. Among these drug delivery systems are several types of organic and metallic nanoparticles. In this review, the authors focus on the molecular mechanisms of tannic acid in tuning several neoplastic diseases as well as novel drug delivery systems that can be used for its clinical applications with an attempt to provide a systemic reference to promote the development of tannic acid as a cheap drug and/or drug delivery system in cancer management. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Anticancer Drug Discovery)
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Open AccessArticle
Ezetimibe-Loaded Nanostructured Lipid Carrier Based Formulation Ameliorates Hyperlipidaemia in an Experimental Model of High Fat Diet
Molecules 2021, 26(5), 1485; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules26051485 - 09 Mar 2021
Viewed by 308
Abstract
Ezetimibe (EZE) possesses low aqueous solubility and poor bioavailability and in addition, its extensive hepatic metabolism supports the notion of developing a novel carrier system for EZE. Ezetimibe was encapsulated into nanostructured lipid carriers (EZE-NLCs) via a high pressure homogenization technique (HPH). A [...] Read more.
Ezetimibe (EZE) possesses low aqueous solubility and poor bioavailability and in addition, its extensive hepatic metabolism supports the notion of developing a novel carrier system for EZE. Ezetimibe was encapsulated into nanostructured lipid carriers (EZE-NLCs) via a high pressure homogenization technique (HPH). A three factor, two level (23) full factorial design was employed to study the effect of amount of poloxamer 188 (X1), pressure of HPH (X2) and number of HPH cycle (X3) on dependent variables. Particle size, polydispersity index (PDI), % entrapment efficiency (%EE), zeta potential, drug content and in-vitro drug release were evaluated. The optimized formulation displays pragmatic inferences associated with particle size of 134.5 nm; polydispersity index (PDI) of 0.244 ± 0.03; zeta potential of −28.1 ± 0.3 mV; % EE of 91.32 ± 1.8% and % CDR at 24-h of 97.11%. No interaction was observed after X-ray diffraction (XRD) and differential scanning calorimetry (DSC) studies. EZE-NLCs (6 mg/kg/day p.o.) were evaluated in the high fat diet fed rats induced hyperlipidemia in comparison with EZE (10 mg/kg/day p.o.). Triglyceride, HDL-c, LDL-c and cholesterol were significantly normalized and histopathological evaluation showed normal structure and architecture of the hepatocytes. The results demonstrated the superiority of EZE-NLCs in regard to bioavailability enhancement, dose reduction and dose-dependent side effects. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Fragrant Molecules with Pharmacological Activities)
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Open AccessArticle
Patterns in Protein Flexibility: A Comparison of NMR “Ensembles”, MD Trajectories, and Crystallographic B-Factors
Molecules 2021, 26(5), 1484; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules26051484 - 09 Mar 2021
Viewed by 596
Abstract
Proteins are molecular machines requiring flexibility to function. Crystallographic B-factors and Molecular Dynamics (MD) simulations both provide insights into protein flexibility on an atomic scale. Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR) lacks a universally accepted analog of the B-factor. However, a lack of convergence in [...] Read more.
Proteins are molecular machines requiring flexibility to function. Crystallographic B-factors and Molecular Dynamics (MD) simulations both provide insights into protein flexibility on an atomic scale. Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR) lacks a universally accepted analog of the B-factor. However, a lack of convergence in atomic coordinates in an NMR-based structure calculation also suggests atomic mobility. This paper describes a pattern in the coordinate uncertainties of backbone heavy atoms in NMR-derived structural “ensembles” first noted in the development of FindCore2 (previously called Expanded FindCore: DA Snyder, J Grullon, YJ Huang, R Tejero, GT Montelione, Proteins: Structure, Function, and Bioinformatics 82 (S2), 219–230) and demonstrates that this pattern exists in coordinate variances across MD trajectories but not in crystallographic B-factors. This either suggests that MD trajectories and NMR “ensembles” capture motional behavior of peptide bond units not captured by B-factors or indicates a deficiency common to force fields used in both NMR and MD calculations. Full article
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Open AccessEditorial
Special Issue “Lignocellulosic Biomass”
Molecules 2021, 26(5), 1483; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules26051483 - 09 Mar 2021
Viewed by 255
Abstract
The use of lignocellulosic biomass as potential raw material for fractionation and transformation into high value-added products or energy is gathering the attention of scientists worldwide in seeking to achieve a green transition in our production systems [...] Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Lignocellulosic Biomass)
Open AccessArticle
Preparation of Cellulose/Laponite Composite Particles and Their Enhanced Electrorheological Responses
Molecules 2021, 26(5), 1482; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules26051482 - 09 Mar 2021
Viewed by 271
Abstract
Cellulose, as a natural polymer with an abundant source, has been widely used in many fields including the electric field responsive medium that we are interested in. In this work, cellulose micron particles were applied as an electrorheological (ER) material. Because of the [...] Read more.
Cellulose, as a natural polymer with an abundant source, has been widely used in many fields including the electric field responsive medium that we are interested in. In this work, cellulose micron particles were applied as an electrorheological (ER) material. Because of the low ER effect of the raw cellulose, a composite particle of cellulose and Laponite was prepared via a dissolution–regeneration process. Scanning electron microscopy (SEM), Fourier-transform infrared spectroscopy (FT-IR) and X-ray diffraction (XRD) were used to observe the morphologies and structures of the composite particles, which were different from pristine cellulose and Laponite, respectively. The ER performances of raw cellulose and the prepared composite were measured by an Anton Paar rotational rheometer. It was found that the ER properties of the composite were more superior to those of raw cellulose due to the flake-like shapes of the composite particles with rough surface. Moreover, the sedimentation stability of composite improves drastically, which means better suspension stability. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Polysaccharides Materials)
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Open AccessReview
Conditionally Activated (“Caged”) Oligonucleotides
Molecules 2021, 26(5), 1481; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules26051481 - 09 Mar 2021
Viewed by 360
Abstract
Conditionally activated (“caged”) oligonucleotides provide useful spatiotemporal control for studying dynamic biological processes, e.g., regulating in vivo gene expression or probing specific oligonucleotide targets. This review summarizes recent advances in caging strategies, which involve different stimuli in the activation step. Oligo cyclization is [...] Read more.
Conditionally activated (“caged”) oligonucleotides provide useful spatiotemporal control for studying dynamic biological processes, e.g., regulating in vivo gene expression or probing specific oligonucleotide targets. This review summarizes recent advances in caging strategies, which involve different stimuli in the activation step. Oligo cyclization is a particularly attractive caging strategy, which simplifies the probe design and affords oligo stabilization. Our laboratory developed an efficient synthesis for circular caged oligos, and a circular caged antisense DNA oligo was successfully applied in gene regulation. A second technology is Transcriptome In Vivo Analysis (TIVA), where caged oligos enable mRNA isolation from single cells in living tissue. We highlight our development of TIVA probes with improved caging stability. Finally, we illustrate the first protease-activated oligo probe, which was designed for caspase-3. This expands the toolkit for investigating the transcriptome under a specific physiologic condition (e.g., apoptosis), particularly in specimens where light activation is impractical. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Synthesis and Applications of Oligonucleotide Conjugate II)
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Open AccessArticle
Meloxicam and Study of Their Antimicrobial Effects against Phyto- and Human Pathogens
Molecules 2021, 26(5), 1480; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules26051480 - 09 Mar 2021
Viewed by 339
Abstract
Recently, the design of new biological metal-ligand complexes has gained a special interest all over the world. In this research, new series of mixed ligand complexes from meloxicam (H2mel) and glycine (Gly) were synthesized. Structures of the compounds were investigated employing [...] Read more.
Recently, the design of new biological metal-ligand complexes has gained a special interest all over the world. In this research, new series of mixed ligand complexes from meloxicam (H2mel) and glycine (Gly) were synthesized. Structures of the compounds were investigated employing elemental analyses, infrared, electronic absorption, 1H NMR, thermal analyses, effective magnetic moment and conductivity. The estimated molar conductivity of the compounds in 1 × 10−3 M DMF solution indicates the non-electrolyte existence of the examined complexes. Additionally, the effective magnetic moment values refer to the complexes found as octahedral molecular geometry. The data of the infrared spectra showed the chelation of H2mel and Gly with metal ions from amide oxygen and nitrogen of the thyizol groups of H2mel and through nitrogen of the amide group and oxygen of the carboxylic group for Gly. Thermal analyses indicated that the new complexes have good thermal stability and initially lose hydration water molecules followed by coordinated water molecules, Gly and H2mel. The kinetic parameters were calculated graphically using Coats–Redfern and Horowitz–Metzeger methods at n = 1 and n ≠ 1. The density functional theory (DFT) calculations were performed at B3LYP levels. The optimized geometry of the ligand and its complexes were obtained based on the optimized structures. The data indicated that the complexes are soft with η value in the range 0.114 to 0.086, while η = 0.140 for free H2mel. The new prepared complexes were investigated as antibacterial and antifungal agents against some phyto- and human pathogens and the minimum inhibitory concentration (MIC) data showed that complex (A) has the lowest MIC for Listeria and E. coli (10.8 µg/mL). Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Exclusive Feature Papers in Organometallic Chemistry)
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Open AccessReview
Co-Opting Host Receptors for Targeted Delivery of Bioconjugates—From Drugs to Bugs
Molecules 2021, 26(5), 1479; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules26051479 - 09 Mar 2021
Viewed by 355
Abstract
Bioconjugation has allowed scientists to combine multiple functional elements into one biological or biochemical unit. This assembly can result in the production of constructs that are targeted to a specific site or cell type in order to enhance the response to, or activity [...] Read more.
Bioconjugation has allowed scientists to combine multiple functional elements into one biological or biochemical unit. This assembly can result in the production of constructs that are targeted to a specific site or cell type in order to enhance the response to, or activity of, the conjugated moiety. In the case of cancer treatments, selectively targeting chemotherapies to the cells of interest limit harmful side effects and enhance efficacy. Targeting through conjugation is also advantageous in delivering treatments to difficult-to-reach tissues, such as the brain or infections deep in the lung. Bacterial infections can be more selectively treated by conjugating antibiotics to microbe-specific entities; helping to avoid antibiotic resistance across commensal bacterial species. In the case of vaccine development, conjugation is used to enhance efficacy without compromising safety. In this work, we will review the previously mentioned areas in which bioconjugation has created new possibilities and advanced treatments. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Bioconjugation Strategies in Drug Delivery and Molecular Imaging)
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Open AccessArticle
Chemical Composition of Tomato Seed Flours, and Their Radical Scavenging, Anti-Inflammatory and Gut Microbiota Modulating Properties
Molecules 2021, 26(5), 1478; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules26051478 - 09 Mar 2021
Viewed by 384
Abstract
In the current study, the chemical composition and total phenolic content of tomato seed flours, along with potential health beneficial properties, including free radical scavenging capacities, anti-inflammatory capacities, and gut microbiota profile modulation, were examined using two different batches. Eight compounds were identified [...] Read more.
In the current study, the chemical composition and total phenolic content of tomato seed flours, along with potential health beneficial properties, including free radical scavenging capacities, anti-inflammatory capacities, and gut microbiota profile modulation, were examined using two different batches. Eight compounds were identified in the tomato seed flour, including malic acid, 2-hydroxyadipic acid, salicylic acid, naringin, N-acetyl-tryptophan, quercetin-di-O-hexoside, kaempferol-di-O-hexoside, and azelaic acid. The total phenolic contents of tomato seed flour were 1.97–2.00 mg gallic acid equivalents/g. Oxygen radical absorbing capacities (ORAC), 2,2-diphenyl-1-picrylhydrazyl radical scavenging capacities (DPPH), and 2,2′-azino-bis(3-ethylbenzothiazoline-6-sulfonic acid) cation radical scavenging capacities (ABTS) were 86.32–88.57, 3.57–3.81, and 3.39–3.58 µmoles Trolox equivalents/g, respectively, on a per flour dry weight basis. The mRNA expression of the pro-inflammatory markers, interleukin-1 beta (IL-1β), interleukin-6 (IL-6), and tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-α), were dose-dependently suppressed by tomato seed flour extracts. The extracts altered five of the eight bacterial phyla and genera evaluated. The results may provide some scientific support for the use of tomato seed flour as value-added food ingredients. Full article
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Open AccessReview
Application of Light-Emitting Diodes for Improving the Nutritional Quality and Bioactive Compound Levels of Some Crops and Medicinal Plants
Molecules 2021, 26(5), 1477; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules26051477 - 09 Mar 2021
Viewed by 312
Abstract
Light is a key factor that affects phytochemical synthesis and accumulation in plants. Due to limitations of the environment or cultivated land, there is an urgent need to develop indoor cultivation systems to obtain higher yields with increased phytochemical concentrations using convenient light [...] Read more.
Light is a key factor that affects phytochemical synthesis and accumulation in plants. Due to limitations of the environment or cultivated land, there is an urgent need to develop indoor cultivation systems to obtain higher yields with increased phytochemical concentrations using convenient light sources. Light-emitting diodes (LEDs) have several advantages, including consumption of lesser power, longer half-life, higher efficacy, and wider variation in the spectral wavelength than traditional light sources; therefore, these devices are preferred for in vitro culture and indoor plant growth. Moreover, LED irradiation of seedlings enhances plant biomass, nutrient and secondary metabolite levels, and antioxidant properties. Specifically, red and blue LED irradiation exerts strong effects on photosynthesis, stomatal functioning, phototropism, photomorphogenesis, and photosynthetic pigment levels. Additionally, ex vitro plantlet development and acclimatization can be enhanced by regulating the spectral properties of LEDs. Applying an appropriate LED spectral wavelength significantly increases antioxidant enzyme activity in plants, thereby enhancing the cell defense system and providing protection from oxidative damage. Since different plant species respond differently to lighting in the cultivation environment, it is necessary to evaluate specific wavebands before large-scale LED application for controlled in vitro plant growth. This review focuses on the most recent advances and applications of LEDs for in vitro culture organogenesis. The mechanisms underlying the production of different phytochemicals, including phenolics, flavonoids, carotenoids, anthocyanins, and antioxidant enzymes, have also been discussed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Study on the Mechanism of Medicinal Plants on Diseases)
Open AccessArticle
Dual Effect of Taxifolin on ZEB2 Cancer Signaling in HepG2 Cells
Molecules 2021, 26(5), 1476; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules26051476 - 09 Mar 2021
Viewed by 419
Abstract
Polyphenols, secondary metabolites of plants, exhibit different anti-cancer and cytoprotective properties such as anti-radical, anti-angiogenic, anti-inflammation, or cardioprotective. Some of these activities could be linked to modulation of miRNAs expression. MiRNAs play an important role in posttranscriptional regulation of their target genes that [...] Read more.
Polyphenols, secondary metabolites of plants, exhibit different anti-cancer and cytoprotective properties such as anti-radical, anti-angiogenic, anti-inflammation, or cardioprotective. Some of these activities could be linked to modulation of miRNAs expression. MiRNAs play an important role in posttranscriptional regulation of their target genes that could be important within cell signalling or preservation of cell homeostasis, e.g., cell survival/apoptosis. We evaluated the influence of a non-toxic concentration of taxifolin and quercetin on the expression of majority human miRNAs via Affymetrix GeneChip™ miRNA 3.0 Array. For the evaluation we used two cell models corresponding to liver tissue, Hep G2 and primary human hepatocytes. The array analysis identified four miRNAs, miR-153, miR-204, miR-211, and miR-377-3p, with reduced expression after taxifolin treatment. All of these miRNAs are linked to modulation of ZEB2 expression in various models. Indeed, ZEB2 protein displayed upregulation after taxifolin treatment in a dose dependent manner. However, the modulation did not lead to epithelial mesenchymal transition. Our data show that taxifolin inhibits Akt phosphorylation, thereby diminishing ZEB2 signalling that could trigger carcinogenesis. We conclude that biological activity of taxifolin may have ambiguous or even contradictory outcomes because of non-specific effect on the cell. Full article
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Open AccessReview
Excited-State Intramolecular Proton Transfer: A Short Introductory Review
Molecules 2021, 26(5), 1475; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules26051475 - 09 Mar 2021
Viewed by 547
Abstract
In this short review, we attempt to unfold various aspects of excited-state intramolecular proton transfer (ESIPT) from the studies that are available up to date. Since Weller’s discovery of ESIPT in salicylic acid (SA) and its derivative methyl salicylate (MS), numerous studies have [...] Read more.
In this short review, we attempt to unfold various aspects of excited-state intramolecular proton transfer (ESIPT) from the studies that are available up to date. Since Weller’s discovery of ESIPT in salicylic acid (SA) and its derivative methyl salicylate (MS), numerous studies have emerged on the topic and it has become an attractive field of research because of its manifold applications. Here, we discuss some critical aspects of ESIPT and tautomerization from the mechanistic viewpoint. We address excitation wavelength dependence, anti-Kasha ESIPT, fast and slow ESIPT, reversibility and irreversibility of ESIPT, hydrogen bonding and geometrical factors, excited-state double proton transfer (ESDPT), concerted and stepwise ESDPT. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Tautomerism and Proton Transfer Related Phenomena)
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Open AccessArticle
Melatonin Administration Accelerates Puberty Onset in Mice by Promoting FSH Synthesis
Molecules 2021, 26(5), 1474; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules26051474 - 09 Mar 2021
Viewed by 416
Abstract
Although melatonin has been extensively studied in animal reproduction, the mechanism of melatonin in puberty remains elusive. This study was designed to explore the effect of intraperitoneal administration of melatonin on puberty onset in female mice. The injection of melatonin into postnatal days [...] Read more.
Although melatonin has been extensively studied in animal reproduction, the mechanism of melatonin in puberty remains elusive. This study was designed to explore the effect of intraperitoneal administration of melatonin on puberty onset in female mice. The injection of melatonin into postnatal days 10 mice at a dose of 15 mg/kg accelerated the puberty onset in mice. Mechanistically, there was no difference in physical growth and serum Leptin levels after melatonin administration. Meanwhile, the serum levels of reproductive hormones involved in hypothalamic-pituitary-ovarian axis, such as FSH and estrogen level in serum were increased. The mRNA levels of GnRH and GnRHr were not affected by melatonin, while the expressions of FSHβ in pituitary and Cyp19a1 in ovary were significantly up-regulated. In addition, melatonin still promoted FSH synthesis after ovariectomy. Furthermore, the enhanced activity of ERK1/2 signaling verified that the expression of FSHβ increased in pituitary. We confirmed that melatonin promoted the FSH synthesis in pituitary, thereby increased serum estrogen levels and ultimately accelerated puberty onset. However, these effects of melatonin may be pharmacological due to the high dose. This study would help us to understand the functions of melatonin in pubertal regulation comprehensively. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Enzymatic Extraction and Characterization of Pectin from Cocoa Pod Husks (Theobroma cacao L.) Using Celluclast® 1.5 L
Molecules 2021, 26(5), 1473; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules26051473 - 09 Mar 2021
Viewed by 459
Abstract
Cocoa pod husks are a waste generated during the processing of cocoa beans. We aimed to explore the enzymatic extraction of pectin using cellulases. The extraction process was optimized using a central composite design (CCD) and analyzed by response surface methodology (RSM). The [...] Read more.
Cocoa pod husks are a waste generated during the processing of cocoa beans. We aimed to explore the enzymatic extraction of pectin using cellulases. The extraction process was optimized using a central composite design (CCD) and analyzed by response surface methodology (RSM). The parameters optimized were feedstock concentration (%), enzyme dosage (µL/g), and time (h). Three dependent variables were studied: pectin yield (g/100 g dry husk) (R2 = 97.02), galacturonic acid content (g/100 g pectin) (R2 = 96.90), and galacturonic acid yield (g/100 g feedstock) (R2 = 95.35). The optimal parameters were 6.0% feedstock concentration, 40 µL g−1 of enzyme, and 18.54 h, conditions that produced experimentally a pectin yield of 10.20 g/100 g feedstock, 52.06 g galacturonic acid/100 g pectin, and a yield 5.31 g galacturonic acid/100 g feedstock. Using the chemical extraction method, a yield of 8.08 g pectin/100 g feedstock and a galacturonic acid content of 60.97 g/100 g pectin were obtained. Using assisted sonication, a pectin yield of 8.28 g/100 g feedstock and a galacturonic acid content of 42.77 g/100 g pectin were obtained. Enzymatically optimized pectin has rheological and physicochemical features typical of this biomaterial, which provides an interesting alternative for the valorization of cocoa husks. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Value-Added Agrifood Waste)
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Open AccessArticle
A Metabolomic Approach to Beer Characterization
Molecules 2021, 26(5), 1472; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules26051472 - 08 Mar 2021
Viewed by 956
Abstract
The consumers’ interest towards beer consumption has been on the rise during the past decade: new approaches and ingredients get tested, expanding the traditional recipe for brewing beer. As a consequence, the field of “beeromics” has also been constantly growing, as well as [...] Read more.
The consumers’ interest towards beer consumption has been on the rise during the past decade: new approaches and ingredients get tested, expanding the traditional recipe for brewing beer. As a consequence, the field of “beeromics” has also been constantly growing, as well as the demand for quick and exhaustive analytical methods. In this study, we propose a combination of nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy and chemometrics to characterize beer. 1H-NMR spectra were collected and then analyzed using chemometric tools. An interval-based approach was applied to extract chemical features from the spectra to build a dataset of resolved relative concentrations. One aim of this work was to compare the results obtained using the full spectrum and the resolved approach: with a reasonable amount of time needed to obtain the resolved dataset, we show that the resolved information is comparable with the full spectrum information, but interpretability is greatly improved. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Effect of Viscosity on the Formation of Porous Polydimethylsiloxane for Wearable Device Applications
Molecules 2021, 26(5), 1471; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules26051471 - 08 Mar 2021
Viewed by 383
Abstract
Medical devices, which enhance the quality of life, have experienced a gradual increase in demand. Various research groups have attempted to incorporate soft materials such as skin into wearable devices. We developed a stretchable substrate with high elasticity by forming a porous structure [...] Read more.
Medical devices, which enhance the quality of life, have experienced a gradual increase in demand. Various research groups have attempted to incorporate soft materials such as skin into wearable devices. We developed a stretchable substrate with high elasticity by forming a porous structure on polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS). To optimize the porous structure, we propose a manufacturing process that utilizes a high-pressure steam with different viscosities (400, 800, 2100, and 3000 cP) of an uncured PDMS solution. The proposed method simplifies the manufacturing of porous structures and is cost-effective compared to other technologies. Porous structures of various viscosities were formed, and their electrical and mechanical properties evaluated. Porous PDMS (3000 cP) was formed in a sponge-like three-dimensional porous structure, compared to PDMS formed by other viscosities. The elongation of porous PDMS (3000 cP) was increased by up to 30%, and the relative resistance changed to less than 1000 times with the maximum strain test. The relative resistance increased the initial resistance (R0) by approximately 10 times during the 1500-times repeated cycling tests with 30% strain. As a result, patch-type wearable devices based on soft materials can provide an innovative platform that can connect with the human skin for robotics applications and for continuous health monitoring. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
A Highly Efficient and Stable Photocatalyst; N-Doped ZnO/CNT Composite Thin Film Synthesized via Simple Sol-Gel Drop Coating Method
Molecules 2021, 26(5), 1470; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules26051470 - 08 Mar 2021
Viewed by 1102
Abstract
The thin film of N-doped ZnO/CNT nanocomposite was successfully fabricated on soda lime glass substrate by a simple sol-gel drop-coating method. The structural, morphological, chemical, and optical properties of as prepared samples were characterized by a variety of tools such as X-ray Diffraction [...] Read more.
The thin film of N-doped ZnO/CNT nanocomposite was successfully fabricated on soda lime glass substrate by a simple sol-gel drop-coating method. The structural, morphological, chemical, and optical properties of as prepared samples were characterized by a variety of tools such as X-ray Diffraction (XRD), Field Emission Scanning Electron Microscopy (FE-SEM), Fourier Transform Infrared spectroscopy (FT-IR), and UV-visible spectroscopy. The hexagonal crystalline structure was confirmed from XRD measurement without any other impurity phase detection in samples. The N-doped ZnO/CNT composite showed excellent photo-catalytic activity towards cationic methylene blue (MB) dye degradation with 100% removal rate under UV light irradiation as compared to N-doped ZnO (65%) and pure ZnO (47.36%). The convincing performance has also been observed for the case of visible light irradiation. The enhancement of that photocatalytic activity might be due to narrowing the band gap as well as the reduction of electron–hole pair recombination in ZnO matrix with the incorporation of dopant nitrogen and CNT. It is assumed from the obtained results that N-doped ZnO/CNT nanocomposite thin film can be employed as an economically achievable and ecofriendly method to degrade dye with UV and visible light irradiation. Additionally, density functional theory (DFT) calculations were applied to explore the effect of N-doping on electronic structure of ZnO. The computational study has supported the experimental results of significant band gap contraction, which leads to the maximum absorption towards higher wavelength and no appreciable change of lattice parameters after doping. A conceivable photocatalytic mechanism of N-doped ZnO/CNT nanocomposite has been proposed as well. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Photosensitizer: Design, Characteriazation and Application)
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Open AccessArticle
Formulation of Cannabidiol in Colloidal Lipid Carriers
Molecules 2021, 26(5), 1469; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules26051469 - 08 Mar 2021
Viewed by 373
Abstract
In this study, the general processability of cannabidiol (CBD) in colloidal lipid carriers was investigated. Due to its many pharmacological effects, the pharmaceutical use of this poorly water-soluble drug is currently under intensive research and colloidal lipid emulsions are a well-established formulation option [...] Read more.
In this study, the general processability of cannabidiol (CBD) in colloidal lipid carriers was investigated. Due to its many pharmacological effects, the pharmaceutical use of this poorly water-soluble drug is currently under intensive research and colloidal lipid emulsions are a well-established formulation option for such lipophilic substances. To obtain a better understanding of the formulability of CBD in lipid emulsions, different aspects of CBD loading and its interaction with the emulsion droplets were investigated. Very high drug loads (>40% related to lipid content) could be achieved in emulsions of medium chain triglycerides, rapeseed oil, soybean oil and trimyristin. The maximum CBD load depended on the type of lipid matrix. CBD loading increased the particle size and the density of the lipid matrix. The loading capacity of a trimyristin emulsion for CBD was superior to that of a suspension of solid lipid nanoparticles based on trimyristin (69% vs. 30% related to the lipid matrix). In addition to its localization within the lipid core of the emulsion droplets, cannabidiol was associated with the droplet interface to a remarkable extent. According to a stress test, CBD destabilized the emulsions, with phospholipid-stabilized emulsions being more stable than poloxamer-stabilized ones. Furthermore, it was possible to produce emulsions with pure CBD as the dispersed phase, since CBD demonstrated such a pronounced supercooling tendency that it did not recrystallize, even if cooled to −60 °C. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Nanosystems in Pharmaceutical Technology)
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Open AccessArticle
Effect-Directed Profiling of 17 Different Fortified Plant Extracts by High-Performance Thin-Layer Chromatography Combined with Six Planar Assays and High-Resolution Mass Spectrometry
Molecules 2021, 26(5), 1468; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules26051468 - 08 Mar 2021
Viewed by 324
Abstract
An effect-directed profiling method was developed to investigate 17 different fortified plant extracts for potential benefits. Six planar effect-directed assays were piezoelectrically sprayed on the samples separated side-by-side by high-performance thin-layer chromatography. Multipotent compounds with antibacterial, α-glucosidase, β-glucosidase, AChE, tyrosinase and/or β-glucuronidase-inhibiting effects [...] Read more.
An effect-directed profiling method was developed to investigate 17 different fortified plant extracts for potential benefits. Six planar effect-directed assays were piezoelectrically sprayed on the samples separated side-by-side by high-performance thin-layer chromatography. Multipotent compounds with antibacterial, α-glucosidase, β-glucosidase, AChE, tyrosinase and/or β-glucuronidase-inhibiting effects were detected in most fortified plant extracts. A comparatively high level of antimicrobial activity was observed for Eleutherococcus, hops, grape pomace, passiflora, rosemary and Eschscholzia. Except in red vine, black radish and horse tail, strong enzyme inhibiting compounds were also detected. Most plants with anti-α-glucosidase activity also inhibited β-glucosidase. Green tea, lemon balm and rosemary were identified as multipotent plants. Their multipotent compound zones were characterized by high-resolution mass spectrometry to be catechins, rosmarinic acid, chlorogenic acid and gallic acid. The results pointed to antibacterial and enzymatic effects that were not yet known for plants such as Eleutherococcus and for compounds such as cynaratriol and caffeine. The nontarget effect-directed profiling with multi-imaging is of high benefit for routine inspections, as it provides comprehensive information on the quality and safety of the plant extracts with respect to the global production chain. In this study, it not only confirmed what was expected, but also identified multipotent plants and compounds, and revealed new bioactivity effects. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Insight into Functional Membrane Proteins by Solution NMR: The Human Bcl-2 Protein—A Promising Cancer Drug Target
Molecules 2021, 26(5), 1467; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules26051467 - 08 Mar 2021
Viewed by 496
Abstract
Evasion from programmed cell death (apoptosis) is the main hallmark of cancer and a major cause of resistance to therapy. Many tumors simply ensure survival by over-expressing the cell-protecting (anti-apoptotic) Bcl-2 membrane protein involved in apoptotic regulation. However, the molecular mechanism by which [...] Read more.
Evasion from programmed cell death (apoptosis) is the main hallmark of cancer and a major cause of resistance to therapy. Many tumors simply ensure survival by over-expressing the cell-protecting (anti-apoptotic) Bcl-2 membrane protein involved in apoptotic regulation. However, the molecular mechanism by which Bcl-2 protein in its mitochondrial outer membrane location protects cells remains elusive due to the absence of structural insight; and current strategies to therapeutically interfere with these Bcl-2 sensitive cancers are limited. Here, we present an NMR-based approach to enable structural insight into Bcl-2 function; an approach also ideal as a fragment-based drug discovery platform for further identification and development of promising molecular Bcl-2 inhibitors. By using solution NMR spectroscopy on fully functional intact human Bcl-2 protein in a membrane-mimicking micellar environment, and constructs with specific functions remaining, we present a strategy for structure determination and specific drug screening of functional subunits of the Bcl-2 protein as targets. Using 19F NMR and a specific fragment library (Bionet) with fluorinated compounds we can successfully identify various binders and validate our strategy in the hunt for novel Bcl-2 selective cancer drug strategies to treat currently incurable Bcl-2 sensitive tumors. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biomolecular NMR Spectroscopy)
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