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.
Toxoneuron nigriceps (Hymenoptera, Braconidae) is an endophagous parasitoid of the larval stages of the tobacco budworm, Heliothis virescens (Lepidoptera, Noctuidae). The bracovirus associated with this wasp (TnBV) is currently being studied. Several genes expressed in parasitised host larvae have been isolated and their possible roles partly elucidated. TnBVank1 encodes an ankyrin motif protein similar to insect and mammalian IκB, an inhibitor of the transcription nuclear factor κB (NF-κB). Here we show that, when TnBVank1 was stably expressed in polyclonal Drosophila S2 cells, apoptosis is induced. Furthermore, we observed the same effects in haemocytes of H. virescens larvae, after TnBVank1 in vivo transient transfection, and in haemocytes of parasitised larvae. Coimmunoprecipitation experiments showed that TnBVANK1 binds to ALG-2 interacting protein X (Alix/AIP1), an interactor of apoptosis-linked gene protein 2 (ALG-2). Using double-immunofluorescence labeling, we observed the potential colocalization of TnBVANK1 and Alix proteins in the cytoplasm of polyclonal S2 cells. When Alix was silenced by RNA interference, TnBVANK1 was no longer able to cause apoptosis in both S2 cells and H. virescens haemocytes. Collectively, these results indicate that TnBVANK1 induces apoptosis by interacting with Alix, suggesting a role of TnBVANK1 in the suppression of host immune response observed after parasitisation by T. nigriceps.
UV-A radiations are known to induce cellular oxidative stress, leading to premature skin aging. Consumption of açai fruit (Euterpe oleracea Martius) is known to have many health benefits due to its high level of antioxidants. Herein, we analyzed the ability of phenolic compounds extracted from this fruit to attenuate UV-A-induced oxidative stress in immortalized fibroblast. A methanol/water açai extract was fractionated by HPLC and each fraction tested for anti-oxidant stress activity. Immortalized fibroblasts were pre-incubated with açai fractions and then exposed to UV-A radiations. Açai extract was found to be able to strongly protect cells from oxidative stress. In particular, reactive oxygen species (ROS) production, GSH depletion, lipid peroxidation and no increase in the phosphorylation levels of proteins involved in the oxidative stress pathway was observed in cells pre-incubated with the extract and then irradiated by UV-A. Mass spectrometry analyses of HPLC fractionated extract led us to the identification of malvidin and cyanidin derivatives as the most active molecules able to counteract the negative effects induced by UV-A irradiation. Our results indicate, for the first time, that açai fruit is a valuable natural source for malvidin and cyanidin to be used as anti-stress molecules and represent good candidates for dietary intervention in the prevention of age related skin damage.
Several studies have suggested that free d-Asp has a crucial role in N-methyl d-Asp receptor-mediated neurotransmission playing very important functions in physiological and pathological processes. This paper describes the development of an analytical procedure for the direct and simultaneous determination of free d-Asp, l-Asp and N-methyl d-Asp in specimens of different mouse brain tissues using chiral LC-MS/MS in Multiple Reaction Monitoring scan mode. After comparing three procedures and different buffers and extraction solvents, a simple preparation procedure was selected the analytes of extraction. The method was validated by analyzing l-Asp, d-Asp and N-methyl d-Asp recovery at different spiked concentrations (50, 100 and 200 pg/μl) yielding satisfactory recoveries (75-110%), and good repeatability. Limits of detection (LOD) resulted to be 0.52 pg/μl for d-Asp, 0.46 pg/μl for l-Asp and 0.54 pg/μl for NMDA, respectively. Limits of quantification (LOQ) were 1.57 pg/μl for d-Asp, 1.41 pg/μl for l-Asp and 1.64 pg/μl for NMDA, respectively. Different concentration levels were used for constructing the calibration curves which showed good linearity. The validated method was then successfully applied to the simultaneous detection of d-Asp, l-Asp and NMDA in mouse brain tissues. The concurrent, sensitive, fast, and reproducible measurement of these metabolites in brain tissues will be useful to correlate the amount of free d-Asp with relevant neurological processes, making the LC-MS/MS MRM method well suited, not only for research work but also for clinical analyses.
Fullerenes, allotropic forms of carbon, have very interesting pharmacological effects and engineering applications. However, a very low solubility both in organic solvents and water hinders their use. Fullerene C60, the most studied among fullerenes, can be dissolved in water only in the form of nanoparticles of variable dimensions and limited stability. Here the effect on the production of C60 nanoparticles by native and denatured hen egg white lysozyme, a highly basic protein, has been systematically studied. In order to obtain a denatured, yet soluble, lysozyme derivative, the four disulfides of the native protein were reduced and exposed cysteines were alkylated by 3-bromopropylamine, thus introducing eight additional positive charges. The C60 solubilizing properties of the modified denatured lysozyme proved to be superior to those of the native protein, allowing to prepare biocompatible high homogeneous and stable C60 nanoparticles using lower amounts of protein as demonstrated by dynamic light scattering, transmission electron microscopy and atomic force microscopy studies. This lysozyme derivative could represent an effective tool for the solubilization of other carbon allotropes.
Host defence peptides (HDPs) are short, cationic amphipathic peptides that play a key role in the response to infection and inflammation in all complex life forms. It is increasingly emerging that HDPs generally have a modest direct activity against a broad range of microorganisms, and that their anti-infective properties are mainly due to their ability to modulate the immune response. Here, we report the recombinant production and characterization of two novel HDPs identified in human Apolipoprotein B (residues 887-922) by using a bioinformatics method recently developed by our group. We focused our attention on two variants of the identified HDP, here named r(P)ApoBL and r(P)ApoBS, 38- and 26-residue long, respectively. Both HDPs were found to be endowed with a broad-spectrum antimicrobial activity while they show neither toxic nor haemolytic effects towards eukaryotic cells. Interestingly, both HDPs were found to display a significant anti-biofilm activity, and to act in synergy with either commonly used antibiotics or EDTA. The latter was selected for its ability to affect bacterial outer membrane permeability, and to sensitize bacteria to several antibiotics. Circular dichroism analyses showed that SDS, TFE, and LPS significantly alter r(P)ApoBL conformation, whereas slighter or no significant effects were detected in the case of r(P)ApoBS peptide. Interestingly, both ApoB derived peptides were found to elicit anti-inflammatory effects, being able to mitigate the production of pro-inflammatory interleukin-6 and nitric oxide in LPS induced murine macrophages. It should also be emphasized that r(P)ApoBL peptide was found to play a role in human keratinocytes wound closure in vitro. Altogether, these findings open interesting perspectives on the therapeutic use of the herein identified HDPs.
The second-generation Pt anticancer agent carboplatin (CBDCA) was encapsulated within the apo horse spleen ferritin (AFt) nanocage, and the X-ray structure of the drug-loaded protein was refined at 1.49 Å resolution. Two Pt binding sites, different from the one observed in the cisplatin-encapsulated AFt, were identified in Ft subunits by inspection of anomalous electron density maps at two wavelengths and difference Fourier electron density maps, which provide the necessary sensitivity to discriminate between Pt from CBDCA and Cd ions that are present in the crystallization conditions. Pt centers coordinate to the NE2 atom of His49 and to the NE2 atom of His132, both on the inner surface of the Ft nanocage.