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Biomolecules, Volume 10, Issue 6 (June 2020) – 156 articles

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Cover Story (view full-size image) The activity of the hypothalamic–pituitary–adrenal (HPA) axis, where the dopamine transporter (DAT) [...] Read more.
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Open AccessArticle
Transcriptome Analysis Reveals Potential Roles of Abscisic Acid and Polyphenols in Adaptation of Onobrychis viciifolia to Extreme Environmental Conditions in the Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau
Biomolecules 2020, 10(6), 967; https://doi.org/10.3390/biom10060967 - 26 Jun 2020
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Abstract
A detailed understanding of the molecular mechanisms of plant stress resistance in the face of ever-changing environmental stimuli will be helpful for promoting the growth and production of crop and forage plants. Investigations of plant responses to various single abiotic or biotic factors, [...] Read more.
A detailed understanding of the molecular mechanisms of plant stress resistance in the face of ever-changing environmental stimuli will be helpful for promoting the growth and production of crop and forage plants. Investigations of plant responses to various single abiotic or biotic factors, or combined stresses, have been extensively reported. However, the molecular mechanisms of plants in responses to environmental stresses under natural conditions are not clearly understood. In this study, we carried out a transcriptome analysis using RNA-sequencing to decipher the underlying molecular mechanisms of Onobrychis viciifolia responding and adapting to the extreme natural environment in the Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau (QTP). The transcriptome data of plant samples collected from two different altitudes revealed a total of 8212 differentially expressed genes (DEGs), including 5387 up-regulated and 2825 down-regulated genes. Detailed analysis of the identified DEGs uncovered that up-regulation of genes potentially leading to changes in hormone homeostasis and signaling, particularly abscisic acid-related ones, and enhanced biosynthesis of polyphenols play vital roles in the adaptive processes of O. viciifolia. Interestingly, several DEGs encoding uridine diphosphate glycosyltransferases, which putatively regulate phytohormone homeostasis to resist environmental stresses, were also discovered. Furthermore, numerous DEGs encoding transcriptional factors, such as members of the myeloblastosis (MYB), homeodomain-leucine zipper (HD-ZIP), WRKY, and nam-ataf1,2-cuc2 (NAC) families, might be involved in the adaptive responses of O. viciifolia to the extreme natural environmental conditions. The DEGs identified in this study represent candidate targets for improving environmental stress resistance of O. viciifolia grown in higher altitudes of the QTP, and can provide deep insights into the molecular mechanisms underlying the responses of this plant species to the extreme natural environmental conditions of the QTP. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Phytohormones 2020)
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Open AccessReview
Encapsulins—Bacterial Protein Nanocompartments: Structure, Properties, and Application
Biomolecules 2020, 10(6), 966; https://doi.org/10.3390/biom10060966 - 26 Jun 2020
Viewed by 294
Abstract
Recently, a new class of prokaryotic compartments, collectively called encapsulins or protein nanocompartments, has been discovered. The shell proteins of these structures self-organize to form icosahedral compartments with a diameter of 25–42 nm, while one or more cargo proteins with various functions can [...] Read more.
Recently, a new class of prokaryotic compartments, collectively called encapsulins or protein nanocompartments, has been discovered. The shell proteins of these structures self-organize to form icosahedral compartments with a diameter of 25–42 nm, while one or more cargo proteins with various functions can be encapsulated in the nanocompartment. Non-native cargo proteins can be loaded into nanocompartments and the surface of the shells can be further functionalized, which allows for developing targeted drug delivery systems or using encapsulins as contrast agents for magnetic resonance imaging. Since the genes encoding encapsulins can be integrated into the cell genome, encapsulins are attractive for investigation in various scientific fields, including biomedicine and nanotechnology. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue New Trends in Manipulation of Living Cells Behaviour)
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Open AccessArticle
Vibrational Spectroscopy of Peritoneal Dialysis Effluent for Rapid Assessment of Patient Characteristics
Biomolecules 2020, 10(6), 965; https://doi.org/10.3390/biom10060965 - 26 Jun 2020
Viewed by 266
Abstract
Peritoneal dialysis (PD) offers specific advantages over hemodialysis, enabling increased autonomy of patients with end-stage renal disease, but PD-related complications need to be detected in a timely manner. Fourier transform infrared (FTIR) spectroscopy could provide rapid and essential insights into the patients’ risk [...] Read more.
Peritoneal dialysis (PD) offers specific advantages over hemodialysis, enabling increased autonomy of patients with end-stage renal disease, but PD-related complications need to be detected in a timely manner. Fourier transform infrared (FTIR) spectroscopy could provide rapid and essential insights into the patients’ risk profiles via molecular fingerprinting of PD effluent, an abundant waste material that is rich in biological information. In this study, we measured FTIR spectroscopic profiles in PD effluent from patients taking part in a randomized controlled trial of alanyl-glutamine addition to the PD-fluid. Principal component analysis of FTIR spectra enabled us to differentiate between effluent samples from patients immediately after completion of instillation of the PD-fluid into the patients’ cavity and 4 h later as well as between patients receiving PD-fluid supplemented with 8 mM alanyl-glutamine compared with control. Moreover, feasibility of FTIR spectroscopy coupled to supervised classification algorithms to predict patient-, PD-, as well as immune-associated parameters were investigated. PD modality (manual continuous ambulatory PD (CAPD) vs. cycler-assisted automated PD (APD)), residual urine output, ultrafiltration, transport parameters, and cytokine concentrations showed high predictive potential. This study provides proof-of-principle that molecular signatures determined by FTIR spectroscopy of PD effluent, combined with machine learning, are suitable for cost-effective, high-throughput diagnostic purposes in PD. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Molecular Mechanisms of Peritoneal Membrane Pathophysiology)
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Open AccessReview
Reelin Functions, Mechanisms of Action and Signaling Pathways During Brain Development and Maturation
Biomolecules 2020, 10(6), 964; https://doi.org/10.3390/biom10060964 - 26 Jun 2020
Viewed by 264
Abstract
During embryonic development and adulthood, Reelin exerts several important functions in the brain including the regulation of neuronal migration, dendritic growth and branching, dendritic spine formation, synaptogenesis and synaptic plasticity. As a consequence, the Reelin signaling pathway has been associated with several human [...] Read more.
During embryonic development and adulthood, Reelin exerts several important functions in the brain including the regulation of neuronal migration, dendritic growth and branching, dendritic spine formation, synaptogenesis and synaptic plasticity. As a consequence, the Reelin signaling pathway has been associated with several human brain disorders such as lissencephaly, autism, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, depression, mental retardation, Alzheimer’s disease and epilepsy. Several elements of the signaling pathway are known. Core components, such as the Reelin receptors very low-density lipoprotein receptor (VLDLR) and Apolipoprotein E receptor 2 (ApoER2), Src family kinases Src and Fyn, and the intracellular adaptor Disabled-1 (Dab1), are common to most but not all Reelin functions. Other downstream effectors are, on the other hand, more specific to defined tasks. Reelin is a large extracellular protein, and some aspects of the signal are regulated by its processing into smaller fragments. Rather than being inhibitory, the processing at two major sites seems to be fulfilling important physiological functions. In this review, I describe the various cellular events regulated by Reelin and attempt to explain the current knowledge on the mechanisms of action. After discussing the shared and distinct elements of the Reelin signaling pathway involved in neuronal migration, dendritic growth, spine development and synaptic plasticity, I briefly outline the data revealing the importance of Reelin in human brain disorders. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Reelin, a Hub Protein during Nervous System Development?)
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Open AccessArticle
Concise Polygenic Models for Cancer-Specific Identification of Drug-Sensitive Tumors from Their Multi-Omics Profiles
Biomolecules 2020, 10(6), 963; https://doi.org/10.3390/biom10060963 - 26 Jun 2020
Viewed by 253
Abstract
In silico models to predict which tumors will respond to a given drug are necessary for Precision Oncology. However, predictive models are only available for a handful of cases (each case being a given drug acting on tumors of a specific cancer type). [...] Read more.
In silico models to predict which tumors will respond to a given drug are necessary for Precision Oncology. However, predictive models are only available for a handful of cases (each case being a given drug acting on tumors of a specific cancer type). A way to generate predictive models for the remaining cases is with suitable machine learning algorithms that are yet to be applied to existing in vitro pharmacogenomics datasets. Here, we apply XGBoost integrated with a stringent feature selection approach, which is an algorithm that is advantageous for these high-dimensional problems. Thus, we identified and validated 118 predictive models for 62 drugs across five cancer types by exploiting four molecular profiles (sequence mutations, copy-number alterations, gene expression, and DNA methylation). Predictive models were found in each cancer type and with every molecular profile. On average, no omics profile or cancer type obtained models with higher predictive accuracy than the rest. However, within a given cancer type, some molecular profiles were overrepresented among predictive models. For instance, CNA profiles were predictive in breast invasive carcinoma (BRCA) cell lines, but not in small cell lung cancer (SCLC) cell lines where gene expression (GEX) and DNA methylation profiles were the most predictive. Lastly, we identified the best XGBoost model per cancer type and analyzed their selected features. For each model, some of the genes in the selected list had already been found to be individually linked to the response to that drug, providing additional evidence of the usefulness of these models and the merits of the feature selection scheme. Full article
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Open AccessCommunication
Prolyl Endopeptidase-Like Facilitates the α-Synuclein Aggregation Seeding, and This Effect Is Reverted by Serine Peptidase Inhibitor PMSF
Biomolecules 2020, 10(6), 962; https://doi.org/10.3390/biom10060962 - 25 Jun 2020
Viewed by 203
Abstract
The aggregation of α-synuclein (α-Syn) is a characteristic of Parkinson’s disease (PD). α-Syn oligomerization/aggregation is accelerated by the serine peptidase, prolyl oligopeptidase (POP). Factors that affect POP conformation, including most of its inhibitors and an impairing mutation in its active site, influence the [...] Read more.
The aggregation of α-synuclein (α-Syn) is a characteristic of Parkinson’s disease (PD). α-Syn oligomerization/aggregation is accelerated by the serine peptidase, prolyl oligopeptidase (POP). Factors that affect POP conformation, including most of its inhibitors and an impairing mutation in its active site, influence the acceleration of α-Syn aggregation resulting from the interaction of these proteins. It is noteworthy, however, that α-Syn is not cleaved by POP. Prolyl endopeptidase-like (PREPL) protein is structurally related to the serine peptidases belonging to the POP family. Based on the α-Syn–POP studies and knowing that PREPL may contribute to the regulation of synaptic vesicle exocytosis, when this protein can encounter α-Syn, we investigated the α-Syn–PREPL interaction. The binding of these two human proteins was observed with an apparent affinity constant of about 5.7 μM and, as in the α-Syn assays with POP, the presence of PREPL accelerated the oligomerization/aggregation events, with no α-Syn cleavage. Furthermore, despite this lack of hydrolytic cleavage, the serine peptidase active site inhibitor phenylmethylsulfonyl fluoride (PMSF) abolished the enhancement of the α-Syn aggregation by PREPL. Therefore, given the attention to POP inhibitors as potential drugs to treat synucleinopathies, the present data point to PREPL as another potential target to be explored for this purpose. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
The English (H6R) Mutation of the Alzheimer’s Disease Amyloid-β Peptide Modulates Its Zinc-Induced Aggregation
Biomolecules 2020, 10(6), 961; https://doi.org/10.3390/biom10060961 - 25 Jun 2020
Viewed by 181
Abstract
The coordination of zinc ions by histidine residues of amyloid-beta peptide (Aβ) plays a critical role in the zinc-induced Aβ aggregation implicated in Alzheimer’s disease (AD) pathogenesis. The histidine to arginine substitution at position 6 of the Aβ sequence (H6R, English mutation) leads [...] Read more.
The coordination of zinc ions by histidine residues of amyloid-beta peptide (Aβ) plays a critical role in the zinc-induced Aβ aggregation implicated in Alzheimer’s disease (AD) pathogenesis. The histidine to arginine substitution at position 6 of the Aβ sequence (H6R, English mutation) leads to an early onset of AD. Herein, we studied the effects of zinc ions on the aggregation of the Aβ42 peptide and its isoform carrying the H6R mutation (H6R-Aβ42) by circular dichroism spectroscopy, dynamic light scattering, turbidimetric and sedimentation methods, and bis-ANS and thioflavin T fluorescence assays. Zinc ions triggered the occurrence of amorphous aggregates for both Aβ42 and H6R-Aβ42 peptides but with distinct optical properties. The structural difference of the formed Aβ42 and H6R-Aβ42 zinc-induced amorphous aggregates was also supported by the results of the bis-ANS assay. Moreover, while the Aβ42 peptide demonstrated an increase in the random coil and β-sheet content upon complexing with zinc ions, the H6R-Aβ42 peptide showed no appreciable structural changes under the same conditions. These observations were ascribed to the impact of H6R mutation on a mode of zinc/peptide binding. The presented findings further advance the understanding of the pathological role of the H6R mutation and the role of H6 residue in the zinc-induced Aβ aggregation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Metal Binding Proteins 2020)
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Open AccessReview
The Many Faces of Matrix Metalloproteinase-7 in Kidney Diseases
Biomolecules 2020, 10(6), 960; https://doi.org/10.3390/biom10060960 - 25 Jun 2020
Viewed by 192
Abstract
Matrix metalloproteinase-7 (MMP-7) is a secreted zinc-dependent endopeptidase that is implicated in regulating kidney homeostasis and diseases. MMP-7 is produced as an inactive zymogen, and proteolytic cleavage is required for its activation. MMP-7 is barely expressed in normal adult kidney but upregulated in [...] Read more.
Matrix metalloproteinase-7 (MMP-7) is a secreted zinc-dependent endopeptidase that is implicated in regulating kidney homeostasis and diseases. MMP-7 is produced as an inactive zymogen, and proteolytic cleavage is required for its activation. MMP-7 is barely expressed in normal adult kidney but upregulated in acute kidney injury (AKI) and chronic kidney disease (CKD). The expression of MMP-7 is transcriptionally regulated by Wnt/β-catenin and other cues. As a secreted protein, MMP-7 is present and increased in the urine of patients, and its levels serve as a noninvasive biomarker for predicting AKI prognosis and monitoring CKD progression. Apart from degrading components of the extracellular matrix, MMP-7 also cleaves a wide range of substrates, such as E-cadherin, Fas ligand, and nephrin. As such, it plays an essential role in regulating many cellular processes, such as cell proliferation, apoptosis, epithelial-mesenchymal transition, and podocyte injury. The function of MMP-7 in kidney diseases is complex and context-dependent. It protects against AKI by priming tubular cells for survival and regeneration but promotes kidney fibrosis and CKD progression. MMP-7 also impairs podocyte integrity and induces proteinuria. In this review, we summarized recent advances in our understanding of the regulation, role, and mechanisms of MMP-7 in the pathogenesis of kidney diseases. We also discussed the potential of MMP-7 as a biomarker and therapeutic target in a clinical setting. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Matrix Metalloproteinases in Health and Disease)
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Open AccessReview
Ethylene: A Master Regulator of Salinity Stress Tolerance in Plants
Biomolecules 2020, 10(6), 959; https://doi.org/10.3390/biom10060959 - 25 Jun 2020
Viewed by 375
Abstract
Salinity stress is one of the major threats to agricultural productivity across the globe. Research in the past three decades, therefore, has focused on analyzing the effects of salinity stress on the plants. Evidence gathered over the years supports the role of ethylene [...] Read more.
Salinity stress is one of the major threats to agricultural productivity across the globe. Research in the past three decades, therefore, has focused on analyzing the effects of salinity stress on the plants. Evidence gathered over the years supports the role of ethylene as a key regulator of salinity stress tolerance in plants. This gaseous plant hormone regulates many vital cellular processes starting from seed germination to photosynthesis for maintaining the plants’ growth and yield under salinity stress. Ethylene modulates salinity stress responses largely via maintaining the homeostasis of Na+/K+, nutrients, and reactive oxygen species (ROS) by inducing antioxidant defense in addition to elevating the assimilation of nitrates and sulfates. Moreover, a cross-talk of ethylene signaling with other phytohormones has also been observed, which collectively regulate the salinity stress responses in plants. The present review provides a comprehensive update on the prospects of ethylene signaling and its cross-talk with other phytohormones to regulate salinity stress tolerance in plants. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Phytohormones 2020)
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Open AccessReview
The Hyperoxic-Hypoxic Paradox
Biomolecules 2020, 10(6), 958; https://doi.org/10.3390/biom10060958 - 25 Jun 2020
Viewed by 205
Abstract
Effective metabolism is highly dependent on a narrow therapeutic range of oxygen. Accordingly, low levels of oxygen, or hypoxia, are one of the most powerful inducers of gene expression, metabolic changes, and regenerative processes, including angiogenesis and stimulation of stem cell proliferation, migration, [...] Read more.
Effective metabolism is highly dependent on a narrow therapeutic range of oxygen. Accordingly, low levels of oxygen, or hypoxia, are one of the most powerful inducers of gene expression, metabolic changes, and regenerative processes, including angiogenesis and stimulation of stem cell proliferation, migration, and differentiation. The sensing of decreased oxygen levels (hypoxia) or increased oxygen levels (hyperoxia), occurs through specialized chemoreceptor cells and metabolic changes at the cellular level, which regulate the response. Interestingly, fluctuations in the free oxygen concentration rather than the absolute level of oxygen can be interpreted at the cellular level as a lack of oxygen. Thus, repeated intermittent hyperoxia can induce many of the mediators and cellular mechanisms that are usually induced during hypoxia. This is called the hyperoxic-hypoxic paradox (HHP). This article reviews oxygen physiology, the main cellular processes triggered by hypoxia, and the cascade of events triggered by the HHP. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Oxygen Therapy)
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Open AccessArticle
Extracellular Vesicles from Healthy Cells Improves Cell Function and Stemness in Premature Senescent Stem Cells by miR-302b and HIF-1α Activation
Biomolecules 2020, 10(6), 957; https://doi.org/10.3390/biom10060957 - 25 Jun 2020
Viewed by 122
Abstract
Aging is accompanied by the accumulation of senescent cells that alter intercellular communication, thereby impairing tissue homeostasis and reducing organ regenerative potential. Recently, the administration of mesenchymal stem cells (MSC)-derived extracellular vesicles has proven to be more effective and less challenging than current [...] Read more.
Aging is accompanied by the accumulation of senescent cells that alter intercellular communication, thereby impairing tissue homeostasis and reducing organ regenerative potential. Recently, the administration of mesenchymal stem cells (MSC)-derived extracellular vesicles has proven to be more effective and less challenging than current stem cell-based therapies. Extracellular vesicles (EVs) contain a cell-specific cargo of proteins, lipids and nucleic acids that are released and taken up by probably all cell types, thereby inducing functional changes via the horizontal transfer of their cargo. Here, we describe the beneficial properties of extracellular vesicles derived from non-senescent MSC, cultured in a low physiological oxygen tension (3%) microenvironment into prematurely senescent MSC, cultured in a hyperoxic ambient (usual oxygen culture conditions, i.e., 21%). We observed that senescent MCS, treated with EVs from non-senescent MCS, showed reduced SA-β-galactosidase activity levels and pluripotency factor (OCT4, SOX2, KLF4 and cMYC, or OSKM) overexpression and increased glycolysis, as well as reduced oxidative phosphorylation (OXPHOS). Moreover, these EVs’ cargo induced the upregulation of miR-302b and HIF-1α levels in the target cells. We propose that miR-302b triggered HIF-1α upregulation, which in turn activated different pathways to delay premature senescence, improve stemness and switch energetic metabolism towards glycolysis. Taken together, we suggest that EVs could be a powerful tool to restore altered intercellular communication and improve stem cell function and stemness, thus delaying stem cell exhaustion in aging. Full article
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Open AccessReview
Bispecific Targeting of EGFR and Urokinase Receptor (uPAR) Using Ligand-Targeted Toxins in Solid Tumors
Biomolecules 2020, 10(6), 956; https://doi.org/10.3390/biom10060956 - 25 Jun 2020
Viewed by 167
Abstract
Ligand-targeted toxins (LTTs) are bioengineered molecules which are composed of a targeting component linked to a toxin that induces cell death once the LTT binds its target. Bispecific targeting allows for the simultaneous targeting of two receptors. In this review, we mostly focus [...] Read more.
Ligand-targeted toxins (LTTs) are bioengineered molecules which are composed of a targeting component linked to a toxin that induces cell death once the LTT binds its target. Bispecific targeting allows for the simultaneous targeting of two receptors. In this review, we mostly focus on the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) as a target. We discuss the development and testing of a bispecific LTT targeting EGFR and urokinase-type plasminogen activator receptor (uPAR) as two attractive targets implicated in tumor growth and in the regulation of the tumor microvasculature in solid tumors. In vitro and mouse xenograft studies have shown that EGFR-targeted bispecific angiotoxin (eBAT) is effective against human solid tumors. Canine studies have shown that eBAT is both safe and effective against canine hemangiosarcoma, which is physiologically similar to human angiosarcoma. Finding the appropriate dosing strategy and sequencing of eBAT administration, in combination with other therapeutics, are among important factors for future directions. Together, the data indicate that eBAT targets cancer stem cells, it may have a role in inhibiting human tumor vasculature, and its bispecific conformation may have a role in reducing toxicity in comparative oncologic trials in dogs. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Immunotoxins: From Design to Clinical Application)
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Open AccessArticle
Rapid Evaluation of Antibody Fragment Endocytosis for Antibody Fragment–Drug Conjugates
Biomolecules 2020, 10(6), 955; https://doi.org/10.3390/biom10060955 - 25 Jun 2020
Viewed by 211
Abstract
Antibody–drug conjugates (ADCs) have emerged as the most promising strategy in targeted cancer treatment. Recent strategies for the optimization ADCs include the development of antibody fragment–drug conjugates (FDCs). The critical factor in the successful development of ADCs and FDCs is the identification of [...] Read more.
Antibody–drug conjugates (ADCs) have emerged as the most promising strategy in targeted cancer treatment. Recent strategies for the optimization ADCs include the development of antibody fragment–drug conjugates (FDCs). The critical factor in the successful development of ADCs and FDCs is the identification of tumor antigen-specific and internalizing antibodies (Abs). However, systematic comparison or correlation studies of internalization rates with different antibody formats have not been reported previously. In this study, we generated a panel of scFv-phage Abs using phage display technology and their corresponding scFv and scFv-Fc fragments and evaluated their relative internalization kinetics in relation to their antibody forms. We found that the relative rates and levels of internalization of scFv-phage antibodies positively correlate with their scFv and scFv-Fc forms. Our systematic study demonstrates that endocytosis of scFv-phage can serve as a predictive indicator for the assessment of Ab fragment internalization. Additionally, the present study demonstrates that endocytic antibodies can be rapidly screened and selected from phage antibody libraries prior to the conversion of phage antibodies for the generation of the conventional antibody format. Our strategic approach for the identification and evaluation of endocytic antibodies would expedite the selection for optimal antibodies and antibody fragments and be broadly applicable to ADC and FDC development. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Antibody Therapy of Cancer)
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Open AccessArticle
Class A G Protein-Coupled Receptor Antagonist Famotidine as a Therapeutic Alternative against SARS-CoV2: An In Silico Analysis
Biomolecules 2020, 10(6), 954; https://doi.org/10.3390/biom10060954 - 24 Jun 2020
Viewed by 345
Abstract
The pandemic associated with Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus type 2 (SARS-CoV2) and its disease named COVID-19 challenged the scientific community to discover effective therapeutic solutions in a short period. Repurposing existing drugs is one viable approach that emphasizes speed during these urgent [...] Read more.
The pandemic associated with Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus type 2 (SARS-CoV2) and its disease named COVID-19 challenged the scientific community to discover effective therapeutic solutions in a short period. Repurposing existing drugs is one viable approach that emphasizes speed during these urgent times. Famotidine, a class A G protein-coupled receptor antagonist used for the treatment of gastroesophageal reflux was recently identified in an in silico screening. Additionally, a recent retrospective clinical report showed that the treatment with famotidine provided a good outcome in patients infected with SARS-CoV2. A clinical trial testing effectiveness of famotidine in combination with hydroxychloroquine is currently ongoing in the United States (US). In the 1990s, famotidine was described as an antiviral agent against human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). Interestingly, some HIV protease inhibitors are presently being used against SARS-CoV2. However, it is not clear if famotidine could be effective against SARS-CoV2. Thus, by using a computational analysis, we aimed to examine if the antiviral effect of famotidine could be related to the inhibition of proteases involved in the virus replication. Our results showed that famotidine could interact within the catalytic site of the three proteases associated with SARS-CoV2 replication. However, weak binding affinity of famotidine to these proteases suggests that a successful famotidine therapy could likely be achieved only in combination with other antiviral drugs. Finally, analysis of famotidine’s pharmacokinetic parameters indicated that its effect against SARS-CoV2 infection could be reached only upon intravenous administration. This work will contribute to the pharmacological knowledge of famotidine as an antiviral agent against SARS-CoV2. Full article
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Open AccessFeature PaperReview
Pathogenesis of Preeclampsia and Therapeutic Approaches Targeting the Placenta
Biomolecules 2020, 10(6), 953; https://doi.org/10.3390/biom10060953 - 24 Jun 2020
Viewed by 240
Abstract
Preeclampsia (PE) is a serious pregnancy complication, affecting about 5–7% of pregnancies worldwide and is characterized by hypertension and damage to multiple maternal organs, primarily the liver and kidneys. PE usually begins after 20 weeks’ gestation and, if left untreated, can lead to [...] Read more.
Preeclampsia (PE) is a serious pregnancy complication, affecting about 5–7% of pregnancies worldwide and is characterized by hypertension and damage to multiple maternal organs, primarily the liver and kidneys. PE usually begins after 20 weeks’ gestation and, if left untreated, can lead to serious complications and lifelong disabilities—even death—in both the mother and the infant. As delivery is the only cure for the disease, treatment is primarily focused on the management of blood pressure and other clinical symptoms. The pathogenesis of PE is still not clear. Abnormal spiral artery remodeling, placental ischemia and a resulting increase in the circulating levels of vascular endothelial growth factor receptor-1 (VEGFR-1), also called soluble fms-like tyrosine kinase-1 (sFlt-1), are believed to be among the primary pathologies associated with PE. sFlt-1 is produced mainly in the placenta during pregnancy and acts as a decoy receptor, binding to free VEGF (VEGF-A) and placental growth factor (PlGF), resulting in the decreased bioavailability of each to target cells. Despite the pathogenic effects of increased sFlt-1 on the maternal vasculature, recent studies from our laboratory and others have strongly indicated that the increase in sFlt-1 in PE may fulfill critical protective functions in preeclamptic pregnancies. Thus, further studies on the roles of sFlt-1 in normal and preeclamptic pregnancies are warranted for the development of therapeutic strategies targeting VEGF signaling for the treatment of PE. Another impediment to the treatment of PE is the lack of suitable methods for delivery of cargo to placental cells, as PE is believed to be of placental origin and most available therapies for PE adversely impact both the mother and the fetus. The present review discusses the pathogenesis of PE, the complex role of sFlt-1 in maternal disease and fetal protection, and the recently developed placenta-targeted drug delivery system for the potential treatment of PE with candidate therapeutic agents. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
The Citrus Flavonoid Hesperetin Has an Inadequate Anti-Arrhythmic Profile in the ΔKPQ NaV1.5 Mutant of the Long QT Type 3 Syndrome
Biomolecules 2020, 10(6), 952; https://doi.org/10.3390/biom10060952 - 24 Jun 2020
Viewed by 187
Abstract
Type 3 long QT syndromes (LQT3) are associated with arrhythmogenic gain-of-function mutations in the cardiac voltage-gated Na+ channel (hNaV1.5). The citrus flavanone hesperetin (HSP) was previously suggested as a template molecule to develop new anti-arrhythmic drugs, as it blocks slowly-inactivating [...] Read more.
Type 3 long QT syndromes (LQT3) are associated with arrhythmogenic gain-of-function mutations in the cardiac voltage-gated Na+ channel (hNaV1.5). The citrus flavanone hesperetin (HSP) was previously suggested as a template molecule to develop new anti-arrhythmic drugs, as it blocks slowly-inactivating currents carried by the LQT3-associated hNaV1.5 channel mutant R1623Q. Here we investigated whether HSP also has potentially beneficial effects on another LQT3 hNaV1.5 channel variant, the ΔKPQ, which is associated to lethal ventricular arrhythmias. We used whole-cell patch-clamp to record Na+ currents (INa) in HEK293T cells transiently expressing hNaV1.5 wild type or ΔKPQ mutant channels. HSP blocked peak INa and the late INa carried by ΔKPQ mutant channels with an effective concentration of ≈300 μM. This inhibition was largely voltage-independent and tonic. HSP decreased the rate of inactivation of ΔKPQ channels and, consequently, was relatively weak in reducing the intracellular Na+ load in this mutation. We conclude that, although HSP has potential value for the treatment of the R1623Q LQT3 variant, this compound is inadequate to treat the LQT3 associated to the ΔKPQ genetic variant. Our results underscore the precision medicine rationale of better understanding the basic pathophysiological and pharmacological mechanisms to provide phenotype- genotype-directed individualization of treatment. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Pharmacology of Medicinal Plants)
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Open AccessReview
Regulation of Interferon Induction by the Ubiquitin-Like Modifier FAT10
Biomolecules 2020, 10(6), 951; https://doi.org/10.3390/biom10060951 - 23 Jun 2020
Viewed by 267
Abstract
The revelation that the human major histocompatibility complex (MHC) class I locus encodes a ubiquitin-like protein designated HLA-F adjacent transcript 10 (FAT10) or ubiquitin D (UBD) has attracted increasing attention to the function of this protein. Interestingly, the pro-inflammatory cytokines interferon (IFN)-γ and [...] Read more.
The revelation that the human major histocompatibility complex (MHC) class I locus encodes a ubiquitin-like protein designated HLA-F adjacent transcript 10 (FAT10) or ubiquitin D (UBD) has attracted increasing attention to the function of this protein. Interestingly, the pro-inflammatory cytokines interferon (IFN)-γ and tumor necrosis factor (TNF) α synergize to strongly induce FAT10 expression, thereby suggesting a role of FAT10 in the immune response. Recent reports that FAT10 downregulates type I interferon production while it upregulates IFN-γ pose mechanistic questions on how FAT10 differentially regulates interferon induction. Several covalent and non-covalent binding partners of FAT10 involved in signal transduction pathways leading to IFN synthesis have been identified. After introducing FAT10, we review here recent insights into how FAT10 affects proteins in the interferon pathways, like the virus-responsive pattern recognition receptor RIG-I, the ubiquitin ligase ZNF598, and the deubiquitylating enzyme OTUB1. Moreover, we outline the consequences of FAT10 deficiency on interferon synthesis and viral expansion in mice and human cells. We discuss the need for covalent isopeptide linkage of FAT10 to the involved target proteins and the concomitant targeting for proteasomal degradation. After years of investigating the elusive biological functions of this fascinating ubiquitin-like modifier, we review the emerging evidence for a novel role of FAT10 in interferon regulation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Ubiquitin-Like Modifiers and Their Diverse Impact on Cell Signaling)
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Open AccessArticle
Metabolism of Soy Isoflavones by Intestinal Bacteria: Genome Analysis of an Adlercreutzia equolifaciens Strain That Does Not Produce Equol
Biomolecules 2020, 10(6), 950; https://doi.org/10.3390/biom10060950 - 23 Jun 2020
Viewed by 278
Abstract
Isoflavones are transformed in the gut into more estrogen-like compounds or into inactive molecules. However, neither the intestinal microbes nor the pathways leading to the synthesis of isoflavone-derived metabolites are fully known. In the present work, 73 fecal isolates from three women with [...] Read more.
Isoflavones are transformed in the gut into more estrogen-like compounds or into inactive molecules. However, neither the intestinal microbes nor the pathways leading to the synthesis of isoflavone-derived metabolites are fully known. In the present work, 73 fecal isolates from three women with an equol-producing phenotype were considered to harbor equol-related genes by qPCR. After typing, 57 different strains of different taxa were tested for their ability to act on the isoflavones daidzein and genistein. Strains producing small to moderate amounts of dihydrodaidzein and/or O-desmethylangolensin (O-DMA) from daidzein and dihydrogenistein from genistein were recorded. However, either alone or in several strain combinations, equol producers were not found, even though one of the strains, W18.34a (also known as IPLA37004), was identified as Adlercreutzia equolifaciens, a well-described equol-producing species. Analysis and comparison of A. equolifaciens W18.34a and A. equolifaciens DSM19450T (an equol producer bacterium) genome sequences suggested a deletion in the former involving a large part of the equol operon. Furthermore, genome comparison of A. equolifaciens and Asaccharobacter celatus (other equol-producing species) strains from databases indicated many of these also showed deletions within the equol operon. The present results contribute to our knowledge to the activity of gut bacteria on soy isoflavones. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
An Anti-Inflammatory Poly(PhosphorHydrazone) Dendrimer Capped with AzaBisPhosphonate Groups to Treat Psoriasis
Biomolecules 2020, 10(6), 949; https://doi.org/10.3390/biom10060949 - 23 Jun 2020
Viewed by 253
Abstract
Dendrimers are nanosized, arborescent macromolecules synthesized in a stepwise fashion with attractive degrees of functionality and structure definition. This is one of the reasons why they are widely used for biomedical applications. Previously, we have shown that a poly(phosphorhydrazone) (PPH) dendrimer capped with [...] Read more.
Dendrimers are nanosized, arborescent macromolecules synthesized in a stepwise fashion with attractive degrees of functionality and structure definition. This is one of the reasons why they are widely used for biomedical applications. Previously, we have shown that a poly(phosphorhydrazone) (PPH) dendrimer capped with anionic azabisphosphonate groups (so-called ABP dendrimer) has immuno-modulatory and anti-inflammatory properties towards human immune cells in vitro. Thereafter, we have shown that the ABP dendrimer has a promising therapeutic efficacy to treat models of acute and chronic inflammatory disorders in animal models. In these models, the active pharmaceutical ingredient was administered systematically (intravenous and oral administrations), but also loco-regionally in the vitreous tissue. Herein, we assessed the therapeutic efficacy of the ABP dendrimer in the preclinical mouse model of psoriasis induced by imiquimod. The ABP dendrimer was administered in phosphate-buffered saline solution via either systemic injection or topical application. We show that the topical application enabled the control of both the clinical and histopathological scores, and the control of the infiltration of macrophages in the skin of treated mice. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Molecular Medicine)
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Open AccessArticle
Antiarrhythmic Properties of Elsholtzia ciliata Essential Oil on Electrical Activity of the Isolated Rabbit Heart and Preferential Inhibition of Sodium Conductance
Biomolecules 2020, 10(6), 948; https://doi.org/10.3390/biom10060948 - 23 Jun 2020
Viewed by 237
Abstract
Elsholtzia ciliata essential oil (E. ciliata) has been developed in Lithuania and internationally patented as exerting antiarrhythmic properties. Here we demonstrate the pharmacological effects of this herbal preparation on cardiac electrical activity. We used cardiac surface ECG and a combination of [...] Read more.
Elsholtzia ciliata essential oil (E. ciliata) has been developed in Lithuania and internationally patented as exerting antiarrhythmic properties. Here we demonstrate the pharmacological effects of this herbal preparation on cardiac electrical activity. We used cardiac surface ECG and a combination of microelectrode and optical mapping techniques to track the action potentials (APs) in the Langendorff-perfused rabbit heart model during atrial/endo-/epi-cardial pacing. Activation time, conduction velocity and AP duration (APD) maps were constructed. E. ciliata increased the QRS duration and shortened QT interval of ECG at concentrations of 0.01–0.1 μL/mL, whereas 0.3 μL/mL (0.03%) concentration resulted in marked strengthening of changes. In addition, the E. ciliata in a concentration dependent manner reduced the AP upstroke dV/dtmax and AP amplitude as well as APD. A marked attenuation of the AP dV/dtmax and a slowing spread of electrical signals suggest the impaired functioning of Na+-channels, and the effect was use-dependent. Importantly, all these changes were at least partially reversible. Our results indicate that E. ciliata modulates cardiac electrical activity preferentially inhibiting Na+ conductance, which may contribute to its effects as a natural antiarrhythmic medicine. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Perspectives of Essential Oils)
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Open AccessReview
Brain NMDA Receptors in Schizophrenia and Depression
Biomolecules 2020, 10(6), 947; https://doi.org/10.3390/biom10060947 - 23 Jun 2020
Viewed by 292
Abstract
N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) receptor antagonists such as phencyclidine (PCP), dizocilpine (MK-801) and ketamine have long been considered a model of schizophrenia, both in animals and humans. However, ketamine has been recently approved for treatment-resistant depression, although with severe restrictions. Interestingly, the dosage in both [...] Read more.
N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) receptor antagonists such as phencyclidine (PCP), dizocilpine (MK-801) and ketamine have long been considered a model of schizophrenia, both in animals and humans. However, ketamine has been recently approved for treatment-resistant depression, although with severe restrictions. Interestingly, the dosage in both conditions is similar, and positive symptoms of schizophrenia appear before antidepressant effects emerge. Here, we describe the temporal mechanisms implicated in schizophrenia-like and antidepressant-like effects of NMDA blockade in rats, and postulate that such effects may indicate that NMDA receptor antagonists induce similar mechanistic effects, and only the basal pre-drug state of the organism delimitates the overall outcome. Hence, blockade of NMDA receptors in depressive-like status can lead to amelioration or remission of symptoms, whereas healthy individuals develop psychotic symptoms and schizophrenia patients show an exacerbation of these symptoms after the administration of NMDA receptor antagonists. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue NMDA Receptor in Health and Diseases)
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Open AccessArticle
Sequence-Dependent Correlated Segments in the Intrinsically Disordered Region of ChiZ
Biomolecules 2020, 10(6), 946; https://doi.org/10.3390/biom10060946 - 23 Jun 2020
Viewed by 247
Abstract
How sequences of intrinsically disordered proteins (IDPs) code for their conformational dynamics is poorly understood. Here, we combined NMR spectroscopy, small-angle X-ray scattering (SAXS), and molecular dynamics (MD) simulations to characterize the conformations and dynamics of ChiZ1-64. MD simulations, first validated by SAXS [...] Read more.
How sequences of intrinsically disordered proteins (IDPs) code for their conformational dynamics is poorly understood. Here, we combined NMR spectroscopy, small-angle X-ray scattering (SAXS), and molecular dynamics (MD) simulations to characterize the conformations and dynamics of ChiZ1-64. MD simulations, first validated by SAXS and secondary chemical shift data, found scant α-helices or β-strands but a considerable propensity for polyproline II (PPII) torsion angles. Importantly, several blocks of residues (e.g., 11–29) emerge as “correlated segments”, identified by their frequent formation of PPII stretches, salt bridges, cation-π interactions, and sidechain-backbone hydrogen bonds. NMR relaxation experiments showed non-uniform transverse relaxation rates (R2s) and nuclear Overhauser enhancements (NOEs) along the sequence (e.g., high R2s and NOEs for residues 11–14 and 23–28). MD simulations further revealed that the extent of segmental correlation is sequence-dependent; segments where internal interactions are more prevalent manifest elevated “collective” motions on the 5–10 ns timescale and suppressed local motions on the sub-ns timescale. Amide proton exchange rates provides corroboration, with residues in the most correlated segment exhibiting the highest protection factors. We propose the correlated segment as a defining feature for the conformations and dynamics of IDPs. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Computational Perspectives on Intrinsic Disorder-Based Functionality)
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
Circulating Inflammatory miRNAs Associated with Parkinson’s Disease Pathophysiology
Biomolecules 2020, 10(6), 945; https://doi.org/10.3390/biom10060945 - 23 Jun 2020
Viewed by 242
Abstract
Parkinson’s disease (PD) is the second most common neurodegenerative disease worldwide, being largely characterized by motor features. MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are small non-coding RNAs, whose deregulation has been associated with neurodegeneration in PD. In this study, miRNAs targeting cell death and/or inflammation pathways were [...] Read more.
Parkinson’s disease (PD) is the second most common neurodegenerative disease worldwide, being largely characterized by motor features. MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are small non-coding RNAs, whose deregulation has been associated with neurodegeneration in PD. In this study, miRNAs targeting cell death and/or inflammation pathways were selected and their expression compared in the serum of PD patients and healthy controls. We used two independent cohorts (discovery and validation) of 20 idiopathic PD patients (iPD) and 20 healthy controls each. We also analyzed an additional group of 45 patients with a mutation in the leucine-rich repeat kinase 2 (LRRK2) gene (LRRK2-PD). miRNA expression was determined using Taqman qRT-PCR and their performance to discriminate between groups was assessed by receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curve analysis. We found miR-146a, miR-335-3p, and miR-335-5p downregulated in iPD and LRRK2-PD patients versus controls in both cohorts. In addition, miR-155 was upregulated in LRRK2-PD compared to iPD patients showing an appropriate value of area under the ROC curve (AUC 0.80) to discriminate between the two groups. In conclusion, our study identified a panel of inflammatory related miRNAs differentially expressed between PD patients and healthy controls that highlight key pathophysiological processes and may contribute to improve disease diagnosis. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Microglia in Neurodegeneration)
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Open AccessArticle
Anti-Bacterial and Anti-Candidal Activity of Silver Nanoparticles Biosynthesized Using Citrobacter spp. MS5 Culture Supernatant
Biomolecules 2020, 10(6), 944; https://doi.org/10.3390/biom10060944 - 22 Jun 2020
Viewed by 242
Abstract
The present study described the extracellular synthesis of silver nanoparticles (AgNPs) using environmental bacterial isolate Citrobacter spp. MS5 culture supernatant. To our best knowledge, no previous study reported the biosynthesis of AgNPs using this bacterial isolate. The biosynthesized AgNPs were characterized using different [...] Read more.
The present study described the extracellular synthesis of silver nanoparticles (AgNPs) using environmental bacterial isolate Citrobacter spp. MS5 culture supernatant. To our best knowledge, no previous study reported the biosynthesis of AgNPs using this bacterial isolate. The biosynthesized AgNPs were characterized using different techniques like UV-Vis spectroscopy, fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR), X-ray diffraction (XRD), transmission electron microscopy (TEM), scanning electron microscopy (SEM) equipped with energy dispersive X-ray (EDX). The analysis of UV-Vis spectra revealed absorption maxima at 415 nm due to surface plasmon resonance (SPR) indicated the formation of AgNPs and FTIR spectrum confirmed the participation of proteins molecule in AgNPs synthesis. XRD and EDX spectrum confirmed the metallic and crystalline nature of AgNPs. TEM and SEM showed spherical nanoparticles with a size range of 5–15 nm. The biosynthesized AgNPs showed effective independent as well as enhanced combined antibacterial activity against extended spectrum β-lactamase (ESBL) producing multidrug resistant Gram-negative bacteria. Further, effective antifungal activity of AgNPs was observed towards pathogenic Candida spp. The present study provides evidence for eco-friendly biosynthesis of well-characterized AgNPs and their potential antibacterial as well as antifungal activity. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Bioactive Formulations in Agri-Food-Pharma: Source and Applications)
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Open AccessArticle
Comparative Genomics Reveals a Significant Sequence Variability of Myticin Genes in Mytilus galloprovincialis
Biomolecules 2020, 10(6), 943; https://doi.org/10.3390/biom10060943 - 22 Jun 2020
Viewed by 249
Abstract
Myticins are cysteine-rich antimicrobial peptides highly expressed in hemocytes of Mytilus galloprovincialis. Along with other antimicrobial peptides (AMPs), myticins are potent effectors in the mussel immune response to pathogenic infections. As intertidal filter-feeders, mussels are constantly exposed to mutable environmental conditions, as [...] Read more.
Myticins are cysteine-rich antimicrobial peptides highly expressed in hemocytes of Mytilus galloprovincialis. Along with other antimicrobial peptides (AMPs), myticins are potent effectors in the mussel immune response to pathogenic infections. As intertidal filter-feeders, mussels are constantly exposed to mutable environmental conditions, as well as to the presence of many pathogens, and myticins may be key players in the great ability of these organisms to withstand these conditions. These AMPs are known to be characterized by a remarkable sequence diversity, which was further explored in this work, thanks to the analysis of the recently released genome sequencing data from 16 specimens. Altogether, we collected 120 different sequence variants, evidencing the important impact of presence/absence variation and positive selection in shaping the repertoire of myticin genes of each individual. From a functional point of view, both the isoelectric point (pI) and the predicted charge of the mature peptide show unusually low values compared with other cysteine-rich AMPs, reinforcing previous observations that myticins may have accessory functions not directly linked with microbe killing. Finally, we report the presence of highly conserved regulatory elements in the promoter region of myticin genes, which might explain their strong hemocyte-specific expression. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Molecular Genetics)
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Open AccessArticle
TGF-β1 Activates Nasal Fibroblasts through the Induction of Endoplasmic Reticulum Stress
Biomolecules 2020, 10(6), 942; https://doi.org/10.3390/biom10060942 - 22 Jun 2020
Viewed by 198
Abstract
(1) Background: Tissue remodeling and extracellular matrix (ECM) accumulation contribute to the development of chronic inflammatory diseases of the upper airway. Endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress is considered to be the key signal for triggering tissue remodeling in pathological conditions. The present study aimed [...] Read more.
(1) Background: Tissue remodeling and extracellular matrix (ECM) accumulation contribute to the development of chronic inflammatory diseases of the upper airway. Endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress is considered to be the key signal for triggering tissue remodeling in pathological conditions. The present study aimed to investigate the role of ER-stress in TGF-β1-stimulated nasal fibroblasts and inferior turbinate organ cultures; (2) Methods: Fibroblasts and organ cultures were pretreated with 4-phenylbutyric acid (PBA) and stimulated with TGF-β1 or thapsigargin (TG). Expression of ER-stress markers, myofibroblast marker, and ECM components was measured by Western blotting and real-time PCR. Reactive oxygen species (ROS) were quantified using 2′,7′-dichlorofluorescein diacetate. Cell migration was evaluated using Transwell assays. Contractile activity was measured by collagen contraction assay; (3) Results: 4-PBA inhibited TGF-β1 or TG-induced ER-stress marker expression, phenotypic changes, and ECM. Pre-treatment with ROS scavengers inhibited the expression of TGF-β1-induced ER-stress markers. Migration and collagen contraction of TGF-β1 or TG-stimulated fibroblasts were ameliorated by 4-PBA treatment. These findings were confirmed in ex vivo organ cultures; (4) Conclusions: 4-PBA downregulates TGF-β1-induced ER-stress marker expression, migration, and collagen contraction via ROS in fibroblasts and organ cultures. These results suggest that ER-stress may play an important role in progression of chronic upper airway inflammatory diseases by aiding pathological tissue remodeling. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Endoplasmic Reticulum Stress in Diseases)
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Open AccessArticle
Biological Manganese Removal by Novel Halotolerant Bacteria Isolated from River Water
Biomolecules 2020, 10(6), 941; https://doi.org/10.3390/biom10060941 - 22 Jun 2020
Viewed by 261
Abstract
Manganese-oxidizing bacteria have been widely investigated for bioremediation of Mn-contaminated water sources and for production of biogenic Mn oxides that have extensive applications in environmental remediation. In this study, a total of 5 Mn-resistant bacteria were isolated from river water and investigated for [...] Read more.
Manganese-oxidizing bacteria have been widely investigated for bioremediation of Mn-contaminated water sources and for production of biogenic Mn oxides that have extensive applications in environmental remediation. In this study, a total of 5 Mn-resistant bacteria were isolated from river water and investigated for Mn removal. Among them, Ochrobactrum sp. NDMn-6 exhibited the highest Mn removal efficiency (99.1%). The final precipitates produced by this strain were defined as a mixture of Mn2O3, MnO2, and MnCO3. Optimal Mn-removal performance by strain NDMn-6 was obtained at a temperature range of 25–30 °C and the salinity of 0.1–0.5%. More interestingly, strain NDMn-6 could be resistant to salinities of up to 5%, revealing that this strain could be possibly applied for Mn remediation of high salinity regions or industrial saline wastewaters. This study also revealed the potential of self-detoxification mechanisms, wherein river water contaminated with Mn could be cleaned by indigenous bacteria through an appropriate biostimulation scheme. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Biological Materials)
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Open AccessArticle
The Effect of Chronic Methamphetamine Treatment on Schizophrenia Endophenotypes in Heterozygous Reelin Mice: Implications for Schizophrenia
Biomolecules 2020, 10(6), 940; https://doi.org/10.3390/biom10060940 - 22 Jun 2020
Viewed by 195
Abstract
Reelin has been implicated in the development of schizophrenia but the mechanisms involved in this interaction remain unclear. Chronic methamphetamine (Meth) use may cause dopaminergic sensitisation and psychosis and has been proposed to affect brain dopamine systems similarly to changes seen in schizophrenia. [...] Read more.
Reelin has been implicated in the development of schizophrenia but the mechanisms involved in this interaction remain unclear. Chronic methamphetamine (Meth) use may cause dopaminergic sensitisation and psychosis and has been proposed to affect brain dopamine systems similarly to changes seen in schizophrenia. We compared the long-term effect of chronic Meth treatment between heterozygous reelin mice (HRM) and wildtype controls (WT) with the aim of better understanding the role of reelin in schizophrenia. Meth pretreatment induced sensitisation to the effect of an acute Meth challenge on locomotor activity, but it had no effect on baseline PPI or sociability and social preference. In all behavioural models, HRM did not significantly differ from WT at baseline, except spontaneous exploratory locomotor activity which was higher in HRM than WT, and sociability which was enhanced in HRM. Locomotor hyperactivity sensitisation was not significantly different between HRM and WT. Chronic Meth treatment reduced spontaneous locomotor activity to the level of WT. No deficits in PPI or social behaviour were induced by chronic Meth pretreatment in either strain. In conclusion, these data do not support a role of reelin in schizophrenia, at least not in HRM and in the methamphetamine sensitisation model. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Reelin, a Hub Protein during Nervous System Development?)
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Open AccessArticle
Development of Biodegradable Agar-Agar/Gelatin-Based Superabsorbent Hydrogel as an Efficient Moisture-Retaining Agent
Biomolecules 2020, 10(6), 939; https://doi.org/10.3390/biom10060939 - 22 Jun 2020
Viewed by 235
Abstract
Downgrading in the yield of crop is due to the inadequate availability of water. The way out for this trouble is to construct synthetic resources dependent on natural polymers with great water absorption and preservation limits. The present study investigated the design of [...] Read more.
Downgrading in the yield of crop is due to the inadequate availability of water. The way out for this trouble is to construct synthetic resources dependent on natural polymers with great water absorption and preservation limits. The present study investigated the design of agar-agar (Agr) and gelatin (GE) copolymerized methyl acrylate (MA) and acrylic acid (AA) hydrogel (Agr/GE-co-MA/AA) as a soil conditioner for moisture maintenance in agriculture. Agr/GE-co-MA/AA hydrogel was prepared by utilizing microwave-assisted green synthesis following the most suitable reaction conditions to obtain a remarkable water swelling percentage. The fabricated Agr/GE-co-MA/AA hydrogel was investigated through field emission scanning electron microscopy (FESEM), fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR), and X-ray diffraction (XRD). The water holding capacity of the soil and sand was examined by mixing Agr/GE-co-MA/AA hydrogel with soil and sand. The result demonstrates that the water holding time extended from 10 to 30 days for soil and 6 to 10 days for sand by using Agr/GE-co-MA/AA hydrogel. This synthesized biodegradable, low-cost and non-toxic Agr/GE-co-MA/AA hydrogel shows novelty as soil water maintaining material for irrigation in agriculture. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Bioactive Formulations in Agri-Food-Pharma: Source and Applications)
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Open AccessArticle
CoRNeA: A Pipeline to Decrypt the Inter-Protein Interfaces from Amino Acid Sequence Information
Biomolecules 2020, 10(6), 938; https://doi.org/10.3390/biom10060938 - 22 Jun 2020
Viewed by 751
Abstract
Decrypting the interface residues of the protein complexes provides insight into the functions of the proteins and, hence, the overall cellular machinery. Computational methods have been devised in the past to predict the interface residues using amino acid sequence information, but all these [...] Read more.
Decrypting the interface residues of the protein complexes provides insight into the functions of the proteins and, hence, the overall cellular machinery. Computational methods have been devised in the past to predict the interface residues using amino acid sequence information, but all these methods have been majorly applied to predict for prokaryotic protein complexes. Since the composition and rate of evolution of the primary sequence is different between prokaryotes and eukaryotes, it is important to develop a method specifically for eukaryotic complexes. Here, we report a new hybrid pipeline for predicting the protein-protein interaction interfaces in a pairwise manner from the amino acid sequence information of the interacting proteins. It is based on the framework of Co-evolution, machine learning (Random Forest), and Network Analysis named CoRNeA trained specifically on eukaryotic protein complexes. We use Co-evolution, physicochemical properties, and contact potential as major group of features to train the Random Forest classifier. We also incorporate the intra-contact information of the individual proteins to eliminate false positives from the predictions keeping in mind that the amino acid sequence of a protein also holds information for its own folding and not only the interface propensities. Our prediction on example datasets shows that CoRNeA not only enhances the prediction of true interface residues but also reduces false positive rates significantly. Full article
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