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.
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.