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Biomolecules, Volume 9, Issue 5 (May 2019)

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Cover Story (view full-size image) The prevalent endocrine disruptor, bisphenol A (BPA), was found to affect interphase and mitotic [...] Read more.
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Open AccessArticle
Adsorption and Diffusion of Cisplatin Molecules in Nanoporous Materials: A Molecular Dynamics Study
Biomolecules 2019, 9(5), 204; https://doi.org/10.3390/biom9050204
Received: 11 May 2019 / Accepted: 22 May 2019 / Published: 27 May 2019
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Abstract
Using molecular dynamics simulations, the adsorption and diffusion of cisplatin drug molecules in nanopores is investigated for several inorganic materials. Three different materials are studied with widely-varying properties: metallic gold, covalent silicon, and silica. We found a strong influence of both the van [...] Read more.
Using molecular dynamics simulations, the adsorption and diffusion of cisplatin drug molecules in nanopores is investigated for several inorganic materials. Three different materials are studied with widely-varying properties: metallic gold, covalent silicon, and silica. We found a strong influence of both the van der Waals and the electrostatic interaction on the adsorption behavior on the pore walls, which in turn influence the diffusion coefficients. While van der Waals forces generally lead to a reduction of the diffusion coefficient, the fluctuations in the electrostatic energy induced by orientation changes of the cisplatin molecule were found to help desorb the molecule from the wall. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Anticancer Platinum Drugs Update)
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Open AccessReview
Interleukin-33 Involvement in Nonsmall Cell Lung Carcinomas: An Update
Biomolecules 2019, 9(5), 203; https://doi.org/10.3390/biom9050203
Received: 17 April 2019 / Revised: 13 May 2019 / Accepted: 22 May 2019 / Published: 25 May 2019
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Abstract
Lung carcinogenesis is a multistep process involving genetic mutations and epigenetic changes, with the acquisition of a malignant phenotype characterized by apoptosis resistance, unregulated proliferation and differentiation, invasion, and metastatic abilities. However, neoplastic development and progression seem to be aided by non-neoplastic cells; [...] Read more.
Lung carcinogenesis is a multistep process involving genetic mutations and epigenetic changes, with the acquisition of a malignant phenotype characterized by apoptosis resistance, unregulated proliferation and differentiation, invasion, and metastatic abilities. However, neoplastic development and progression seem to be aided by non-neoplastic cells; the molecules they produced can either promote the immune response or, alternatively, support tumor pathogenesis. Consequently, the relative contribution of tumor-associated inflammatory pathways to cancer development has become crucial information. Interleukin-33 (IL-33) is an IL-1-like alarmin, and it is a ligand for the suppressor of tumorigenicity 2 (ST2) receptor. IL-33 functions as a dual role cytokine with the ability to induce T-helper-type 2 (Th2) immune cells and translocate into the nucleus, suppressing gene transcription. Although its function in immunity- and immune-related disorders is well known, its role in tumorigenesis is still debated. The IL-33/ST2 axis is emerging as a powerful modulator of the tumor microenvironment (TME) by recruiting immune cells, able to modify the TME, supporting malignant proliferation or improving antitumor immunity. In the present review, we discuss IL-33′s potential role in lung carcinogenesis and its possible application as a therapeutic target. Full article
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Open AccessReview
Nanoparticle Activation Methods in Cancer Treatment
Biomolecules 2019, 9(5), 202; https://doi.org/10.3390/biom9050202
Received: 3 May 2019 / Revised: 17 May 2019 / Accepted: 22 May 2019 / Published: 24 May 2019
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Abstract
In this review, we intend to highlight the progress which has been made in recent years around different types of smart activation nanosystems for cancer treatment. Conventional treatment methods, such as chemotherapy or radiotherapy, suffer from a lack of specific targeting and consequent [...] Read more.
In this review, we intend to highlight the progress which has been made in recent years around different types of smart activation nanosystems for cancer treatment. Conventional treatment methods, such as chemotherapy or radiotherapy, suffer from a lack of specific targeting and consequent off-target effects. This has led to the development of smart nanosystems which can effect specific regional and temporal activation. In this review, we will discuss the different methodologies which have been designed to permit activation at the tumour site. These can be divided into mechanisms which take advantage of the differences between healthy cells and cancer cells to trigger activation, and those which activate by a mechanism extrinsic to the cell or tumour environment. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Nanoparticles for Cancer Therapy)
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Open AccessArticle
Identification of Crucial Candidate Genes and Pathways in Glioblastoma Multiform by Bioinformatics Analysis
Biomolecules 2019, 9(5), 201; https://doi.org/10.3390/biom9050201
Received: 9 April 2019 / Revised: 17 May 2019 / Accepted: 23 May 2019 / Published: 24 May 2019
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Abstract
The present study aimed to investigate the molecular mechanisms underlying glioblastoma multiform (GBM) and its biomarkers. The differentially expressed genes (DEGs) were diagnosed using the limma software package. The ToppGene (ToppFun) was used to perform pathway and Gene Ontology (GO) enrichment analysis of [...] Read more.
The present study aimed to investigate the molecular mechanisms underlying glioblastoma multiform (GBM) and its biomarkers. The differentially expressed genes (DEGs) were diagnosed using the limma software package. The ToppGene (ToppFun) was used to perform pathway and Gene Ontology (GO) enrichment analysis of the DEGs. Protein-protein interaction (PPI) networks, extracted modules, miRNA-target genes regulatory network and TF-target genes regulatory network were used to obtain insight into the actions of DEGs. Survival analysis for DEGs was carried out. A total of 590 DEGs, including 243 up regulated and 347 down regulated genes, were diagnosed between scrambled shRNA expression and Lin7A knock down. The up-regulated genes were enriched in ribosome, mitochondrial translation termination, translation, and peptide biosynthetic process. The down-regulated genes were enriched in focal adhesion, VEGFR3 signaling in lymphatic endothelium, extracellular matrix organization, and extracellular matrix. The current study screened the genes in the PPI network, extracted modules, miRNA-target genes regulatory network, and TF-target genes regulatory network with higher degrees as hub genes, which included NPM1, CUL4A, YIPF1, SHC1, AKT1, VLDLR, RPL14, P3H2, DTNA, FAM126B, RPL34, and MYL5. Survival analysis indicated that the high expression of RPL36A and MRPL35 were predicting longer survival of GBM, while high expression of AP1S1 and AKAP12 were predicting shorter survival of GBM. High expression of RPL36A and AP1S1 were associated with pathogenesis of GBM, while low expression of ALPL was associated with pathogenesis of GBM. In conclusion, the current study diagnosed DEGs between scrambled shRNA expression and Lin7A knock down samples, which could improve our understanding of the molecular mechanisms in the progression of GBM, and these crucial as well as new diagnostic markers might be used as therapeutic targets for GBM. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biomarkers for Cancer)
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Open AccessArticle
The Effect of Anticoagulants, Temperature, and Time on the Human Plasma Metabolome and Lipidome from Healthy Donors as Determined by Liquid Chromatography-Mass Spectrometry
Biomolecules 2019, 9(5), 200; https://doi.org/10.3390/biom9050200
Received: 18 April 2019 / Revised: 14 May 2019 / Accepted: 21 May 2019 / Published: 23 May 2019
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Abstract
Liquid-chromatography mass spectrometry is commonly used to identify and quantify metabolites from biological samples to gain insight into human physiology and pathology. Metabolites and their abundance in biological samples are labile and sensitive to variations in collection conditions, handling and processing. Variations in [...] Read more.
Liquid-chromatography mass spectrometry is commonly used to identify and quantify metabolites from biological samples to gain insight into human physiology and pathology. Metabolites and their abundance in biological samples are labile and sensitive to variations in collection conditions, handling and processing. Variations in sample handling could influence metabolite levels in ways not related to biology, ultimately leading to the misinterpretation of results. For example, anticoagulants and preservatives modulate enzyme activity and metabolite oxidization. Temperature may alter both enzymatic and non-enzymatic chemistry. The potential for variation induced by collection conditions is particularly important when samples are collected in remote locations without immediate access to specimen processing. Data are needed regarding the variation introduced by clinical sample collection processes to avoid introducing artifact biases. In this study, we used metabolomics and lipidomics approaches paired with univariate and multivariate statistical analyses to assess the effects of anticoagulant, temperature, and time on healthy human plasma samples collected to provide guidelines on sample collection, handling, and processing for vaccinology. Principal component analyses demonstrated clustering by sample collection procedure and that anticoagulant type had the greatest effect on sample metabolite variation. Lipids such as glycerophospholipids, acylcarnitines, sphingolipids, diacylglycerols, triacylglycerols, and cholesteryl esters are significantly affected by anticoagulant type as are amino acids such as aspartate, histidine, and glutamine. Most plasma metabolites and lipids were unaffected by storage time and temperature. Based on this study, we recommend samples be collected using a single anticoagulant (preferably EDTA) with sample processing at <24 h at 4 °C. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Molecular Medicine)
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Open AccessBrief Report
Computational Simulation of Adapter Length-Dependent LASSO Probe Capture Efficiency
Biomolecules 2019, 9(5), 199; https://doi.org/10.3390/biom9050199
Received: 29 March 2019 / Revised: 19 May 2019 / Accepted: 20 May 2019 / Published: 22 May 2019
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Abstract
Multiplexed cloning of long DNA sequences is a valuable technique in many biotechnology applications, such as long-read genome sequencing and the creation of open reading frame (ORF) libraries. Long-adapter single-stranded oligonucleotide (LASSO) probes have shown promise as a tool to clone long DNA [...] Read more.
Multiplexed cloning of long DNA sequences is a valuable technique in many biotechnology applications, such as long-read genome sequencing and the creation of open reading frame (ORF) libraries. Long-adapter single-stranded oligonucleotide (LASSO) probes have shown promise as a tool to clone long DNA fragments. LASSO probes are molecular inversion probes (MIP) engineered with an adapter region of user-defined length, flanked between template-specific probe sequences. Herein, we demonstrate that the adapter length is a key feature of LASSO that influences the efficiency of gene capture and cloning. Furthermore, we applied a model based on Monte Carlo molecular simulation in order to study the relationship between the long-adapter length of LASSO and capture enrichment. Our results suggest that the adapter length is a factor that contributes to the free energy of target–probe interaction, thereby determining the efficiency of capture. The results indicate that LASSOs with extremely long adapters cannot capture the targets well. They also suggest that targets of different lengths may prefer adapters of different lengths. Full article
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Open AccessCommunication
Poly-β-Hydroxybutyrate Production by the Cyanobacterium Scytonema geitleri Bharadwaja under Varying Environmental Conditions
Biomolecules 2019, 9(5), 198; https://doi.org/10.3390/biom9050198
Received: 4 April 2019 / Revised: 18 May 2019 / Accepted: 19 May 2019 / Published: 21 May 2019
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Abstract
The production of poly-β-hydroxybutyrate (PHB) under varying environmental conditions (pH, temperature and carbon sources) was examined in the cyanobacterium Scytonema geitleri Bharadwaja isolated from the roof-top of a building. The S. geitleri produced PHB and the production of PHB was linear with the [...] Read more.
The production of poly-β-hydroxybutyrate (PHB) under varying environmental conditions (pH, temperature and carbon sources) was examined in the cyanobacterium Scytonema geitleri Bharadwaja isolated from the roof-top of a building. The S. geitleri produced PHB and the production of PHB was linear with the growth of cyanobacterium. The maximum PHB production (7.12% of dry cell weight) was recorded when the cells of S. geitleri were at their stationary growth phase. The production of PHB was optimum at pH 8.5 and 30 °C, and acetate (30 mM) was the preferred carbon source. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biology, Biotechnology and Bioprospecting of Microbial Biomolecules)
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Open AccessArticle
Clove Essential Oil as an Alternative Approach to Control Postharvest Blue Mold Caused by Penicillium italicum in Citrus Fruit
Biomolecules 2019, 9(5), 197; https://doi.org/10.3390/biom9050197
Received: 10 April 2019 / Revised: 14 May 2019 / Accepted: 17 May 2019 / Published: 21 May 2019
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Abstract
Penicillium italicum causes blue mold disease and leads to huge economic losses in citrus production. As a natural antifungal agent, clove essential oil (CEO), which is a generally recognized as safe (GRAS) substance, shows strong in vitro activity against fungal pathogens. However, few [...] Read more.
Penicillium italicum causes blue mold disease and leads to huge economic losses in citrus production. As a natural antifungal agent, clove essential oil (CEO), which is a generally recognized as safe (GRAS) substance, shows strong in vitro activity against fungal pathogens. However, few studies on CEO for controlling postharvest blue mold disease caused by P. italicum in citrus fruit have been reported. Our aims were to investigate the control efficacy and possible mechanisms involved of CEO against P. italicum. In the present study, CEO treatment inhibited the disease development of blue mold when applied at 0.05% to 0.8% (v/v), and with the effective concentration being obtained as 0.4% (v/v). Besides its direct antifungal activity, CEO treatment also spurred a rapid accumulation of H2O2 compared with untreated fruits, which might contribute to enhancing an increase in the activities of defense-related enzymes, such as β-1,3-glucanase (β-Glu), chitinase (CHI), phenylalanine ammonia-lyase (PAL), peroxidase (POD), polyphenol oxidase (PPO), and lipoxygenase (LOX) in citrus fruit. Results of real time-quantitative polymerase chain reaction (RT-qPCR) showed that the gene expressions of β-Glu, CHI, PAL, POD and PPO were up-regulated in CEO-treated fruits. At the same time, CEO treatment led to down-regulated expression of the LOX gene in citrus fruit. Clove essential oil effectively control the disease incidence of blue mold decay in citrus fruit by motivating the host-defense responses, suppressing the malondialdehyde (MDA) accumulation while enhancing the activities and gene expressions of defense-related enzymes. Our study provides an alternative preservative applying CEO to reduce postharvest fungal decay in citrus fruit. Full article
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
Drug Delivery Systems: Study of Inclusion Complex Formation between Methylxanthines and Cyclodextrins and Their Thermodynamic and Transport Properties
Biomolecules 2019, 9(5), 196; https://doi.org/10.3390/biom9050196
Received: 18 April 2019 / Revised: 13 May 2019 / Accepted: 14 May 2019 / Published: 20 May 2019
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Abstract
This paper presents an analysis of the molecular mechanisms involved in the formation of inclusion complexes together with some structural interpretation of drug–carrier molecule interactions in aqueous multicomponent systems comprising methylxanthines and cyclodextrins. The determination of apparent partial molar volumes (φV [...] Read more.
This paper presents an analysis of the molecular mechanisms involved in the formation of inclusion complexes together with some structural interpretation of drug–carrier molecule interactions in aqueous multicomponent systems comprising methylxanthines and cyclodextrins. The determination of apparent partial molar volumes ( φ V ) from experimental density measurements, both for binary and ternary aqueous solutions of cyclodextrins and methylxanthines, was performed at low concentration range to be consistent with their therapeutic uses in the drug-releasing field. The estimation of the equilibrium constant for inclusion complexes of 1:1 stoichiometry was done through the mathematical modelling of this apparent molar property. The examination of the volume changes offered information about the driving forces for the insertion of the xanthine into the cyclodextrin molecule. The analysis on the volumes of transfer, Δ φ V , c , and the viscosity B-coefficients of transfer, ΔB, for the xanthine from water to the different aqueous solutions of cyclodextrin allowed evaluating the possible interactions between aqueous solutes and/or solute–solvent interactions occurring in the solution. Mutual diffusion coefficients for binary, and ternary mixtures composed by xanthine, cyclodextrin, and water were measured with the Taylor dispersion technique. The behavior diffusion of these multicomponent systems and the coupled flows occurring in the solution were analyzed in order to understand the probable interactions between cyclodextrin–xanthine by estimating their association constants and leading to clearer insight of these systems structure. The measurements were performed at the standard (298.15 ± 0.01) K and physiological (310.15 ± 0.01) K temperatures. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Transport Properties for Pharmaceutical Controlled-Release Systems)
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Open AccessCommunication
Antiproliferative Effect of Aminoethyl-Chitooligosaccharide on Human Lung A549 Cancer Cells
Biomolecules 2019, 9(5), 195; https://doi.org/10.3390/biom9050195
Received: 30 April 2019 / Revised: 16 May 2019 / Accepted: 18 May 2019 / Published: 18 May 2019
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Abstract
The aminoethyl–chitooligosaccharide (AE-COS) was reported to inhibit human gastric cancer cell proliferation and human fibrosarcoma cell invasion. In this study, the role of AE-COS in down-regulation of proliferation of human lung A549 cancer cells was evaluated. It was found that AE-COS was able [...] Read more.
The aminoethyl–chitooligosaccharide (AE-COS) was reported to inhibit human gastric cancer cell proliferation and human fibrosarcoma cell invasion. In this study, the role of AE-COS in down-regulation of proliferation of human lung A549 cancer cells was evaluated. It was found that AE-COS was able to reduce A549 cell proliferation to (32 ± 1.3)% at a concentration of 500 µg/mL. Moreover, AE-COS treatment caused suppression on COX-2 expression in a dose-dependent manner. Notably, the role of AE-COS in induction of cell apoptosis was observed via decreasing Bcl-2 expression and increasing caspase-3 and -9 activation. Accordingly, the antiproliferative effect of AE-COS was indicated due to suppression of cell proliferation and induction of cell apoptosis, suggesting AE-COS as a promising chemotherapy agent for treatment of lung cancer. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Bioactives from Marine Products)
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Open AccessReview
Network Contractility during Cytokinesis—From Molecular to Global Views
Biomolecules 2019, 9(5), 194; https://doi.org/10.3390/biom9050194
Received: 19 March 2019 / Revised: 30 April 2019 / Accepted: 30 April 2019 / Published: 18 May 2019
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Abstract
Cytokinesis is the last stage of cell division, which partitions the mother cell into two daughter cells. It requires the assembly and constriction of a contractile ring that consists of a filamentous contractile network of actin and myosin. Network contractility depends on network [...] Read more.
Cytokinesis is the last stage of cell division, which partitions the mother cell into two daughter cells. It requires the assembly and constriction of a contractile ring that consists of a filamentous contractile network of actin and myosin. Network contractility depends on network architecture, level of connectivity and myosin motor activity, but how exactly is the contractile ring network organized or interconnected and how much it depends on motor activity remains unclear. Moreover, the contractile ring is not an isolated entity; rather, it is integrated into the surrounding cortex. Therefore, the mechanical properties of the cell cortex and cortical behaviors are expected to impact contractile ring functioning. Due to the complexity of the process, experimental approaches have been coupled to theoretical modeling in order to advance its global understanding. While earlier coarse-grained descriptions attempted to provide an integrated view of the process, recent models have mostly focused on understanding the behavior of an isolated contractile ring. Here we provide an overview of the organization and dynamics of the actomyosin network during cytokinesis and discuss existing theoretical models in light of cortical behaviors and experimental evidence from several systems. Our view on what is missing in current models and should be tested in the future is provided. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Cytoskeleton and Regulation of Mitosis)
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Open AccessArticle
Clinical Value of Circulating Microribonucleic Acids miR-1 and miR-21 in Evaluating the Diagnosis of Acute Heart Failure in Asymptomatic Type 2 Diabetic Patients
Biomolecules 2019, 9(5), 193; https://doi.org/10.3390/biom9050193
Received: 25 April 2019 / Revised: 10 May 2019 / Accepted: 15 May 2019 / Published: 17 May 2019
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Abstract
To investigate whether the circulating miR-1 (microRNA-1) and miR-21 expression might be used in the diagnosis of heart failure (HF) and silent coronary artery disease (SCAD) in asymptomatic type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) patients and to explore the relationship of these miRs with [...] Read more.
To investigate whether the circulating miR-1 (microRNA-1) and miR-21 expression might be used in the diagnosis of heart failure (HF) and silent coronary artery disease (SCAD) in asymptomatic type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) patients and to explore the relationship of these miRs with N-terminal pro-brain natriuretic peptide (NT-proBNP) and galectin-3. One hundred thirty-five consecutive patients with T2DM and 45 matched control subjects were enrolled in the study. This study consisted of the following four groups: control group (mean age: 60.23 ± 6.27 years, female/male (F/M): 23/22); diabetic group (DM) (mean age: 61.50 ± 5.08, F/M: 23/22); DM + SCAD group (mean age: 61.61 ± 6.02, F/M: 20/25); and DM + acute HF group (mean age: 62.07 ± 5.26 years, F/M: 20/25). miR-1 was downregulated in the DM, CAD + DM and HF + DM groups by 0.54, 0.54, and 0.12 fold as compared with controls, respectively. The miR-1 levels were significantly lower in HF + DM than DM with 0.22 fold changes (p < 0.001); and in patients with CAD + DM group with 0.22 fold changes (p < 0.001). Similarly, miR-21 was overexpressed in patients with DM, CAD + DM, and HF + DM with 1.30, 1.79 and 2.21 fold changes as compared with controls, respectively. An interesting finding is that the miR-21 expression was significantly higher in the HF + DM group as compared with the CAD + DM group; miR-1 was negatively correlated with NT-proBNP (r = −0.891, p < 0.001) and galectin-3 (r = −0.886, p < 0.001) in the HF + DM group; and miR-21 showed a strongly positive correlation with (r = 0.734, p < 0.001) and galectin-3 (r = 0.764. p < 0.001) in the HF + DM group. These results suggest that the circulating decreased miR-1 and increased miR-21 expression are associated with NT-proBNP and galectin-3 levels in acute HF + DM. Especially the miR-21 expression might be useful in predicting the onset of acute HF in asymptomatic T2DM patients. The miR-21 expression is more valuable than the miR-1 expression in predicting cardiovascular events of acute HF and the combined analysis of miR-21 expression, galectin-3, and NT-proBNP can increase the predictive value of miR-21 expression. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Genetics of Cardiovascular Disorders)
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Open AccessArticle
Relative Telomere Length and Cardiovascular Risk Factors
Biomolecules 2019, 9(5), 192; https://doi.org/10.3390/biom9050192
Received: 6 April 2019 / Revised: 4 May 2019 / Accepted: 15 May 2019 / Published: 17 May 2019
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Abstract
(1) Background: Telomeres are repetitive DNA sequences located at the extremities of chromosomes that maintain genetic stability. Telomere biology is relevant to several human disorders and diseases, specifically cardiovascular disease. To better understand the link between cardiovascular disease and telomere length, we studied [...] Read more.
(1) Background: Telomeres are repetitive DNA sequences located at the extremities of chromosomes that maintain genetic stability. Telomere biology is relevant to several human disorders and diseases, specifically cardiovascular disease. To better understand the link between cardiovascular disease and telomere length, we studied the effect of relative telomere length (RTL) on cardiovascular risk factors in a large population-based sample. (2) Methods: RTL was measured by a real-time quantitative polymerase chain reaction in subjects of the population-based Gutenberg Health Study (n = 4944). We then performed an association study of RTL with known cardiovascular risk factors of smoking status as well as systolic and diastolic blood pressure, body mass index (BMI), LDL cholesterol, HDL cholesterol, and triglycerides. (3) Results: A significant correlation was shown for RTL, with age as a quality control in our study (effect = −0.004, p = 3.2 × 10−47). Analysis of the relation between RTL and cardiovascular risk factors showed a significant association of RTL in patients who were current smokers (effect = −0.016, p = 0.048). No significant associations with RTL were seen for cardiovascular risk factors of LDL cholesterol (p = 0.127), HDL cholesterol (p = 0.713), triglycerides (p = 0.359), smoking (p = 0.328), diastolic blood pressure (p = 0.615), systolic blood pressure (p = 0.949), or BMI (p = 0.903). In a subsequent analysis, we calculated the tertiles of RTL. No significant difference across RTL tertiles was detectable for BMI, blood pressure, lipid levels, or smoking status. Finally, we studied the association of RTL and cardiovascular risk factors stratified by tertiles of age. We found a significant association of RTL and LDL cholesterol in the oldest tertile of age (effect = 0.0004, p = 0.006). (4) Conclusions: We determined the association of relative telomere length and cardiovascular risk factors in a population setting. An association of telomere length with age, current smoking status, as well as with LDL cholesterol in the oldest tertile of age was found, whereas no associations were observed between telomere length and triglycerides, HDL cholesterol, blood pressure, or BMI. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biomolecules for Translational Approaches in Cardiology)
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Open AccessArticle
Amantadine Combines Astroglial System Xc Activation with Glutamate/NMDA Receptor Inhibition
Biomolecules 2019, 9(5), 191; https://doi.org/10.3390/biom9050191
Received: 21 April 2019 / Revised: 11 May 2019 / Accepted: 15 May 2019 / Published: 17 May 2019
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Abstract
A glutamate/NMDA receptor (NMDA-R) antagonist, amantadine (AMA) exhibits a broad spectrum of clinically important properties, including antiviral, antiparkinsonian, neuroprotective, neuro-reparative and cognitive-enhancing effects. However, both clinical and pre-clinical studies have demonstrated that noncompetitive NMDA-R antagonists induce severe schizophrenia-like cognitive deficits. Therefore, this study [...] Read more.
A glutamate/NMDA receptor (NMDA-R) antagonist, amantadine (AMA) exhibits a broad spectrum of clinically important properties, including antiviral, antiparkinsonian, neuroprotective, neuro-reparative and cognitive-enhancing effects. However, both clinical and pre-clinical studies have demonstrated that noncompetitive NMDA-R antagonists induce severe schizophrenia-like cognitive deficits. Therefore, this study aims to clarify the clinical discrepancy between AMA and noncompetitive NMDA-R antagonists by comparing the effects of AMA with those of a noncompetitive NMDA-R antagonist, MK801, on rat tripartite glutamatergic synaptic transmission using microdialysis and primary cultured astrocytes. Microdialysis study demonstrated that the stimulatory effects of AMA on L-glutamate release differed from those of MK801 in the globus pallidus, entorhinal cortex and entopeduncular nucleus. The stimulatory effect of AMA on L-glutamate release was modulated by activation of cystine/glutamate antiporter (Sxc). Primary cultured astrocytes study demonstrated that AMA also enhanced glutathione synthesis via Sxc activation. Furthermore, carbon-monoxide induced damage of the astroglial glutathione synthesis system was repaired by AMA but not MK801. Additionally, glutamate/AMPA receptor (AMPA-R) antagonist, perampanel enhanced the protective effects of AMA. The findings of microdialysis and cultured astrocyte studies suggest that a combination of Sxc activation with inhibitions of ionotropic glutamate receptors contributes to neuroprotective, neuro-reparative and cognitive-enhancing activities that can mitigate several neuropsychiatric disorders. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue NMDA Receptor in Health and Diseases)
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Open AccessReview
The Contribution of the 20S Proteasome to Proteostasis
Biomolecules 2019, 9(5), 190; https://doi.org/10.3390/biom9050190
Received: 12 April 2019 / Revised: 7 May 2019 / Accepted: 12 May 2019 / Published: 16 May 2019
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Abstract
The last decade has seen accumulating evidence of various proteins being degraded by the core 20S proteasome, without its regulatory particle(s). Here, we will describe recent advances in our knowledge of the functional aspects of the 20S proteasome, exploring several different systems and [...] Read more.
The last decade has seen accumulating evidence of various proteins being degraded by the core 20S proteasome, without its regulatory particle(s). Here, we will describe recent advances in our knowledge of the functional aspects of the 20S proteasome, exploring several different systems and processes. These include neuronal communication, post-translational processing, oxidative stress, intrinsically disordered protein regulation, and extracellular proteasomes. Taken together, these findings suggest that the 20S proteasome, like the well-studied 26S proteasome, is involved in multiple biological processes. Clarifying our understanding of its workings calls for a transformation in our perception of 20S proteasome-mediated degradation—no longer as a passive and marginal path, but rather as an independent, coordinated biological process. Nevertheless, in spite of impressive progress made thus far, the field still lags far behind the front lines of 26S proteasome research. Therefore, we also touch on the gaps in our knowledge of the 20S proteasome that remain to be bridged in the future. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Broader Cellular Impact of Proteasome-CSN-eIf3 (PCI) Complexes)
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Open AccessArticle
Chelidonic Acid and Its Derivatives from Saussurea Controversa: Isolation, Structural Elucidation and Influence on the Osteogenic Differentiation of Multipotent Mesenchymal Stromal Cells In Vitro
Biomolecules 2019, 9(5), 189; https://doi.org/10.3390/biom9050189
Received: 3 April 2019 / Revised: 2 May 2019 / Accepted: 13 May 2019 / Published: 16 May 2019
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Abstract
4-oxo-4H-pyran-2.6-dicarboxylic acid (chelidonic acid, ChA) in the native state and in the complex with calcium [Ca(ChA)(H2O)3], named saucalchelin (CaChA), was isolated from the extract of Saussurea controversa leaves for the first time for the Asteraceae family. The [...] Read more.
4-oxo-4H-pyran-2.6-dicarboxylic acid (chelidonic acid, ChA) in the native state and in the complex with calcium [Ca(ChA)(H2O)3], named saucalchelin (CaChA), was isolated from the extract of Saussurea controversa leaves for the first time for the Asteraceae family. The structure of ChA was determined by NMR, MS and confirmed by X-ray analysis of its monomethyl ester, and CaChA was described by IR, ICP-MS, CHN analysis. The yield of ChA and CaChA was 45 mg/g and 70 mg/g of extract, respectively. The osteogenic activity of ChA, n-monobutyl ester of chelidonic acid, and CaChA has been studied in vitro in a 21-day culture of human adipose-derived multipotent mesenchymal stromal cells (hAMMSCs) in a standard nutrient medium without osteogenic supplements. CaChA significantly stimulated the growth of cell mass and differentiation of hAMMSCs into osteoblasts with subsequent mineralization of the culture and it may be a promising substance for accelerating bone tissue regeneration and engineering. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Expansion and Evolutionary Patterns of Glycosyltransferase Family 8 in Gramineae Crop Genomes and Their Expression under Salt and Cold Stresses in Oryza sativa ssp. japonica
Biomolecules 2019, 9(5), 188; https://doi.org/10.3390/biom9050188
Received: 29 March 2019 / Revised: 13 May 2019 / Accepted: 14 May 2019 / Published: 15 May 2019
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Abstract
Plant cell walls play a fundamental role in several ways, providing structural support for cells, resistance against pathogens and facilitating the communication between cells. The glycosyltransferase family 8 (GT8) is involved in the formation of the plant cell wall. However, the evolutionary relationship [...] Read more.
Plant cell walls play a fundamental role in several ways, providing structural support for cells, resistance against pathogens and facilitating the communication between cells. The glycosyltransferase family 8 (GT8) is involved in the formation of the plant cell wall. However, the evolutionary relationship and the functional differentiation of this important gene family remain obscure in Gramineae crop genomes. In the present investigation, we identified 269 GT8 genes in the seven Gramineae representative crop genomes, namely, 33 in Hordeum vulgare, 37 in Brachypodium distachyon, 40 in Oryza sativa ssp. japonica, 41 in Oryza rufipogon, 36 in Setaria italica, 37 in Sorghum bicolor, and 45 in Zea mays. Phylogenetic analysis suggested that all identified GT8 proteins belonged to seven subfamilies: galacturonosyltransferase (GAUT), galacturonosyltransferase-like (GATL), GATL-related (GATR), galactinol synthase (GolS), and plant glycogenin-like starch initiation proteins A (PGSIP-A), PGSIP-B, and PGSIP-C. We estimated that the GAUT subfamily might be further divided into four subgroups (I–IV) due to differentiation of gene structures and expression patterns. Our orthogroup analysis identified 22 orthogroups with different sizes. Of these orthogroups, several orthogroups were lost in some species, such as S. italica and Z. mays. Moreover, lots of duplicate pairs and collinear pairs were discovered among these species. These results indicated that multiple duplication modes led to the expansion of this important gene family and unequal loss of orthogroups and subfamilies might have happened during the evolutionary process. RNA-seq, microarray analysis, and qRT-PCR analyses indicated that GT8 genes are critical for plant growth and development, and for stresses responses. We found that OsGolS1 was significantly up-regulated under salt stress, while OsGAUT21, OsGATL2, and OsGATL5 had remarkable up-regulation under cold stress. The current study highlighted the expansion and evolutionary patterns of the GT8 gene family in these seven Gramineae crop genomes and provided potential candidate genes for future salt- and cold- resistant molecular breeding studies in O. sativa. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Bioinformatics and Systems Biology)
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Open AccessArticle
Profiling the Bacterial Diversity in a Typical Karst Tiankeng of China
Biomolecules 2019, 9(5), 187; https://doi.org/10.3390/biom9050187
Received: 15 April 2019 / Revised: 8 May 2019 / Accepted: 13 May 2019 / Published: 14 May 2019
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Abstract
While karst tiankengs have a higher capacity to act as safe havens for biodiversity in changing climates, little is known about their soil microorganisms. To fill this gap, we investigate the distribution and driving factors of the bacterial community in karst tiankeng systems. [...] Read more.
While karst tiankengs have a higher capacity to act as safe havens for biodiversity in changing climates, little is known about their soil microorganisms. To fill this gap, we investigate the distribution and driving factors of the bacterial community in karst tiankeng systems. There is a significant difference in the soil characteristics between the inside and the outside of a karst tiankeng. At the karst tiankeng considered in this study, the bacterial composition, in terms of the operational taxonomic unit (OTU), was found to be significantly different in different soil samples, taken from diverse sampling sites within the collapsed doline or the external area, and showed a high habitat heterogeneity. The dominant phylum abundances vary with the sampling sites and have their own indicator taxa from phylum to genus. Unlike the primary controlling factors of plant diversity, the microclimate (soil moisture and temperature), soil pH, and slope dominated the distribution of the bacterial community in karst tiankeng systems. Our results firstly showed the distribution characteristics of bacterial communities and then revealed the importance of microhabitats in predicting the microbial distribution in karst tiankeng systems. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biology, Biotechnology and Bioprospecting of Microbial Biomolecules)
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Graphical abstract

Open AccessArticle
Combinatorial Use of Chitosan Nanoparticles, Reversine, and Ionising Radiation on Breast Cancer Cells Associated with Mitosis Deregulation
Biomolecules 2019, 9(5), 186; https://doi.org/10.3390/biom9050186
Received: 7 April 2019 / Revised: 8 May 2019 / Accepted: 9 May 2019 / Published: 12 May 2019
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Abstract
Breast cancer is the most commonly occurring cancer in women worldwide and the second most common cancer overall. The development of new therapies to treat this devastating malignancy is needed urgently. Nanoparticles are one class of nanomaterial with multiple applications in medicine, ranging [...] Read more.
Breast cancer is the most commonly occurring cancer in women worldwide and the second most common cancer overall. The development of new therapies to treat this devastating malignancy is needed urgently. Nanoparticles are one class of nanomaterial with multiple applications in medicine, ranging from their use as drug delivery systems and the promotion of changes in cell morphology to the control of gene transcription. Nanoparticles made of the natural polymer chitosan are easy to produce, have a very low immunogenic profile, and diffuse easily into cells. One hallmark feature of cancer, including breast tumours, is the genome instability caused by defects in the spindle-assembly checkpoint (SAC), the molecular signalling mechanism that ensures the timely and high-fidelity transmission of the genetic material to an offspring. In recent years, the use of nanoparticles to treat cancer cells has gained momentum. This is in part because nanoparticles made of different materials can sensitise cancer cells to chemotherapy and radiotherapy. These advances prompted us to study the potential sensitising effect of chitosan-based nanoparticles on breast cancer cells treated with reversine, which is a small molecule inhibitor of Mps1 and Aurora B that induces premature exit from mitosis, aneuploidy, and cell death, before and after exposure of the cancer cells to X-ray irradiation. Our measurements of metabolic activity as an indicator of cell viability, DNA damage by alkaline comet assay, and immunofluorescence using anti-P-H3 as a mitotic biomarker indicate that chitosan nanoparticles elicit cellular responses that affect mitosis and cell viability and can sensitise breast cancer cells to X-ray radiation (2Gy). We also show that such a sensitisation effect is not caused by direct damage to the DNA by the nanoparticles. Taken together, our data indicates that chitosan nanoparticles have potential application for the treatment of breast cancer as adjunct to radiotherapy. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Nanoparticles for Cancer Therapy)
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Open AccessArticle
Tubulin Acetylation Mediates Bisphenol A Effects on the Microtubule Arrays of Allium cepa and Triticum turgidum
Biomolecules 2019, 9(5), 185; https://doi.org/10.3390/biom9050185
Received: 14 March 2019 / Revised: 29 April 2019 / Accepted: 6 May 2019 / Published: 11 May 2019
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Abstract
The effects of bisphenol A (BPA), a prevalent endocrine disruptor, on both interphase and mitotic microtubule array organization was examined by immunofluorescence microscopy in meristematic root cells of Triticum turgidum (durum wheat) and Allium cepa (onion). In interphase cells of A. cepa, [...] Read more.
The effects of bisphenol A (BPA), a prevalent endocrine disruptor, on both interphase and mitotic microtubule array organization was examined by immunofluorescence microscopy in meristematic root cells of Triticum turgidum (durum wheat) and Allium cepa (onion). In interphase cells of A. cepa, BPA treatment resulted in substitution of cortical microtubules by annular/spiral tubulin structures, while in T. turgidum BPA induced cortical microtubule fragmentation. Immunolocalization of acetylated α-tubulin revealed that cortical microtubules of T. turgidum were highly acetylated, unlike those of A. cepa. In addition, elevation of tubulin acetylation by trichostatin A in A. cepa resulted in microtubule disruption similar to that observed in T. turgidum. BPA also disrupted all mitotic microtubule arrays in both species. It is also worth noting that mitotic microtubule arrays were acetylated in both plants. As assessed by BPA removal, its effects are reversible. Furthermore, taxol-stabilized microtubules were resistant to BPA, while recovery from oryzalin treatment in BPA solution resulted in the formation of ring-like tubulin conformations. Overall, these findings indicate the following: (1) BPA affects plant mitosis/cytokinesis by disrupting microtubule organization. (2) Microtubule disassembly probably results from impairment of free tubulin subunit polymerization. (3) The differences in cortical microtubule responses to BPA among the species studied are correlated to the degree of tubulin acetylation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Cytoskeleton and Regulation of Mitosis)
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Open AccessArticle
Histone Deacetylase Inhibitors Dose-Dependently Switch Neutrophil Death from NETosis to Apoptosis
Biomolecules 2019, 9(5), 184; https://doi.org/10.3390/biom9050184
Received: 23 March 2019 / Revised: 7 May 2019 / Accepted: 8 May 2019 / Published: 11 May 2019
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Abstract
Acetylation is an important post translational modification of histone that plays a role in regulation of physiological and pathological process in the body. We have recently shown that the inhibition of histone deacetylases (HDAC) by low concentrations of HDAC inhibitors (HDACis), belinostat (up [...] Read more.
Acetylation is an important post translational modification of histone that plays a role in regulation of physiological and pathological process in the body. We have recently shown that the inhibition of histone deacetylases (HDAC) by low concentrations of HDAC inhibitors (HDACis), belinostat (up to 0.25 µM) and panobinostat (up to 0.04 µM) promote histone acetylation (e.g., AcH4) and neutrophil extracellular trap formation (NETosis). Clinical use of belinostat and panobinostat often leads to neutropenia and the in vivo concentrations vary with time and tissue locations. However, the effects of different concentrations of these HDACis on neutrophil death are not fully understood. We considered that increasing concentrations of belinostat and panobinostat could alter the type of neutrophil death. To test this hypothesis, we treated human neutrophils with belinostat and panobinostat in the presence or absence of agonists that promote NOX-dependent NETosis (phorbol myristate acetate or lipopolysaccharide from Escherichia coli 0128) and NOX-independent NETosis (calcium ionophores A23187 or ionomycin from Streptomyces conglobatus). Increasing concentrations of HDACis induced histone acetylation in a dose-dependent manner. ROS analyses showed that increasing concentrations of HDACis, increased the degree of NOX-derived ROS production. Higher levels (>1 µM belinostat and >0.2 µM panobinostat) of AcH4 resulted in a significant inhibition of spontaneous as well as the NOX-dependent and -independent NETosis. By contrast, the degree of neutrophil apoptosis significantly increased, particularly in non-activated cells. Collectively, this study establishes that increasing concentrations of belinostat and panobinostat initially increases NETosis but subsequently reduces NETosis or switches the form of cell death to apoptosis. This new information indicates that belinostat and panobinostat can induce different types of neutrophil death and may induce neutropenia and regulate inflammation at different concentrations. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Membrane Permeabilization by Bordetella Adenylate Cyclase Toxin Involves Pores of Tunable Size
Biomolecules 2019, 9(5), 183; https://doi.org/10.3390/biom9050183
Received: 8 April 2019 / Revised: 2 May 2019 / Accepted: 5 May 2019 / Published: 10 May 2019
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Abstract
RTX (Repeats in ToXin) pore-forming toxins constitute an expanding family of exoproteins secreted by many Gram-negative bacteria and involved in infectious diseases caused by said pathogens. Despite the relevance in the host/pathogen interactions, the structure and characteristics of the lesions formed by [...] Read more.
RTX (Repeats in ToXin) pore-forming toxins constitute an expanding family of exoproteins secreted by many Gram-negative bacteria and involved in infectious diseases caused by said pathogens. Despite the relevance in the host/pathogen interactions, the structure and characteristics of the lesions formed by these toxins remain enigmatic. Here, we capture the first direct nanoscale pictures of lytic pores formed by an RTX toxin, the Adenylate cyclase (ACT), secreted by the whooping cough bacterium Bordetella pertussis. We reveal that ACT associates into growing-size oligomers of variable stoichiometry and heterogeneous architecture (lines, arcs, and rings) that pierce the membrane, and that, depending on the incubation time and the toxin concentration, evolve into large enough “holes” so as to allow the flux of large molecular mass solutes, while vesicle integrity is preserved. We also resolve ACT assemblies of similar variable stoichiometry in the cell membrane of permeabilized target macrophages, proving that our model system recapitulates the process of ACT permeabilization in natural membranes. Based on our data we propose a non-concerted monomer insertion and sequential mechanism of toroidal pore formation by ACT. A size-tunable pore adds a new regulatory element to ACT-mediated cytotoxicity, with different pore sizes being putatively involved in different physiological scenarios or cell types. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Molecular Structure and Dynamics)
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Open AccessArticle
Identification of miRNAs and Their Response to Cold Stress in Astragalus Membranaceus
Biomolecules 2019, 9(5), 182; https://doi.org/10.3390/biom9050182
Received: 6 April 2019 / Revised: 29 April 2019 / Accepted: 9 May 2019 / Published: 10 May 2019
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Abstract
Astragalus membranaceus is an important medicinal plant widely cultivated in East Asia. MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are endogenous regulatory molecules that play essential roles in plant growth, development, and the response to environmental stresses. Cold is one of the key environmental factors affecting the yield [...] Read more.
Astragalus membranaceus is an important medicinal plant widely cultivated in East Asia. MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are endogenous regulatory molecules that play essential roles in plant growth, development, and the response to environmental stresses. Cold is one of the key environmental factors affecting the yield and quality of A. membranaceus, and miRNAs may mediate the gene regulation network under cold stress in A. membranaceus. To identify miRNAs and reveal their functions in cold stress response in A. membranaceus, small RNA sequencing was conducted followed by bioinformatics analysis, and quantitative real time PCR (qRT-PCR) analysis was performed to profile the expression of miRNAs under cold stress. A total of 168 conserved miRNAs belonging to 34 families and 14 putative non-conserved miRNAs were identified. Many miRNA targets were predicted and these targets were involved in diversified regulatory and metabolic pathways. By using qRT-PCR, 27 miRNAs were found to be responsive to cold stress, including 4 cold stress-induced and 17 cold-repressed conserved miRNAs, and 6 cold-induced non-conserved miRNAs. These cold-responsive miRNAs probably mediate the response to cold stress by regulating development, hormone signaling, defense, redox homeostasis, and secondary metabolism in A. membranaceus. These cold-corresponsive miRNAs may be used as the candidate genes in further molecular breeding for improving cold tolerance of A. membranaceus. Full article
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Open AccessReview
The Use of Antifreeze Proteins in the Cryopreservation of Gametes and Embryos
Biomolecules 2019, 9(5), 181; https://doi.org/10.3390/biom9050181
Received: 15 April 2019 / Revised: 6 May 2019 / Accepted: 7 May 2019 / Published: 9 May 2019
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Abstract
The cryopreservation of gametes and embryos is a technique widely used in reproductive biology. This technology helps in the reproductive management of domesticated animals, and it is an important tool for gene banking and for human-assisted reproductive technologies. Antifreeze proteins are naturally present [...] Read more.
The cryopreservation of gametes and embryos is a technique widely used in reproductive biology. This technology helps in the reproductive management of domesticated animals, and it is an important tool for gene banking and for human-assisted reproductive technologies. Antifreeze proteins are naturally present in several organisms exposed to subzero temperatures. The ability for these proteins to inhibit ice recrystallization together with their ability to interact with biological membranes makes them interesting molecules to be used in cryopreservation protocols. This mini-review provides a general overview about the use of antifreeze proteins to improve the short and long term storage of gametes and embryos. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Antifreeze Protein: New Insight from Different Approaches)
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
Laboratory-Scale Isolation of Insect Antifreeze Protein for Cryobiology
Biomolecules 2019, 9(5), 180; https://doi.org/10.3390/biom9050180
Received: 20 April 2019 / Revised: 6 May 2019 / Accepted: 7 May 2019 / Published: 9 May 2019
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Abstract
Micromolar concentrations of hyperactive antifreeze proteins (AFPs) from insects can prevent aqueous solutions from freezing down to at least −6 °C. To explore cryopreservation of cells, tissues and organs at these temperatures without ice formation, we have developed a protocol to reliably produce [...] Read more.
Micromolar concentrations of hyperactive antifreeze proteins (AFPs) from insects can prevent aqueous solutions from freezing down to at least −6 °C. To explore cryopreservation of cells, tissues and organs at these temperatures without ice formation, we have developed a protocol to reliably produce ultrapure Tenebrio molitor AFP from cold-acclimated beetle larvae reared in the laboratory. The AFP was prepared from crude larval homogenates through five cycles of rotary ice-affinity purification, which can be completed in one day. Recovery of the AFP at each step was >90% and no impurities were detected in the final product. The AFP is a mixture of isoforms that are more active in combination than any one single component. Toxicity testing of the purified AFP in cell culture showed no inhibition of cell growth. The production process can easily be scaled up to industrial levels, and the AFP used in cryobiology applications was recovered for reuse in good yield and with full activity. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Antifreeze Protein: New Insight from Different Approaches)
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Open AccessCommunication
Comparison Study of Different Extracts of Plectranthus madagascariensis, P. neochilus and the Rare P. porcatus (Lamiaceae): Chemical Characterization, Antioxidant, Antimicrobial and Cytotoxic Activities
Biomolecules 2019, 9(5), 179; https://doi.org/10.3390/biom9050179
Received: 4 April 2019 / Revised: 2 May 2019 / Accepted: 6 May 2019 / Published: 8 May 2019
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Abstract
Medicinal plants of the Plectranthus genus (Lamiaceae) are known for their ethnopharmacological relevance, mainly against infectious, dermatologic and gastrointestinal pathologies. Three Plectranthus species originated from South Africa, namely P. madagascariensis, P. neochilus and the rare P. porcatus were hereby screened for their [...] Read more.
Medicinal plants of the Plectranthus genus (Lamiaceae) are known for their ethnopharmacological relevance, mainly against infectious, dermatologic and gastrointestinal pathologies. Three Plectranthus species originated from South Africa, namely P. madagascariensis, P. neochilus and the rare P. porcatus were hereby screened for their antimicrobial and cytotoxic activities related with their known and/or potential ethnomedicinal uses. Twenty-six extracts were prepared by the combination of extraction methods (infusion, decoction, microwave-assisted, ultrasound-assisted, maceration and supercritical fluid extraction) with different polarity solvents (water, methanol, acetone and supercritical CO2). The comparison study of these extracts was elucidated through the corresponding chemical characterization and cytotoxic activity data. Therefore, the acetone extract from P. madagascariensis prepared by ultrasound extraction method revealed potent antibacterial activity against Gram-positive bacteria (1.95 < minimum inhibitory concentration (MIC) < 7.81 μg/mL), including a methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) strain. Additionally, acetone extracts from both P. madagascariensis and P. neochilus exhibited relevant antibacterial activity against Gram-negative Klebsiella pneumonia (0.48 < MIC < 3.91 μg/mL), validating the traditional uses of such plants as anti-infectious agents. All methanolic extracts showed potent antioxidant effects at 100 μg/mL measured as their radical scavenging activity (60.8–89.0%) in the 2,2-diphenyl-1-picrylhydrazyl (DPPH) assay. The P. madagascariensis extract obtained by maceration in acetone showed moderate cytotoxic effects in the MDA-MB-231 cell line (triple negative human breast carcinoma). The extract concentration that caused a 50% inhibition in cell viability (IC50) was 64.52 μg/mL. All extracts in this comparative study were profiled by high-performance liquid chromatography-HPLC with a diode-array detector-DAD (HPLC-DAD) and the main known bioactive components were identified in each extract, which included polyphenols (caffeic 1, chlorogenic 2 and rosmarinic 3 acids), abietane diterpenes (7α-acetoxy-6β-hydroxyroyleanone 4 and coleon U 5) and flavone glycosides (rutin 6 and naringin 7). Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Natural and Bio-inspired Molecules)
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Open AccessReview
HIV Vaccine Mystery and Viral Shell Disorder
Biomolecules 2019, 9(5), 178; https://doi.org/10.3390/biom9050178
Received: 27 February 2019 / Revised: 25 April 2019 / Accepted: 30 April 2019 / Published: 8 May 2019
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Abstract
Hundreds of billions of dollars have been spent for over three decades in the search for an effective human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) vaccine with no success. There are also at least two other sexually transmitted viruses, for which no vaccine is available, the [...] Read more.
Hundreds of billions of dollars have been spent for over three decades in the search for an effective human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) vaccine with no success. There are also at least two other sexually transmitted viruses, for which no vaccine is available, the herpes simplex virus (HSV) and the hepatitis C virus (HCV). Traditional textbook explanatory paradigm of rapid mutation of retroviruses cannot adequately address the unavailability of vaccine for many sexually transmissible viruses, since HSV and HCV are DNA and non-retroviral RNA viruses, respectively, whereas effective vaccine for the horsefly-transmitted retroviral cousin of HIV, equine infectious anemia virus (EIAV), was found in 1973. We reported earlier the highly disordered nature of proteins in outer shells of the HIV, HCV, and HSV. Such levels of disorder are completely absent among the classical viruses, such as smallpox, rabies, yellow fever, and polio viruses, for which efficient vaccines were discovered. This review analyzes the physiology and shell disorder of the various related and non-related viruses to argue that EIAV and the classical viruses need harder shells to survive during harsher conditions of non-sexual transmissions, thus making them vulnerable to antibody detection and neutralization. In contrast, the outer shell of the HIV-1 (with its preferential sexual transmission) is highly disordered, thereby allowing large scale motions of its surface glycoproteins and making it difficult for antibodies to bind to them. The theoretical underpinning of this concept is retrospectively traced to a classical 1920s experiment by the legendary scientist, Oswald Avery. This concept of viral shapeshifting has implications for improved treatment of cancer and infections via immune evasion. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue HIV: ART and Immune Activation)
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
Assessment of DNA Topoisomerase I Unwinding Activity, Radical Scavenging Capacity, and Inhibition of Breast Cancer Cell Viability of N-alkyl-acridones and N,N′-dialkyl-9,9′-biacridylidenes
Biomolecules 2019, 9(5), 177; https://doi.org/10.3390/biom9050177
Received: 20 April 2019 / Revised: 6 May 2019 / Accepted: 7 May 2019 / Published: 8 May 2019
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Abstract
The anticancer activity of acridone derivatives has attracted increasing interest, therefore, a variety of substituted analogs belonging to this family have been developed and evaluated for their anti-cancer properties. A series of N-alkyl-acridones 16 and N,N′-dialkyl-9,9′-biacridylidenes 7 [...] Read more.
The anticancer activity of acridone derivatives has attracted increasing interest, therefore, a variety of substituted analogs belonging to this family have been developed and evaluated for their anti-cancer properties. A series of N-alkyl-acridones 16 and N,N′-dialkyl-9,9′-biacridylidenes 712 with variable alkyl chains were examined for their topoisomerase I activity at neutral and acidic conditions as well as for their binding capacity to calf thymus and possible radical trapping antioxidant activity. It was found that at a neutral pH, topoisomerase I activity of both classes of compounds was similar, while under acidic conditions, enhanced intercalation was observed. N-alkyl-acridone derivatives 16 exhibited stronger, dose-dependent, cytotoxic activity against MCF-7 human breast epithelial cancer cells than N,N′-dialkyl-9,9′-biacridylidenes 712, revealing that conjugation of the heteroaromatic system plays a significant role on the effective distribution of the compound in the intracellular environment. Cellular investigation of long alkyl derivatives against cell migration exhibited 40–50% wound healing effects and cytoplasm diffusion, while compounds with shorter alkyl chains were accumulated both in the nucleus and cytoplasm. All N,N′-dialkyl-9,9′-biacridylidenes showed unexpected high scavenging activity towards DPPH or ABTS radicals which may be explained by higher stabilization of radical cations by the extended conjugation of heteroaromatic ring system. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue 2019 Feature Papers by Biomolecules’ Editorial Board Members)
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Open AccessArticle
Electrochemical Sensor for Rapid and Sensitive Detection of Tryptophan by a Cu2O Nanoparticles-Coated Reduced Graphene Oxide Nanocomposite
Biomolecules 2019, 9(5), 176; https://doi.org/10.3390/biom9050176
Received: 3 April 2019 / Revised: 21 April 2019 / Accepted: 8 May 2019 / Published: 8 May 2019
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Abstract
In this paper, a nanocomposite of cuprous oxide and electrochemically reduced graphene oxide (Cu2O–ERGO) was prepared by a simple and low-cost method; hereby, a new method for the electrochemical determination of tryptophan (Trp) by this composite modified glassy carbon electrode (GCE) [...] Read more.
In this paper, a nanocomposite of cuprous oxide and electrochemically reduced graphene oxide (Cu2O–ERGO) was prepared by a simple and low-cost method; hereby, a new method for the electrochemical determination of tryptophan (Trp) by this composite modified glassy carbon electrode (GCE) is proposed. The prepared materials and modified electrodes were characterized by scanning electron microscopy (SEM), X-ray diffraction (XRD), and cyclic voltammetry (CV). The results showed that Cu2O–ERGO/GCE had good electrocatalytic activity for Trp. The effects of supporting electrolyte, scanning rate, accumulation potential, and accumulation time on the determination of Trp were studied. Under the optimum experimental conditions, Trp was quantitatively analyzed by square-wave voltammetry (SWV). The oxidation peak current of Trp had a good linear relationship with its concentration in the range of 0.02–20 μM, and the detection limit was 0.01 μM (S/N = 3). In addition, the modified electrode has high sensitivity, good repeatability, and long-term stability. Finally, the proposed method has been successfully applied in the determination of Trp concentration in practical samples. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Development of a Competition-Binding Assay to Determine Binding Affinity of Molecules to Neuromelanin via Fluorescence Spectroscopy
Biomolecules 2019, 9(5), 175; https://doi.org/10.3390/biom9050175
Received: 5 April 2019 / Revised: 2 May 2019 / Accepted: 3 May 2019 / Published: 8 May 2019
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Abstract
Neuromelanin, the polymeric form of dopamine which accumulates in aging neuronal tissue, is increasingly recognized as a functional and critical component of a healthy and active adult human brain. Notorious in plant and insect literature for their ability to bind and retain amines [...] Read more.
Neuromelanin, the polymeric form of dopamine which accumulates in aging neuronal tissue, is increasingly recognized as a functional and critical component of a healthy and active adult human brain. Notorious in plant and insect literature for their ability to bind and retain amines for long periods of time, catecholamine polymers known colloquially as ‘melanins’ are nevertheless curiously absent from most textbooks regarding biochemistry, neuroscience, and evolution. Recent research has brought attention to the brain pigment due to its possible role in neurodegeneration. This linkage is best illustrated by Parkinson’s disease, which is characterized by the loss of pigmented dopaminergic neurons and the ‘white brain’ pathological state. As such, the ability to determine the binding affinity of neurotoxic agents, as well as any potential specific endogenous ligands to neuromelanin are of interest and potential value. Neuromelanin has been shown to have saturable binding interactions with nicotine as monitored by a fluorimeter. This interaction provides a signal to allow for a competition-binding assay with target molecules which do not themselves produce signal. The current report establishes the viability of this competition assay toward three compounds with central relevance to Parkinson’s disease. The Kd of binding toward neuromelanin by methyl-phenyl-pyridinium ion (MPP+), dopamine, and 6-hydroxydopamine were found to be 1 mM, 0.05 mM, and 0.1 mM, respectively in the current study. In addition, we demonstrate that 6-hydroxydopamine polymerizes to form neuromelanin granules in cultured dopaminergic neurons that treated with 2,4,5-trihydroxy-l-phenylalanine. Immunohistochemical analysis using fluor-tagged anti-dopamine antibodies suggests that the incorporation of 6-hydroxydopamine (following internalization and decarboxylation analogous to levodopa and dopamine) alters the localized distribution of bound dopamine in these cells. Full article
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