• Cell biology of the harderian gland.

    Publication Date: 01/01/1996, on International review of cytology
    by Chieffi G, Baccari GC, Di Matteo L, d'Istria M, Minucci S, Varriale B

    The harderian gland is an orbital gland of the majority of land vertebrates. It is the only orbital gland in anuran amphibians since the lacrimal gland develops later during phylogenesis in some reptilian species. Perhaps because it is not found in man, little interest was paid to this gland until about four decades ago. In recent years, however, the scientific community has shown new interest in analyzing the ontogenetic and morphofunctional aspects of the harderian gland, particularly in rodents, which are the preferred experimental model for physiologists and pathologists. One of the main characteristics of the gland is the extreme variety not only in its morphology, but also in its biochemical properties. This most likely reflects the versatility of functions related to different adaptations of the species considered. The complexity of the harderian gland is further shown in its control by many exogenous and endogenous factors, which vary from species to species. The information gained so far points to the following functions for the gland: (1) lubrication of the eye and nictitating membrane, (2) a site of immune response, particularly in birds, (3) a source of pheromones, (4) a source of saliva in some chelonians, (5) osmoregulation in some reptiles, (6) photoreception in rodents, (7) thermoregulation in some rodents, and (8) a source of growth factors.

  • 3(10)-Helices, helix screw sense and screw sense reversal in the dehydro-peptide Boc-Val-delta Phe-Gly-delta Phe-Val-OMe.

    Publication Date: 01/01/1996, on Journal of peptide science : an official publication of the European Peptide Society
    by Tuzi A, Ciajolo MR, Picone D, Crescenzi O, Temussi PA, Fissi A, Pieroni O
    DOI: 10.1002/psc.47

    The pentapeptide Boc-Val-delta Phe-Gly-delta Phe-Val-OME, containing two dehydro-phenylalanine (delta Phe) residues, has been synthesized and its structure investigated. In the crystalline state, the molecule adopts a right-handed 3(10)-helical conformation stabilized by two intramolecular hydrogen bonds between CO of Val1 and NH of delta Phe4, and between CO of delta Phe2 and NH of Val5, respectively. NMR measurements are consistent with the presence of 3(10)-helical structures also in acetonitrile and dimethylsulphoxide solution: the distances between backbone protons estimated from NOE connectivities are in overall agreement with those observed in the solid state; the chemical shifts of the amide protons show the smaller temperature coefficients for the NHs that in solid state are involved in intramolecular hydrogen bonds. The CD spectra in acetonitrile, chloroform, methanol and dimethylsulphoxide display exciton couplets of bands corresponding to the delta Phe electronic transition at 280 nm; the sign of the bands is consistent with the presence of helical structures having a prevalent left-handed screw sense. Addition of 1,1,1,3,3,3-hexafluoro-propan-2-ol gives rise to the gradual appearance of a couplet of opposite sign, suggesting the helix reversal from left-handed sense to right-handed sense. The conformational behaviour is discussed on the basis of the specific sequence of the peptide.

  • Conformational analysis of potent and very selective delta opioid dipeptide antagonists.

    Publication Date: 27/12/1995, on FEBS letters
    by Amodeo P, Balboni G, Crescenzi O, Guerrini R, Picone D, Salvadori S, Tancredi T, Temussi PA
    DOI: 10.1016/0014-5793(95)01374-1

    The delta selectivity and antagonism of peptides containing L-tetrahydro-3-isoquinoline carboxylic acid (Tic) in second position can be attributed mainly to the Tyr-Tic unit. These properties can be further enhanced by substituting Tyr1 with 2,6-dimethyl-L-tyrosyl (Dmt). Dmt-Tic-NH2, Dmt-Tic-OH, Dmt-Tic-Ala-NH2 and Dmt-Tic-Ala-OH are all more active and/or selective than the corresponding [Tyr1]-parent peptides. In fact the selectivities of Dmt-Tic-OH and Dmt-Tic-Ala-OH are the highest ever recorded for opioid molecules. 1H NMR spectra in a DMSO/water mixture at 278 K reveal the presence of two similar conformers, characterised by a cis or trans Dmt-Tic bond, in all four peptides. A detailed conformational analysis in solution of Dmt-Tic-NH2 shows that these conformers have a shape very similar to that of the bioactive conformation of Tyr-Tic-NH2 and to that of naltrindole.

  • Sterols from the Caribbean sponge Neofibularia nolitangere. Isolation of two novel polyhydroxysteroids.

    Publication Date: 01/11/1995, on Steroids
    by Costantino V, Fattorusso E, Mangoni A, Pansini M

    The sterol composition of the Caribbean sponge Neofibularia nolitangere has been investigated. In addition to usual sterols this sponge elaborates comparable amounts of 24-methylene-4 alpha-methyl-5 alpha-cholest-8-en-3 beta-ol (1), which is very unusual among sponge sterols, and lesser quantities of two new polyoxygenated sterols, (24S)-24-ethyl-5 alpha-cholest-8-ene-5,6 beta,7 alpha-triol (2) and (24S)-24-ethyl-5 alpha-cholest-8(14)-ene-5,6 beta,7 alpha-triol (3).

  • Phonological and lexical coding in verbal short-term memory and learning.

    Publication Date: 01/11/1995, on Brain and language
    by Trojano L, Grossi D
    DOI: 10.1006/brln.1995.1064

    A patient with selective auditory phonological coding defect is described. He also showed a defective auditory verbal short-term memory but could learn lists of words flawlessly, thus closely resembling patients with pure short-term memory defects. We argue that the patient's functional defect could be conceived as a capacity limitation of the phonological short-term store. An experimental evaluation of his verbal short- and long-term memory performances allows a discussion of the interaction of phonological and lexical coding processes in verbal short-term memory and learning.

  • Delta opioidmimetic antagonists: prototypes for designing a new generation of ultraselective opioid peptides.

    Publication Date: 01/09/1995, on Molecular medicine (Cambridge, Mass.)
    by Salvadori S, Attila M, Balboni G, Bianchi C, Bryant SD, Crescenzi O, Guerrini R, Picone D, Tancredi T, Temussi PA

    Tyr-Tic (1,2,3,4-tetrahydroisoquinoline-3-carboxylic acid) and Tyr-Tic-Ala were the first peptides with delta opioid antagonist activity lacking Phe, considered essential for opioid activity based on the N-terminal tripeptide sequence (Tyr-D-Xaa-Phe) of amphibian skin opioids. Analogs were then designed to restrain the rotational flexibility of Tyr by the substitution of 2,6-dimethyl-L-tyrosine (Dmt).

  • Characterization of squid enolase mRNA: sequence analysis, tissue distribution, and axonal localization.

    Publication Date: 01/08/1995, on Neurochemical research
    by Chun JT, Gioio AE, Crispino M, Giuditta A, Kaplan BB

    Enolase is a glycolytic enzyme whose amino acid sequence is highly conserved across a wide range of animal species. In mammals, enolase is known to be a dimeric protein composed of distinct but closely related subunits: alpha (non-neuronal), beta (muscle-specific), and gamma (neuron-specific). However, little information is available on the primary sequence of enolase in invertebrates. Here we report the isolation of two overlapping cDNA clones and the putative primary structure of the enzyme from the squid (Loligo pealii) nervous system. The composite sequence of those cDNA clones is 1575 bp and contains the entire coding region (1302 bp), as well as 66 and 207 bp of 5' and 3' untranslated sequence, respectively. Cross-species comparison of enolase primary structure reveals that squid enolase shares over 70% sequence identity to vertebrate forms of the enzyme. The greatest degree of sequence similarity was manifest to the alpha isoform of the human homologue. Results of Northern analysis revealed a single 1.6 kb mRNA species, the relative abundance of which differs approximately 10-fold between various tissues. Interestingly, evidence derived from in situ hybridization and polymerase chain reaction experiments indicate that the mRNA encoding enolase is present in the squid giant axon.

  • Solution and solid-state structure of the diketopiperazine of tyrosyl-tetrahydroisoquinoline-3-carboxylic acid.

    Publication Date: 01/08/1995, on International journal of peptide and protein research
    by Ciajolo MR, Balboni G, Picone D, Salvadori S, Tancredi T, Temussi PA, Tuzi A

    delta-Selective antagonism of [L-Tic2]-peptides, including the simple dipeptide Tyr-L-Tic-NH2, is linked to the Tyr-Tic-"recognition site". In order to gain further information on the conformational preferences of the Tyr-Tic-moiety we have undertaken a structural study of a cyclic analog, the diketopiperazine of Tyr-Tic. A conformational study of cyclo[-Tyr-Tic-], that is almost devoid of opioid activity, can also be useful to discriminate between the role of the two aromatic rings and of the basic nitrogen in determining antagonism. The structure of cyclo[-Tyr-Tic-] has been solved in a DMSO/water solution at 278 K by NMR spectroscopy and in the solid state by X-ray diffraction methods. The two informations are almost identical, with an arrangement of the aromatic rings rather different from that of the putative bioactive conformation of the parent linear dipeptide. This difference points to the importance of conformational effects and is in agreement with the hypothesis that the positive center may be not essential for antagonism.

  • The sequential hypothesis of the function of sleep.

    Publication Date: 01/07/1995, on Behavioural brain research
    by Giuditta A, Ambrosini MV, Montagnese P, Mandile P, Cotugno M, Grassi Zucconi G, Vescia S

    In addition to modulatory roles concerning bodily functions, sleep is assumed to play a main processing role with regard to newly acquired neural information. Elaboration of memory traces acquired during the waking period is assumed to require two sequential steps taking place during slow wave sleep (SWS) and eventually during paradoxical sleep (PS). This view is suggested by several considerations, not the least of which concerns the natural sequence of appearance of SWS and PS in the adult animal. While the involvement of PS in memory processing is well documented, the involvement of SWS is supported by the results of baseline and post-trial EEG analyses carried out in rats trained for a two-way active avoidance task or a spatial habituation task. Together with control analyses, these data indicate that the marked increase in the average duration of post-trial SWS episodes does not reflect the outcome of non-specific contingent factors, such as sleep loss or stress, but is related to memory processing events. Several considerations have furthermore led to the proposal that, during SWS, after a preliminary selection step, the first processing operation consists in the weakening of non-adaptative memory traces. The remaining memory traces would then be stored again under a better configuration during the ensuing PS episode. This view is in agreement with several relevant features of sleep, including the EEG waveforms prevailing during SWS and PS, as well as the ontogenetic sequence of appearance of SWS and PS. Some theoretical considerations on the role of sleep are also in agreement with the sequential hypothesis. More recent data indicate that the learning capacity of rats is correlated with several baseline EEG features of sleep and wakefulness. They include the average duration of PS episodes and of SWS episodes followed by wakefulness (longer in fast learning rats), and the waking EEG power spectrum of fast learning rats whose output is more balanced in the frequency range below 10 Hz than in slow learning and in non-learning rats. Additional EEG data suggest that fast learning rats may accomplish 'on line' processing of newly acquired information according to a sequence of events not dissimilar from the one proposed by the sequential hypothesis.

  • Structural analysis of saposin C and B. Complete localization of disulfide bridges.

    Publication Date: 28/04/1995, on The Journal of biological chemistry
    by Vaccaro AM, Salvioli R, Barca A, Tatti M, Ciaffoni F, Maras B, Siciliano R, Zappacosta F, Amoresano A, Pucci P

    Saposins A, B, C, and D are a group of homologous glycoproteins derived from a single precursor, prosaposin, and apparently involved in the stimulation of the enzymatic degradation of sphingolipids in lysosomes. All saposins have six cysteine residues at similar positions. In the present study we have investigated the disulfide structure of saposins B and C using advanced mass spectrometric procedures. Electrospray analysis showed that deglycosylated saposins B and C are mainly present as 79- and 80-residue monomeric polypeptides, respectively. Fast atom bombardment mass analysis of peptide mixtures obtained by a combination of chemical and enzymatic cleavages demonstrated that the pairings of the three disulfide bridges present in each saposin are Cys4-Cys77, Cys7-Cys71, Cys36-Cys47 for saposin B and Cys5-Cys78, Cys8-Cys72, Cys36-Cys47 for saposin C. We have recently shown that saposin C interacts with phosphatidylserine-containing vesicles inducing destabilization of the lipid surface (Vaccaro, A. M., Tatti, M., Ciaffoni, F., Salvioli, R., Serafino, A., and Barca, A. (1994) FEBS Lett. 349, 181-186); this perturbation promotes the binding of the lysosomal enzyme glucosylceramidase to the vesicles and the reconstitution of its activity. It was presently found that the effects of saposin C on phosphatidylserine liposomes and on glucosylceramidase activity are markedly reduced when the three disulfide bonds are irreversibly disrupted. These results stress the importance of the disulfide structure for the functional properties of the saposin.

  • Assignment and secondary-structure determination of monomeric bovine seminal ribonuclease employing computer-assisted evaluation of homonuclear three-dimensional 1H-NMR spectra.

    Publication Date: 15/04/1995, on European journal of biochemistry
    by D'Ursi A, Oschkinat H, Cieslar C, Picone D, D'Alessio G, Amodeo P, Temussi PA

    Monomeric bovine seminal ribonuclease (mBS-RNase), the subunit of dimeric bovine seminal ribonuclease (BS-RNase), is an unusual monomer: for its structural stability, its catalytic activity, which is even higher than that of the parent dimeric enzyme, and for its role as an intermediate in the refolding of dimeric BS-RNase. Here we present the proton NMR assignment and secondary-structure determination of mBS-RNase, with a comparison of its structure to the structure of its parent protein, and to the structure of RNase A, a homologue with more than 80% identity in amino acid sequence. Proton NMR assignment was performed using a computer-assisted procedure, through a partially automated analysis of homonuclear three-dimensional spectra [Oschkinat, H., Holak, T. A. & Cieslar, C. (1991) Biopolymers 31, 699-712]. The secondary structures of mBS-RNase, of the A chain of dimeric BS-RNase, and of RNase A, are found to be similar. Significant differences are found instead, between mBS-RNase and RNase A in the more flexible stretches of the molecule, where a higher number of substitutions is present. Furthermore, a preliminary tertiary-structure model is reported, showing that the overall folding of mBS-RNase is closer to that of RNase A rather than that of (dimeric) BS-RNase.

  • Gross reversal of brain parieto-occipital asymmetry in a case of DSM IV simple schizophrenia.

    Publication Date: 01/02/1995, on Schizophrenia research
    by Maj M, Galderisi S, Conforti R, Colucci D'Amato A

  • Interaction studies between elongation factor Tu and anthraniloyl-fluorescent analogues of guanyl nucleotides.

    Publication Date: 15/01/1995, on European journal of biochemistry
    by Giovane A, Balestrieri C, Balestrieri ML, Servillo L

    A fluorescent analogue of GDP, the 3'-O-anthraniloyl-GDP (anl-GDP) was demonstrated to bind to the elongation factor Tu (EF-Tu) with an affinity even higher than that of the parent nucleotide. As a consequence of the binding, an increase in fluorescence anisotropy and an emission band arising from non-radiative energy transfer among the protein intrinsic fluorophores and the labelled nucleotide were observed. Therefore, it was possible to study the exchange kinetics and the equilibrium between the protein-bound labelled GDP and the natural nucleotide through modifications, occurring during the course of the reaction, of fluorescence anisotropy and non-radiative energy transfer. In this way, it was also easily proven that, in the presence of aurodox (N-methylkirromycin), an antibiotic impairing EF-Tu biological function, the exchange kinetics between the protein-bound labeled GDP and the natural nucleotide was faster. Moreover, it was also found that the labelled nucleotide is recognized as a substrate by pyruvate kinase, being converted by this enzyme, in the presence of phosphoenolpyruvate, into anl-GTP. Pyruvate kinase is also able to convert, in the presence of phosphoenolpyruvate, the complex EF-Tu.anl-GDP into the complex EF-Tu.anl-GTP. The fluorescence properties of the 3'-O-anthraniloyl-labeled guanyl nucleotides and their feature as excellent acceptors of fluorescence arising from protein intrinsic fluorophores, may make these compounds useful for structural and binding studies on guanosine-nucleotide-binding proteins.

  • Immediate early genes and brain DNA remodeling in the Naples high- and low-excitability rat lines following exposure to a spatial novelty.

    Publication Date: 01/01/1995, on Brain research bulletin
    by Papa M, Pellicano MP, Cerbone A, Lamberti-D'Mello C, Menna T, Buono C, Giuditta A, Welzl H, Sadile AG

    The aim of these studies was to map the neural consequences of exposure to a spatial novelty on the expression of immediate gene (IEG) and on unscheduled brain DNA synthesis (UBDS) in two genetic models of altered activity and hippocampal functions, i.e., the Naples High- (NHE) and Low-excitability (NLE) rats. Adult male rats of NLE and NHE lines, and of a random-bred stock (NRB) were tested in a Làt-maze, and corner crossings, rearings, and fecal boli were counted during two 10-min tests 24 h apart. For IEG expression, rats were exposed to a Làt-maze with nonexposed or repeatedly exposed rats used as controls, and were sacrificed at different time intervals thereafter. For UBDS, rats were sacrificed immediately after the first or the second exposure o a Làt-maze. IEG expression was measured by immunocytochemistry for the FOS and JUN proteins. NRB rats exposed for the first time to the maze showed extensive FOS and JUN positive cells in the reticular formation, the granular and pyramidal neurons of hippocampus, the amygdaloid nuclei, all layers of somatosensory cortex, and the granule cells of the cerebellar cortex. The positivity, stronger in rats exposed for the first time, was present between 2 and 6 h and was prevented by the NMDA receptor antagonist CPP (5 mg/kg). The positivity was very low in NHE rats, and it was stronger in NLE compared to NRB rats. UBDS was measured in ex vivo homogenates of brain areas by the incorporation into DNA of 3H-[methyl]-thymidine given intraventricularly 15 min before test trial 1 or 2 (pulse of 0.5 h).(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

  • Exploring visuospatial short-term memory defect in Alzheimer's disease.

    Publication Date: 01/12/1994, on Journal of clinical and experimental neuropsychology
    by Trojano L, Chiacchio L, De Luca G, Grossi D
    DOI: 10.1080/01688639408402702

    The present study aimed at controlling two variables that may affect the visuospatial short-term memory of Alzheimer patients: visuospatial coding efficiency and response modality. Thirty patients affected by Alzheimer-type dementia with relatively spared visuo-perceptual functions were tested under three conditions, all of which employed the same kind of stimuli (visuospatial patterns). At all memory tasks, patients achieved scores significantly lower than those of 30 age- and education-matched normal subjects. Patients did not benefit from longer presentation time, nor did their performance improve with pointing response modality, although they performed perceptual pattern recognition as well as did controls. These data confirm that visuospatial immediate memory capacity is reduced in dementia.