Genome sequencing data have recently demonstrated that eukaryote evolution has been remarkably influenced by the acquisition of a large number of genes by horizontal gene transfer (HGT) across different kingdoms. However, in depth-studies on the physiological traits conferred by these accidental DNA acquisitions are largely lacking. Here we elucidate the functional role of Sl gasmin, a gene of a symbiotic virus of a parasitic wasp that has been transferred to an ancestor of the moth species Spodoptera littoralis and domesticated. This gene is highly expressed in circulating immune cells (haemocytes) of larval stages, where its transcription is rapidly boosted by injection of microorganisms into the body cavity. RNAi silencing of Sl gasmin generated a phenotype characterized by a precocious suppression of phagocytic activity by haemocytes, which was rescued when these immune cells were incubated in plasma samples of control larvae, containing high levels of the encoded protein. Proteomic analysis demonstrated that the protein Sl gasmin is released by haemocytes into the haemolymph, where it opsonizes the invading bacteria to promote their phagocytosis, both in vitro and in vivo. Our results show that important physiological traits do not necessarily originate from evolution of pre-existing genes, but can be acquired by HGT events, through unique pathways of symbiotic evolution. These findings indicate that insects can paradoxically acquire selective advantages with the help of their natural enemies.
The effects of the encapsulation of the cytotoxic dinuclear trithiolato-bridged arene Ru complex [(η6-p-MeC6H4Pri)2Ru2(μ2-S-p-C6H4But)3]Cl (DiRu-1) within the apoferritin (AFt) nanocage were investigated. The DiRu-1-AFt nanocarrier was characterized by UV-Vis spectroscopy, ICP MS, CD and X-ray crystallography. In contrast to previously reported Au- and Pt- based drug-loaded AFt carriers, no direct interactions between DiRu-1 and AFt were evidenced. DiRu-1-AFt is cytotoxic towards immortalized murine fibroblast BALB/c-3T3 transformed with SV40 virus (SVT2) and human epidermoid carcinoma A431 malignant cells and exhibits a moderate selectivity for these cancer cells over the normal BALB/c-3T3 cells. DiRu-1-AFt triggers ROS production, depolarization of mitochondrial membrane potential and induces cell death via p53-mediated apoptosis. The comparison between our data and previous results suggest that the existence of specific interactions between a metal-based drug and AFt within the protein cage is not essential for drug encapsulation.
A Pt(II)-terpyridine compound, bearing two piperidine substituents at positions 2 and 2' of the terpyridine ligand (1), is highly cytotoxic and shows a mechanism of action distinct from cisplatin. 1 has been incorporated within the ferritin nanocage (AFt).
The prototype cold-shock Y-box binding protein 1 (YB-1) is a multifunctional protein that regulates a variety of fundamental biological processes including cell proliferation and migration, DNA damage, matrix protein synthesis and chemotaxis. The plethora of functions assigned to YB-1 is strictly dependent on its subcellular localization. In resting cells, YB-1 localizes to cytoplasm where it is a component of messenger ribonucleoprotein particles. Under stress conditions, YB-1 contributes to the formation of stress granules (SGs), cytoplasmic foci where untranslated messenger RNAs (mRNAs) are sorted or processed for reinitiation, degradation, or packaging into ribonucleoprotein particles (mRNPs). Following DNA damage, YB-1 translocates to the nucleus and participates in DNA repair thereby enhancing cell survival. Recent data show that YB-1 can also be secreted and YB-1-derived polypeptides are found in plasma of patients with sepsis and malignancies. Here we show that in response to oxidative insults, YB-1 assembly in SGs is associated with an enhancement of YB-1 protein secretion. An enriched fraction of extracellular YB-1 (exYB-1) significantly inhibited proliferation of receiving cells and such inhibition was associated to a G2/M cell cycle arrest, induction of p21WAF and reduction of Np63 protein level. All together, these data show that acute oxidative stress causes sustained release of YB-1 as a paracrine/autocrine signal that stimulate cell cycle arrest.
The discovery of extended catalytic versatilities is of great importance in both the chemistry and biotechnology fields. Fatty acid amide hydrolase (FAAH) belongs to the amidase signature superfamily and is a major endocannabinoid inactivating enzyme using an atypical catalytic mechanism involving hydrolysis of amide and occasionally ester bonds. FAAH inhibitors are efficacious in experimental models of neuropathic pain, inflammation, and anxiety, among others. We report a new multitarget drug, AGN220653, containing a carboxyamide-4-oxazole moiety and endowed with efficacious analgesic and anti-inflammatory activities, which are partly due to its capability of achieving inhibition of FAAH, and subsequently increasing the tissue concentrations of the endocannabinoid anandamide. This inhibitor behaves as a noncompetitive, slowly reversible inhibitor. Autoradiography of purified FAAH incubated with AGN220653, opportunely radiolabeled, indicated covalent binding followed by fragmentation of the molecule. Molecular docking suggested a possible nucleophilic attack by FAAH-Ser241 on the carbonyl group of the carboxyamide-4-oxazole moiety, resulting in the cleavage of the C-C bond between the oxazole and the carboxyamide moieties, instead of either of the two available amide bonds. MRM-MS analyses only detected the Ser241-assisted formation of the carbamate intermediate, thus confirming the cleavage of the aforementioned C-C bond. Quantum mechanics calculations were fully consistent with this mechanism. The study exemplifies how FAAH structural features and mechanism of action may override the binding and reactivity propensities of substrates. This unpredicted mechanism could pave the way to the future development of a completely new class of amidase inhibitors, of potential use against pain, inflammation, and mood disorders.
In AD 79 the town of Herculaneum was suddenly hit and overwhelmed by volcanic ash-avalanches that killed all its remaining residents, as also occurred in Pompeii and other settlements as far as 20 kilometers from Vesuvius. New investigations on the victims' skeletons unearthed from the ash deposit filling 12 waterfront chambers have now revealed widespread preservation of atypical red and black mineral residues encrusting the bones, which also impregnate the ash filling the intracranial cavity and the ash-bed encasing the skeletons. Here we show the unique detection of large amounts of iron and iron oxides from such residues, as revealed by inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry and Raman microspectroscopy, thought to be the final products of heme iron upon thermal decomposition. The extraordinarily rare preservation of significant putative evidence of hemoprotein thermal degradation from the eruption victims strongly suggests the rapid vaporization of body fluids and soft tissues of people at death due to exposure to extreme heat.
Knowledge of the nature of biofluids at a crime scene is just as important as DNA test to link the nature of the biofluid, the criminal act, and the dynamics of the crime. Identification of methods currently used for each biological fluid (blood, semen, saliva, urine) suffer from several limitations including instability of assayed biomolecules, and low selectivity and specificity; as an example of the latter issue, it is not possible to discriminate between alpha-amylase 1 (present in saliva) and alpha-amylase 2 (present in semen and vaginal secretion. In this context, the aim of the work has been to provide a predictive protein signature characteristic of each biofluid by the recognition of specific peptides unique for each protein in a single analysis. A panel of four protein biomarkers for blood, four for saliva, five for semen, and two for urine has been monitored has been monitored by using a single multiple reaction monitoring (MRM)-based method targeting concomitantly 46 different peptides. Then, The optimized method allows four biological matrices to be identified when present on their own or in 50:50 mixture with another biofluid. Finally, a valid strategy combining both DNA analysis and liquid chromatographic-tandem mass spectrometric multiple reaction monitoring (LC-MS-MRM) identification of biofluids on the same sample has been demonstrated to be particularly effective in forensic investigation of real trace evidence collected at a crime scene.
The encapsulation of Pt and Au-based anticancer agents within a protein cage is a promising way to enhance the selectivity of these potential drugs. Here a cytotoxic organometallic compound containing platinum(II) and gold(I) has been encapsulated within a ferritin nanocage (AFt). Inductively plasma coupled mass spectrometry data, collected to evaluate the amount of Pt and Au within the cage, indicate disruption of the starting heterobimetallic complex upon encapsulation within the nanocage. The drug-loaded protein (Pt(II)/Au(I)-AFt) has been characterized by UV-Vis spectroscopy, circular dichroism and X-ray diffraction analysis. Data indicate that the protein maintains its fold upon encapsulation of the metallodrug and that Au(I) and Pt(II)-containing fragments are encapsulated within the AFt cage, with Au(I) ion that binds the side chain of Cys126 and Pt(II) in the bulk, respectively. The in vitro cytotoxicity of Pt(II)Au(I)-AFt, as well as that of the free heterobimetallic complex, has been comparatively evaluated on human cervix and breast cancer cells and against cardiomyoblasts and keratinocytes non-tumorigenic cells. Our data demonstrate that it is possible to obtain a protein nanocarrier containing both Pt and Au atoms starting from a bimetallic compound, opening the way for the design and development of new potential drugs based on protein nanocarriers.
Inflammation is considered an enabling feature of cancer. Besides the persistence of inflammatory stimuli, also defective mechanisms of resolution can lead to chronic inflammation. Inflammation resolution is an active process controlled by lipidic specialized pro-resolving mediators (SPMs), derived from ω-3 or ω-6 essential polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) through the activity of lipoxygenases (ALOX5 and 15). Thus, a lack or defect in resolution mechanisms may affect cancer development and progression by prolonging inflammation. Components of pro-resolving pathways (PUFA, enzymes, or SPMs) have been reported to modulate various cancer features by affecting both epithelial cells and cancer-associated stroma. Here, we will review the most important mechanisms by which SPMs, ω-3/6 PUFA, and ALOXs affect cancer biology, paying particular attention to their role in the inhibition of inflammation and angiogenesis, two of the most important hallmarks of cancer. The collection of these results may suggest novel perspectives in cancer management based on the modulation of lipid metabolism and the production of SPMs.
The photochemical and ecotoxicological fate of acyclovir (ACY) through UV254 direct photolysis and in the presence of hydroxyl radicals (UV254/H2O2 process) were investigated in a microcapillary film (MCF) array photoreactor, which provided ultrarapid and accurate photochemical reaction kinetics. The UVC phototransformation of ACY was found to be unaffected by pH in the range from 4.5 to 8.0 and resembled an apparent autocatalytic reaction. The proposed mechanism included the formation of a photochemical intermediate (ϕACY = (1.62 ± 0.07)·10(-3) mol ein(-1)) that further reacted with ACY to form by-products (k' = (5.64 ± 0.03)·10(-3) M(-1) s(-1)). The photolysis of ACY in the presence of hydrogen peroxide accelerated the removal of ACY as a result of formation of hydroxyl radicals. The kinetic constant for the reaction of OH radicals with ACY (kOH/ACY) determined with the kinetic modeling method was (1.23 ± 0.07)·10(9) M(-1) s(-1) and with the competition kinetics method was (2.30 ± 0.11)·10(9) M(-1) s(-1) with competition kinetics. The acute and chronic effects of the treated aqueous mixtures on different living organisms (Vibrio fischeri, Raphidocelis subcapitata, D. magna) revealed significantly lower toxicity for the samples treated with UV254/H2O2 in comparison to those collected during UV254 treatment. This result suggests that the addition of moderate quantity of hydrogen peroxide (30-150 mg L(-1)) might be a useful strategy to reduce the ecotoxicity of UV254 based sanitary engineered systems for water reclamation.