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Special Issue "Molecules for Biotechnologies"

A special issue of Molecules (ISSN 1420-3049).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 31 December 2018

Special Issue Editors

Guest Editor
Prof. Dr. Giorgia Oliviero

Department of Molecular Medicine and Medical Biotechnologies, University of Naples Federico II, Via Sergio Pansini 5, 80131 Napoli, Italy
Website | E-Mail
Interests: nucleoside; nucleotide and nucleic acid analogues; spectrometric and spectroscopic analysis
Guest Editor
Dr. Nicola Borbone

Department of Pharmacy, University of Naples Federico II, Via Domenico Montesano 49, 80131, Napoli, Italy
Website | E-Mail
Interests: nucleic acids chemistry and biology; DNA quadruplexes formed by aptamers, telomeres, and synthetic G-rich oligonucleotides; the biological role played by these structures, as well as the potential application as biosensors or electronic nanodevices is currently investigated

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

It is with great pleasure that we announce the new Special Issue of Molecules, entitled “Molecules for Biotechnologies”. This Special Issue welcomes original papers and comprehensive reviews focused, but not limited, to the design, synthesis and biochemical characterization of molecules involved in biotechnological applications, such as the development of novel approaches for molecular diagnostics and biocatalysis, the obtainment of new biomaterials and drug delivery systems, the clarification of systems biology pathways or even the gene regulation. Please refer to the list of keywords for further topics.

Prof. Dr. Giorgia Oliviero
Dr. Nicola Borbone
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Molecules is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1800 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • Synthesis
  • Oligonucleotides and analogues
  • Aptamers
  • Biosensors
  • Biocatalysis
  • Drug delivery
  • Quorum sensing
  • Medicinal chemistry
  • Peptides
  • Biomaterials

Published Papers (7 papers)

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Research

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Open AccessArticle Converting Galactose into the Rare Sugar Talose with Cellobiose 2-Epimerase as Biocatalyst
Molecules 2018, 23(10), 2519; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules23102519
Received: 17 September 2018 / Revised: 26 September 2018 / Accepted: 29 September 2018 / Published: 1 October 2018
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Abstract
Cellobiose 2-epimerase from Rhodothermus marinus (RmCE) reversibly converts a glucose residue to a mannose residue at the reducing end of β-1,4-linked oligosaccharides. In this study, the monosaccharide specificity of RmCE has been mapped and the synthesis of d-talose from
[...] Read more.
Cellobiose 2-epimerase from Rhodothermus marinus (RmCE) reversibly converts a glucose residue to a mannose residue at the reducing end of β-1,4-linked oligosaccharides. In this study, the monosaccharide specificity of RmCE has been mapped and the synthesis of d-talose from d-galactose was discovered, a reaction not yet known to occur in nature. Moreover, the conversion is industrially relevant, as talose and its derivatives have been reported to possess important antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties. As the enzyme also catalyzes the keto-aldo isomerization of galactose to tagatose as a minor side reaction, the purity of talose was found to decrease over time. After process optimization, 23 g/L of talose could be obtained with a product purity of 86% and a yield of 8.5% (starting from 4 g (24 mmol) of galactose). However, higher purities and concentrations can be reached by decreasing and increasing the reaction time, respectively. In addition, two engineering attempts have also been performed. First, a mutant library of RmCE was created to try and increase the activity on monosaccharide substrates. Next, two residues from RmCE were introduced in the cellobiose 2-epimerase from Caldicellulosiruptor saccharolyticus (CsCE) (S99M/Q371F), increasing the kcat twofold. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Molecules for Biotechnologies)
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Open AccessArticle A Phytochemical-Based Copolymer Derived from Coriolus versicolor Polysaccharopeptides for Gene Delivery
Molecules 2018, 23(9), 2273; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules23092273
Received: 11 July 2018 / Revised: 23 July 2018 / Accepted: 3 August 2018 / Published: 6 September 2018
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Abstract
Coriolus versicolor is an herb widely used for cancer treatment in traditional Chinese medicine. Its active ingredients, polysaccharopeptides (PSP), have been used for adjuvant therapies in cancer treatment. This study conjugates Coriolus versicolor PSP with poly(ethylenimine) (PEI) to generate a PSP-PEI copolymer for
[...] Read more.
Coriolus versicolor is an herb widely used for cancer treatment in traditional Chinese medicine. Its active ingredients, polysaccharopeptides (PSP), have been used for adjuvant therapies in cancer treatment. This study conjugates Coriolus versicolor PSP with poly(ethylenimine) (PEI) to generate a PSP-PEI copolymer for gene transfer. After PEI conjugation, both the pH buffering capacity and DNA compaction ability of PSP are significantly increased. Compared with that of PSP, the transfection efficiency of PSP-PEI is 10 to 20-fold higher in vitro. This is a proof-of-concept study reporting the direct use of bioactive phytochemicals from traditional Chinese medicine for gene vector development. The promising performance of PSP-PEI raises the possibility that bioactive herbal ingredients can be further developed as a multi-therapeutic gene carrier for tackling cancers. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Molecules for Biotechnologies)
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Graphical abstract

Open AccessArticle Spectroscopic Characterization of Natural Melanin from a Streptomyces cyaneofuscatus Strain and Comparison with Melanin Enzymatically Synthesized by Tyrosinase and Laccase
Molecules 2018, 23(8), 1916; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules23081916
Received: 25 June 2018 / Revised: 27 July 2018 / Accepted: 31 July 2018 / Published: 1 August 2018
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Abstract
An actinobacteria strain was isolated from Algerian Sahara soil and assigned to Streptomyces cyaneofuscatus Pridham et al. 1958 species. This strain was selected for its ability to produce melanin exopigments in liquid and solid media. Melanin synthesis was associated with tyrosinase activity and
[...] Read more.
An actinobacteria strain was isolated from Algerian Sahara soil and assigned to Streptomyces cyaneofuscatus Pridham et al. 1958 species. This strain was selected for its ability to produce melanin exopigments in liquid and solid media. Melanin synthesis was associated with tyrosinase activity and the enzyme from this strain was isolated and biochemically characterized. Synthetic melanin was then enzymatically produced using the S. cyaneofuscatus Pridham et al. 1958 tyrosinase. As this enzyme showed a higher diphenolase activity, a synthetic melanin from the enzymic oxidation of 3,4-dihydroxyphenylalanine (dopa) was obtained by the use of a Trametes versicolor (L.) Lloyd laccase for comparison. The natural and synthetic pigments were physico-chemically characterized by the use of ultraviolet (UV)-Visible, and Fourier transform infrared (FT-IR) and multifrequency electron paramagnetic resonance (EPR) spectroscopies. All the melanin samples displayed a stable free radical when analyzed by X-band EPR spectroscopy. Once the samples were recorded at Q-band EPR, a copolymer derived from a mixture of different constituents was evident in the natural melanin. All radical species were analyzed and discussed. The use of water-soluble melanin naturally produced by S. cyaneofuscatus Pridham et al. 1958 represents a new biotechnological alternative to commercial insoluble pigments. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Molecules for Biotechnologies)
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Open AccessArticle Design, Synthesis and Characterization of Novel Co-Polymers Decorated with Peptides for the Selective Nanoparticle Transport across the Cerebral Endothelium
Molecules 2018, 23(7), 1655; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules23071655
Received: 30 May 2018 / Revised: 18 June 2018 / Accepted: 28 June 2018 / Published: 6 July 2018
PDF Full-text (3259 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
The development of new strategies for enhancing drug delivery to the brain represents a major challenge in treating cerebral diseases. In this paper, we report on the synthesis and structural characterization of a biocompatible nanoparticle (NP) made up of poly(lactic-co-glycolic acid) (PLGA)-polyethylene glycol
[...] Read more.
The development of new strategies for enhancing drug delivery to the brain represents a major challenge in treating cerebral diseases. In this paper, we report on the synthesis and structural characterization of a biocompatible nanoparticle (NP) made up of poly(lactic-co-glycolic acid) (PLGA)-polyethylene glycol (PEG) co-polymer (namely PELGA) functionalized with the membranotropic peptide gH625 (gH) and the iron-mimicking peptide CRTIGPSVC (CRT) for transport across the blood-brain barrier (BBB). gH possesses a high translocation potency of the cell membrane. Conversely, CRT selectively recognizes the brain endothelium, which interacts with transferrin (Tf) and its receptor (TfR) through a non-canonical ligand-directed mechanism. We hypothesize that the delivery across the BBB of PELGA NPs should be efficiently enhanced by the NP functionalization with both gH and CRT. Synthesis of peptides and their conjugation to the PLGA as well as NP physical-chemical characterization are performed. Moreover, NP uptake, co-localization, adhesion under dynamic conditions, and permeation across in vitro BBB model are evaluated as a function of gH/CRT functionalization ratio. Results establish that the cooperative effect of CRT and gH may change the intra-cellular distribution of NPs and strengthen NP delivery across the BBB at the functionalization ratio 33% gH–66% CRT. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Molecules for Biotechnologies)
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle Lipase Catalysed Kinetic Resolution of Racemic 1,2-Diols Containing a Chiral Quaternary Center
Molecules 2018, 23(7), 1585; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules23071585
Received: 25 May 2018 / Revised: 26 June 2018 / Accepted: 27 June 2018 / Published: 29 June 2018
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (1416 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Correction | Supplementary Files
Abstract
Optically active 1,2-diols are valuable buildings blocks in organic synthesis. In the present paper, a set of racemic 1,2-diols with an ester functional group are prepared, starting from α-ketoesters in a three-step procedure with moderate yields. The racemic 1,2-diols, containing a chiral quaternary
[...] Read more.
Optically active 1,2-diols are valuable buildings blocks in organic synthesis. In the present paper, a set of racemic 1,2-diols with an ester functional group are prepared, starting from α-ketoesters in a three-step procedure with moderate yields. The racemic 1,2-diols, containing a chiral quaternary center in their structure, are subjected to selective acylation in order to perform their kinetic resolution catalysed by a set of commercially available lipases. Under optimized reaction conditions, good conversions and enantioselectivities are achieved by using the lipase PSL-C from Pseudomonas cepacia in tert-butyl methyl ether. This biocatalyst could be reused up to five times without losing its properties. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Molecules for Biotechnologies)
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Open AccessArticle A Highly Selective and Strong Anti-Interference Host-Guest Complex as Fluorescent Probe for Detection of Amantadine by Indicator Displacement Assay
Molecules 2018, 23(4), 947; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules23040947
Received: 24 March 2018 / Revised: 6 April 2018 / Accepted: 13 April 2018 / Published: 18 April 2018
PDF Full-text (5477 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
Amantadine (AMA) and its derivatives are illicit veterinary drugs that are hard to detect at very low concentrations. Developing a fast, simple and highly sensitive method for the detection of AMA is highly in demand. Here, we designed an anthracyclic compound (ABAM) that
[...] Read more.
Amantadine (AMA) and its derivatives are illicit veterinary drugs that are hard to detect at very low concentrations. Developing a fast, simple and highly sensitive method for the detection of AMA is highly in demand. Here, we designed an anthracyclic compound (ABAM) that binds to a cucurbit[7]uril (CB[7]) host with a high association constant of up to 8.7 × 108 M−1. The host-guest complex was then used as a fluorescent probe for the detection of AMA. Competition by AMA for occupying the cavity of CB[7] allows ABAM to release from the CB[7]-ABAM complex, causing significant fluorescence quenching of ABAM (indicator displacement assay, IDA). The linear range of the method is from 0.000188 to 0.375 μg/mL, and the detection limit can be as low as 6.5 × 10−5 μg/mL (0.35 nM). Most importantly, due to the high binding affinity between CB[7] and ABAM, this fluorescence host-guest system shows great anti-interference capacity. Thus, we are able to accurately determine the concentration of AMA in various samples, including pharmaceutical formulations. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Molecules for Biotechnologies)
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Other

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Open AccessFeature PaperCorrection Correction: de Gonzalo, G. Lipase Catalysed Kinetic Resolution of Racemic 1,2-Diols Containing a Chiral Quaternary Center. Molecules 2018, 23, 1585
Molecules 2018, 23(10), 2503; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules23102503
Received: 11 September 2018 / Accepted: 13 September 2018 / Published: 29 September 2018
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Abstract
The authors wish to make the following corrections to their paper. [...] Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Molecules for Biotechnologies)

Planned Papers

The below list represents only planned manuscripts. Some of these manuscripts have not been received by the Editorial Office yet. Papers submitted to MDPI journals are subject to peer-review.

Type: Article
Title: Carbonized Polyacrylonitrile (PAN) based multiwalled carbon nanotube(MWCNT) nanofibrous nerve guide conduits with tailored topograph
Authors: Jeong In Kim, Cheol Sang Kim

Type: Focused Review
Title: Optical Biosensors based on Integrated Photonic Devices: A Review of Sensing Mechanisms and Biofunctionalization Procedures
Authors: Patrick Steglich, Marcel Hülsemann, Birgit Dietzel, Sigurd Schrader, Andreas Mai (Technical University of Applied Sciences Wildau and Leibniz-Institute IHP)

Type: Focused Review
Title: Peptide-Based Drug-Delivery Systems in Biotechnological
applications: recent advance and perspectives.
Authors: Diego Tesauro, Antonella Accardo, Vittoria Milano, Jean Guillon, Luisa Ronga, Filomena Rossi
Affiliations: 1 University "Federico II" of Naples, Dept. of Pharmacy;
2 Univesity Bordeaux, UFR des Sciences Pharmaceutiques and University of Pau

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