ResearchPad - physicochemical-properties https://www.researchpad.co Default RSS Feed en-us © 2020 Newgen KnowledgeWorks <![CDATA[iterb-PPse: Identification of transcriptional terminators in bacterial by incorporating nucleotide properties into PseKNC]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/elastic_article_14750 Terminator is a DNA sequence that gives the RNA polymerase the transcriptional termination signal. Identifying terminators correctly can optimize the genome annotation, more importantly, it has considerable application value in disease diagnosis and therapies. However, accurate prediction methods are deficient and in urgent need. Therefore, we proposed a prediction method “iterb-PPse” for terminators by incorporating 47 nucleotide properties into PseKNC-Ⅰ and PseKNC-Ⅱ and utilizing Extreme Gradient Boosting to predict terminators based on Escherichia coli and Bacillus subtilis. Combing with the preceding methods, we employed three new feature extraction methods K-pwm, Base-content, Nucleotidepro to formulate raw samples. The two-step method was applied to select features. When identifying terminators based on optimized features, we compared five single models as well as 16 ensemble models. As a result, the accuracy of our method on benchmark dataset achieved 99.88%, higher than the existing state-of-the-art predictor iTerm-PseKNC in 100 times five-fold cross-validation test. Its prediction accuracy for two independent datasets reached 94.24% and 99.45% respectively. For the convenience of users, we developed a software on the basis of “iterb-PPse” with the same name. The open software and source code of “iterb-PPse” are available at https://github.com/Sarahyouzi/iterb-PPse.

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<![CDATA[Software-aided workflow for predicting protease-specific cleavage sites using physicochemical properties of the natural and unnatural amino acids in peptide-based drug discovery]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c3e50a9d5eed0c484d840db

Peptide drugs have been used in the treatment of multiple pathologies. During peptide discovery, it is crucially important to be able to map the potential sites of cleavages of the proteases. This knowledge is used to later chemically modify the peptide drug to adapt it for the therapeutic use, making peptide stable against individual proteases or in complex medias. In some other cases it needed to make it specifically unstable for some proteases, as peptides could be used as a system to target delivery drugs on specific tissues or cells. The information about proteases, their sites of cleavages and substrates are widely spread across publications and collected in databases such as MEROPS. Therefore, it is possible to develop models to improve the understanding of the potential peptide drug proteolysis. We propose a new workflow to derive protease specificity rules and predict the potential scissile bonds in peptides for individual proteases. WebMetabase stores the information from experimental or external sources in a chemically aware database where each peptide and site of cleavage is represented as a sequence of structural blocks connected by amide bonds and characterized by its physicochemical properties described by Volsurf descriptors. Thus, this methodology could be applied in the case of non-standard amino acid. A frequency analysis can be performed in WebMetabase to discover the most frequent cleavage sites. These results were used to train several models using logistic regression, support vector machine and ensemble tree classifiers to map cleavage sites for several human proteases from four different families (serine, cysteine, aspartic and matrix metalloproteases). Finally, we compared the predictive performance of the developed models with other available public tools PROSPERous and SitePrediction.

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<![CDATA[Construction of an integrated database for hERG blocking small molecules]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5b4a289e463d7e4513b8980e

The inhibition of the hERG potassium channel is closely related to the prolonged QT interval, and thus assessing this risk could greatly facilitate the development of therapeutic compounds and the withdrawal of hazardous marketed drugs. The recent increase in SAR information about hERG inhibitors in public databases has led to many successful applications of machine learning techniques to predict hERG inhibition. However, most of these reports constructed their prediction models based on only one SAR database because the differences in the data format and ontology hindered the integration of the databases. In this study, we curated the hERG-related data in ChEMBL, PubChem, GOSTAR, and hERGCentral, and integrated them into the largest database about hERG inhibition by small molecules. Assessment of structural diversity using Murcko frameworks revealed that the integrated database contains more than twice as many chemical scaffolds for hERG inhibitors than any of the individual databases, and covers 18.2% of the Murcko framework-based chemical space occupied by the compounds in ChEMBL. The database provides the most comprehensive information about hERG inhibitors and will be useful to design safer compounds for drug discovery. The database is freely available at http://drugdesign.riken.jp/hERGdb/.

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<![CDATA[Identification of 14-3-3 Proteins Phosphopeptide-Binding Specificity Using an Affinity-Based Computational Approach]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989da9cab0ee8fa60ba3f2e

The 14-3-3 proteins are a highly conserved family of homodimeric and heterodimeric molecules, expressed in all eukaryotic cells. In human cells, this family consists of seven distinct but highly homologous 14-3-3 isoforms. 14-3-3σ is the only isoform directly linked to cancer in epithelial cells, which is regulated by major tumor suppressor genes. For each 14-3-3 isoform, we have 1,000 peptide motifs with experimental binding affinity values. In this paper, we present a novel method for identifying peptide motifs binding to 14-3-3σ isoform. First, we propose a sampling criteria to build a predictor for each new peptide sequence. Then, we select nine physicochemical properties of amino acids to describe each peptide motif. We also use auto-cross covariance to extract correlative properties of amino acids in any two positions. Finally, we consider elastic net to predict affinity values of peptide motifs, based on ridge regression and least absolute shrinkage and selection operator (LASSO). Our method tests on the 1,000 known peptide motifs binding to seven 14-3-3 isoforms. On the 14-3-3σ isoform, our method has overall pearson-product-moment correlation coefficient (PCC) and root mean squared error (RMSE) values of 0.84 and 252.31 for N–terminal sublibrary, and 0.77 and 269.13 for C–terminal sublibrary. We predict affinity values of 16,000 peptide sequences and relative binding ability across six permutated positions similar with experimental values. We identify phosphopeptides that preferentially bind to 14-3-3σ over other isoforms. Several positions on peptide motifs are in the same amino acid category with experimental substrate specificity of phosphopeptides binding to 14-3-3σ. Our method is fast and reliable and is a general computational method that can be used in peptide-protein binding identification in proteomics research.

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<![CDATA[Urate Oxidase Purification by Salting-in Crystallization: Towards an Alternative to Chromatography]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989da43ab0ee8fa60b8aa47

Background

Rasburicase (Fasturtec® or Elitek®, Sanofi-Aventis), the recombinant form of urate oxidase from Aspergillus flavus, is a therapeutic enzyme used to prevent or decrease the high levels of uric acid in blood that can occur as a result of chemotherapy. It is produced by Sanofi-Aventis and currently purified via several standard steps of chromatography. This work explores the feasibility of replacing one or more chromatography steps in the downstream process by a crystallization step. It compares the efficacy of two crystallization techniques that have proven successful on pure urate oxidase, testing them on impure urate oxidase solutions.

Methodology/Principal Findings

Here we investigate the possibility of purifying urate oxidase directly by crystallization from the fermentation broth. Based on attractive interaction potentials which are known to drive urate oxidase crystallization, two crystallization routes are compared: a) by increased polymer concentration, which induces a depletion attraction and b) by decreased salt concentration, which induces attractive interactions via a salting-in effect. We observe that adding polymer, a very efficient way to crystallize pure urate oxidase through the depletion effect, is not an efficient way to grow crystals from impure solution. On the other hand, we show that dialysis, which decreases salt concentration through its strong salting-in effect, makes purification of urate oxidase from the fermentation broth possible.

Conclusions

The aim of this study is to compare purification efficacy of two crystallization methods. Our findings show that crystallization of urate oxidase from the fermentation broth provides purity comparable to what can be achieved with one chromatography step. This suggests that, in the case of urate oxidase, crystallization could be implemented not only for polishing or concentration during the last steps of purification, but also as an initial capture step, with minimal changes to the current process.

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<![CDATA[Responses of absolute and specific enzyme activity to consecutive application of composted sewage sludge in a Fluventic Ustochrept]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989db5cab0ee8fa60bdfe0d

Composted sewage sludge (CS) is considered a rich source of soil nutrients and significantly affects the physical, chemical, and biological characteristics of soil, but its effect on specific enzyme activity in soil is disregarded. The present experiment examined the absolute and specific enzyme activity of the enzymes involved in carbon, nitrogen, and phosphorus cycles, the diversity of soil microbial functions, and soil community composition in a Fluventic Ustochrept under a maize—wheat rotation system in North China during 2012–2015. Application of CS led to increase in MBC and in its ratio to both total organic carbon (TOC) and microbial biomass nitrogen (MBN). Absolute enzyme activity, except that of phosphatase, increased in CS-treated soils, whereas specific activity of all the enzymes declined, especially at the highest dose of CS (45 t ha−1). The diversity of soil microbial community also increased in CS-treated soils, whereas its functional diversity declined at higher doses of CS owing to the lowered specific enzyme activity. These changes indicate that CS application induced the domination of microorganisms that are not metabolically active and those that use resources more efficiently, namely fungi. Redundancy analysis showed that fundamental alterations in soil enzyme activity depend on soil pH. Soil specific enzyme activity is affected more than absolute enzyme activity by changes in soil properties, especially soil microbial activity and composition of soil microflora (as judged by the following ratios: MBC/TOC, MBC/MBN, and TOC/LOC, that is labile organic carbon) through the Pearson Correlation Coefficient. Specific enzyme activity is thus a more accurate parameter than absolute enzyme activity for monitoring the effect of adding CS on the activities and structure of soil microbial community.

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<![CDATA[The Single T65S Mutation Generates Brighter Cyan Fluorescent Proteins with Increased Photostability and pH Insensitivity]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989da2bab0ee8fa60b826be

Cyan fluorescent proteins (CFP) derived from Aequorea victoria GFP, carrying a tryptophan-based chromophore, are widely used as FRET donors in live cell fluorescence imaging experiments. Recently, several CFP variants with near-ultimate photophysical performances were obtained through a mix of site-directed and large scale random mutagenesis. To understand the structural bases of these improvements, we have studied more specifically the consequences of the single-site T65S mutation. We find that all CFP variants carrying the T65S mutation not only display an increased fluorescence quantum yield and a simpler fluorescence emission decay, but also show an improved pH stability and strongly reduced reversible photoswitching reactions. Most prominently, the Cerulean-T65S variant reaches performances nearly equivalent to those of mTurquoise, with QY  = 0.84, an almost pure single exponential fluorescence decay and an outstanding stability in the acid pH range (pK1/2 = 3.6). From the detailed examination of crystallographic structures of different CFPs and GFPs, we conclude that these improvements stem from a shift in the thermodynamic balance between two well defined configurations of the residue 65 hydroxyl. These two configurations differ in their relative stabilization of a rigid chromophore, as well as in relaying the effects of Glu222 protonation at acid pHs. Our results suggest a simple method to greatly improve numerous FRET reporters used in cell imaging, and bring novel insights into the general structure-photophysics relationships of fluorescent proteins.

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<![CDATA[Multi-walled carbon nanotube-physicochemical properties predict the systemic acute phase response following pulmonary exposure in mice]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989db51ab0ee8fa60bdc3a9

Pulmonary exposure to multi-walled carbon nanotubes (MWCNTs) has been linked to an increased risk of developing cardiovascular disease in addition to the well-documented physicochemical-dependent adverse lung effects. A proposed mechanism is through a strong and sustained pulmonary secretion of acute phase proteins to the blood. We identified physicochemical determinants of MWCNT-induced systemic acute phase response by analyzing effects of pulmonary exposure to 14 commercial, well-characterized MWCNTs in female C57BL/6J mice pulmonary exposed to 0, 6, 18 or 54 μg MWCNT/mouse. Plasma levels of acute phase response proteins serum amyloid A1/2 (SAA1/2) and SAA3 were determined on day 1, 28 or 92. Expression levels of hepatic Saa1 and pulmonary Saa3 mRNA levels were assessed to determine the origin of the acute phase response proteins. Pulmonary Saa3 mRNA expression levels were greater and lasted longer than hepatic Saa1 mRNA expression. Plasma SAA1/2 and SAA3 protein levels were related to time and physicochemical properties using adjusted, multiple regression analyses. SAA3 and SAA1/2 plasma protein levels were increased after exposure to almost all of the MWCNTs on day 1, whereas limited changes were observed on day 28 and 92. SAA1/2 and SAA3 protein levels did not correlate and only SAA3 protein levels correlated with neutrophil influx. The multiple regression analyses revealed a protective effect of MWCNT length on SAA1/2 protein level on day 1, such that a longer length resulted in lowered SAA1/2 plasma levels. Increased SAA3 protein levels were positively related to dose and content of Mn, Mg and Co on day 1, whereas oxidation and diameter of the MWCNTs were protective on day 28 and 92, respectively. The results of this study reveal very differently controlled pulmonary and hepatic acute phase responses after MWCNT exposure. As the responses were influenced by the physicochemical properties of the MWCNTs, this study provides the first step towards designing MWCNT that induce less SAA.

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<![CDATA[Following Ligand Migration Pathways from Picoseconds to Milliseconds in Type II Truncated Hemoglobin from Thermobifida fusca]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989dae3ab0ee8fa60bbc5bd

CO recombination kinetics has been investigated in the type II truncated hemoglobin from Thermobifida fusca (Tf-trHb) over more than 10 time decades (from 1 ps to ∼100 ms) by combining femtosecond transient absorption, nanosecond laser flash photolysis and optoacoustic spectroscopy. Photolysis is followed by a rapid geminate recombination with a time constant of ∼2 ns representing almost 60% of the overall reaction. An additional, small amplitude geminate recombination was identified at ∼100 ns. Finally, CO pressure dependent measurements brought out the presence of two transient species in the second order rebinding phase, with time constants ranging from ∼3 to ∼100 ms. The available experimental evidence suggests that the two transients are due to the presence of two conformations which do not interconvert within the time frame of the experiment. Computational studies revealed that the plasticity of protein structure is able to define a branched pathway connecting the ligand binding site and the solvent. This allowed to build a kinetic model capable of describing the complete time course of the CO rebinding kinetics to Tf-trHb.

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<![CDATA[Cyclodextrin Inclusion Complex to Improve Physicochemical Properties of Herbicide Bentazon: Exploring Better Formulations]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989d9ecab0ee8fa60b6cab7

The knowledge of the host-guest complexes using cyclodextrins (CDs) has prompted an increase in the development of new formulations. The capacity of these organic host structures of including guest within their hydrophobic cavities, improves physicochemical properties of the guest. In the case of pesticides, several inclusion complexes with cyclodextrins have been reported. However, in order to explore rationally new pesticide formulations, it is essential to know the effect of cyclodextrins on the properties of guest molecules.

In this study, the inclusion complexes of bentazon (Btz) with native βCD and two derivatives, 2-hydroxypropyl-β-cyclodextrin (HPCD) and sulfobutylether-β-cyclodextrin (SBECD), were prepared by two methods: kneading and freeze-drying, and their characterization was investigated with different analytical techniques including Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FT-IR), differential thermal analysis (DTA), X-ray diffractometry (XRD) and differential pulse voltammetry (DPV). All these approaches indicate that Btz forms inclusion complexes with CDs in solution and in solid state, with a stoichiometry of 1∶1, although some of them are obtained in mixtures with free Btz. The calculated association constant of the Btz/HPCD complex by DPV was 244±19 M−1 being an intermediate value compared with those obtained with βCD and SBECD. The use of CDs significantly increases Btz photostability, and depending on the CDs, decreases the surface tension. The results indicated that bentazon forms inclusion complexes with CDs showing improved physicochemical properties compared to free bentazon indicating that CDs may serve as excipient in herbicide formulations.

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<![CDATA[A Numerical Investigation of the Electric and Thermal Cell Kill Distributions in Electroporation-Based Therapies in Tissue]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989da94ab0ee8fa60ba1532

Electroporation-based therapies are powerful biotechnological tools for enhancing the delivery of exogeneous agents or killing tissue with pulsed electric fields (PEFs). Electrochemotherapy (ECT) and gene therapy based on gene electrotransfer (EGT) both use reversible electroporation to deliver chemotherapeutics or plasmid DNA into cells, respectively. In both ECT and EGT, the goal is to permeabilize the cell membrane while maintaining high cell viability in order to facilitate drug or gene transport into the cell cytoplasm and induce a therapeutic response. Irreversible electroporation (IRE) results in cell kill due to exposure to PEFs without drugs and is under clinical evaluation for treating otherwise unresectable tumors. These PEF therapies rely mainly on the electric field distributions and do not require changes in tissue temperature for their effectiveness. However, in immediate vicinity of the electrodes the treatment may results in cell kill due to thermal damage because of the inhomogeneous electric field distribution and high current density during the electroporation-based therapies. Therefore, the main objective of this numerical study is to evaluate the influence of pulse number and electrical conductivity in the predicted cell kill zone due to irreversible electroporation and thermal damage. Specifically, we simulated a typical IRE protocol that employs ninety 100-µs PEFs. Our results confirm that it is possible to achieve predominant cell kill due to electroporation if the PEF parameters are chosen carefully. However, if either the pulse number and/or the tissue conductivity are too high, there is also potential to achieve cell kill due to thermal damage in the immediate vicinity of the electrodes. Therefore, it is critical for physicians to be mindful of placement of electrodes with respect to critical tissue structures and treatment parameters in order to maintain the non-thermal benefits of electroporation and prevent unnecessary damage to surrounding healthy tissue, critical vascular structures, and/or adjacent organs.

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<![CDATA[Naturally Occurring Osmolyte, Trehalose Induces Functional Conformation in an Intrinsically Disordered Activation Domain of Glucocorticoid Receptor]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989da39ab0ee8fa60b8754f

Intrinsically disordered (ID) regions are frequently found in the activation domains of many transcription factors including nuclear hormone receptors. It is believed that these ID regions promote molecular recognition by creating large surfaces suitable for interactions with their specific protein binding partners, which is a critical component of gene regulation by transcription factors. It has been hypothesized that conditional folding of these activation domains may be a prerequisite for their efficient interaction with specific coregulatory proteins, and subsequent transcriptional activity leading to the regulation of target gene(s). In this study, we tested whether a naturally occurring osmolyte, trehalose can promote functionally ordered conformation in glucocorticoid receptor's major activation function domain, AF1, which is found to exist as an ID protein, and requires an efficient interaction with coregulatory proteins for optimal activity. Our data show that trehalose induces an ordered conformation in AF1 such that its interaction with steroid receptor coactivator-1 (SRC-1), a critical coregulator of glucocorticoid receptor's activity, is greatly enhanced.

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<![CDATA[Lysosomotropic Properties of Weakly Basic Anticancer Agents Promote Cancer Cell Selectivity In Vitro]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989da46ab0ee8fa60b8bc03

Drug distribution in cells is a fundamentally important, yet often overlooked, variable in drug efficacy. Many weakly basic anticancer agents accumulate extensively in the acidic lysosomes of normal cells through ion trapping. Lysosomal trapping reduces the activity of anticancer drugs, since anticancer drug targets are often localized in the cell cytosol or nucleus. Some cancer cells have defective acidification of lysosomes, which causes a redistribution of trapped drugs from the lysosomes to the cytosol. We have previously established that such differences in drug localization between normal and cancer cells can contribute to the apparent selectivity of weakly basic drugs to cancer cells in vitro. In this work, we tested whether this intracellular distribution-based drug selectivity could be optimized based on the acid dissociation constant (pKa) of the drug, which is one of the determinants of lysosomal sequestration capacity. We synthesized seven weakly basic structural analogs of the Hsp90 inhibitor geldanamycin (GDA) with pKa values ranging from 5 to 12. The selectivity of each analog was expressed by taking ratios of anti-proliferative IC50 values of the inhibitors in normal fibroblasts to the IC50 values in human leukemic HL-60 cells. Similar selectivity assessments were performed in a pair of cancer cell lines that differed in lysosomal pH as a result of siRNA-mediated alteration of vacuolar proton ATPase subunit expression. Optimal selectivity was observed for analogs with pKa values near 8. Similar trends were observed with commercial anticancer agents with varying weakly basic pKa values. These evaluations advance our understanding of how weakly basic properties can be optimized to achieve maximum anticancer drug selectivity towards cancer cells with defective lysosomal acidification in vitro. Additional in vivo studies are needed to examine the utility of this approach for enhancing selectivity.

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<![CDATA[Understanding and Classifying Metabolite Space and Metabolite-Likeness]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989dad7ab0ee8fa60bb8705

While the entirety of ‘Chemical Space’ is huge (and assumed to contain between 1063 and 10200 ‘small molecules’), distinct subsets of this space can nonetheless be defined according to certain structural parameters. An example of such a subspace is the chemical space spanned by endogenous metabolites, defined as ‘naturally occurring’ products of an organisms' metabolism. In order to understand this part of chemical space in more detail, we analyzed the chemical space populated by human metabolites in two ways. Firstly, in order to understand metabolite space better, we performed Principal Component Analysis (PCA), hierarchical clustering and scaffold analysis of metabolites and non-metabolites in order to analyze which chemical features are characteristic for both classes of compounds. Here we found that heteroatom (both oxygen and nitrogen) content, as well as the presence of particular ring systems was able to distinguish both groups of compounds. Secondly, we established which molecular descriptors and classifiers are capable of distinguishing metabolites from non-metabolites, by assigning a ‘metabolite-likeness’ score. It was found that the combination of MDL Public Keys and Random Forest exhibited best overall classification performance with an AUC value of 99.13%, a specificity of 99.84% and a selectivity of 88.79%. This performance is slightly better than previous classifiers; and interestingly we found that drugs occupy two distinct areas of metabolite-likeness, the one being more ‘synthetic’ and the other being more ‘metabolite-like’. Also, on a truly prospective dataset of 457 compounds, 95.84% correct classification was achieved. Overall, we are confident that we contributed to the tasks of classifying metabolites, as well as to understanding metabolite chemical space better. This knowledge can now be used in the development of new drugs that need to resemble metabolites, and in our work particularly for assessing the metabolite-likeness of candidate molecules during metabolite identification in the metabolomics field.

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<![CDATA[Enhanced Solubilisation of Six PAHs by Three Synthetic Cyclodextrins for Remediation Applications: Molecular Modelling of the Inclusion Complexes]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989da88ab0ee8fa60b9d009

Solubilisation of six polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) (acenaphthene, anthracene, fluoranthene, fluorene, phenanthrene and pyrene) by three synthetic cyclodextrins (CDs) (2-hydroxypropyl-β-CD, hydroxypropyl-γ-CD and ramdomly methylated-β-CD) was investigated in order to select the CD which presents the greatest increase in solubility and better complexation parameters for its use in contaminated scenarios. The presence of the three cyclodextrins greatly enhanced the apparent water solubility of all the PAHs through the formation of inclusion complexes of 1∶1 stoichiometry. Anthracene, fluoranthene, fluorene and phenanthrene clearly presented a higher solubility when β-CD derivatives were used, and especially the complexes with the ramdomly methylated-β-CD were favoured. On the contrary, pyrene presented its best solubility results when using 2-hydroxypropyl-γ-CD, but for acenaphthene the use of any of the three CDs gave the same results. Complementary to experimental phase-solubility studies, a more in-depth estimation of the inclusion process for the different complexes was carried out using molecular modelling in order to find a correlation between the degree of solubilisation and the fit of PAH molecules within the cavity of the different CDs and to know the predominant driving forces of the complexation.

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<![CDATA[Insights on the mechanism of action of immunostimulants in relation to their pharmacological potency. The effects of imidazoquinolines on TLR8]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989db5cab0ee8fa60be02f8

Imidazoquinolines are powerful immunostimulants (IMMS) that function through Toll-like receptors, particularly TLR7 and TLR8. In addition to enhancing the immune response, IMMS also function as antineoplastic drugs and vaccine adjuvants. These small compounds display almost the same molecular structure, except in some cases in which atom in position 1 varies and changes the imidazole characteristics. A variable acyclic side chain is also always attached at atom in position 2, while another chain may be attached at atom in position 1. These structural differences alter immune responses, such as the production of interferon regulatory factor and nuclear factor-κB (IRF-NFκB). In this work, quantum mechanics theory and computational chemistry methods were applied to study the physicochemical properties of the crystal binding site of TLR8 complexed with the following six IMMS molecules: Hybrid-2, XG1-236, DS802, CL075, CL097 and R848 (resiquimod). The PDB IDs of the crystals were: 4R6A, 4QC0, 4QBZ, 3W3K, 3W3J, and 3W3N respectively. Thus, were calculated, the total energy, solvation energy, interaction energy (instead of free energy) of the system and interaction energy of the polar region of the IMMS. Additionally, the dipole moment, electrostatic potential, polar surface, atomic charges, hydrogen bonds, and polar and hydrophobic interactions, among others, were assessed. Together, these properties revealed important differences among the six TLR8-immunostimulant complexes, reflected as different interaction energies and therefore different electrostatic environments and binding energies. Remarkably, the interaction energy of a defined polar region composed of the highly polarized N3, N5 atoms and the N11 amino group, acted as a polar pharmacophore that correlates directly with the reported immunopharmacological potency of the six complexed molecules. Based on these results, it was concluded that accurate physicochemical analysis of the crystal binding site could reveal the binding energy (measured as interaction energy) and associated molecular mechanism of action between IMMS and TLR8. These findings may facilitate the development and design of improved small molecules with IMMS properties that are targeted to the TLR system and have enhanced pharmacological effectiveness and reduced toxicity.

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<![CDATA[DNABP: Identification of DNA-Binding Proteins Based on Feature Selection Using a Random Forest and Predicting Binding Residues]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989da2dab0ee8fa60b830f3

DNA-binding proteins are fundamentally important in cellular processes. Several computational-based methods have been developed to improve the prediction of DNA-binding proteins in previous years. However, insufficient work has been done on the prediction of DNA-binding proteins from protein sequence information. In this paper, a novel predictor, DNABP (DNA-binding proteins), was designed to predict DNA-binding proteins using the random forest (RF) classifier with a hybrid feature. The hybrid feature contains two types of novel sequence features, which reflect information about the conservation of physicochemical properties of the amino acids, and the binding propensity of DNA-binding residues and non-binding propensities of non-binding residues. The comparisons with each feature demonstrated that these two novel features contributed most to the improvement in predictive ability. Furthermore, to improve the prediction performance of the DNABP model, feature selection using the minimum redundancy maximum relevance (mRMR) method combined with incremental feature selection (IFS) was carried out during the model construction. The results showed that the DNABP model could achieve 86.90% accuracy, 83.76% sensitivity, 90.03% specificity and a Matthews correlation coefficient of 0.727. High prediction accuracy and performance comparisons with previous research suggested that DNABP could be a useful approach to identify DNA-binding proteins from sequence information. The DNABP web server system is freely available at http://www.cbi.seu.edu.cn/DNABP/.

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<![CDATA[Micro-Raman Spectroscopy of Silver Nanoparticle Induced Stress on Optically-Trapped Stem Cells]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989db18ab0ee8fa60bcd8aa

We report here results of a single-cell Raman spectroscopy study of stress effects induced by silver nanoparticles in human mesenchymal stem cells (hMSCs). A high-sensitivity, high-resolution Raman Tweezers set-up has been used to monitor nanoparticle-induced biochemical changes in optically-trapped single cells. Our micro-Raman spectroscopic study reveals that hMSCs treated with silver nanoparticles undergo oxidative stress at doping levels in excess of 2 µg/ml, with results of a statistical analysis of Raman spectra suggesting that the induced stress becomes more dominant at nanoparticle concentration levels above 3 µg/ml.

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<![CDATA[Physicochemical Properties Influencing Presence of Burkholderia pseudomallei in Soil from Small Ruminant Farms in Peninsular Malaysia]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989d9daab0ee8fa60b67725

Soil is considered to be a major reservoir of Burkholderia pseudomallei in the environment. This paper investigates soil physicochemical properties that may influence presence of B. pseudomallei in soil samples from small ruminant farms in Peninsular Malaysia. Soil samples were collected from the farms and cultured for B. pseudomallei. The texture, organic matter and water contents, pH, elemental contents, cation exchange capacities, carbon, sulfur and nitrogen contents were determined. Analysis of soil samples that were positive and negative for B. pseudomallei using multivariable logistic regression found that the odds of bacterial isolation from soil was significantly higher for samples with higher contents of iron (OR = 1.01, 95%CI = 1.00–1.02, p = 0.03), water (OR = 1.28, 95%CI = 1.05–1.55, p = 0.01) and clay (OR = 1.54, 95%CI = 1.15–2.06, p = 0.004) compared to the odds of isolation in samples with lower contents of the above variables. These three factors may have favored the survival of B. pseudomallei because iron regulates expression of respiratory enzymes, while water is essential for soil ecology and agent’s biological processes and clay retains water and nutrients.

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<![CDATA[Erythrocyte Enrichment in Hematopoietic Progenitor Cell Cultures Based on Magnetic Susceptibility of the Hemoglobin]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989da40ab0ee8fa60b89d52

Using novel media formulations, it has been demonstrated that human placenta and umbilical cord blood-derived CD34+ cells can be expanded and differentiated into erythroid cells with high efficiency. However, obtaining mature and functional erythrocytes from the immature cell cultures with high purity and in an efficient manner remains a significant challenge. A distinguishing feature of a reticulocyte and maturing erythrocyte is the increasing concentration of hemoglobin and decreasing cell volume that results in increased cell magnetophoretic mobility (MM) when exposed to high magnetic fields and gradients, under anoxic conditions. Taking advantage of these initial observations, we studied a noninvasive (label-free) magnetic separation and analysis process to enrich and identify cultured functional erythrocytes. In addition to the magnetic cell separation and cell motion analysis in the magnetic field, the cell cultures were characterized for cell sedimentation rate, cell volume distributions using differential interference microscopy, immunophenotyping (glycophorin A), hemoglobin concentration and shear-induced deformability (elongation index, EI, by ektacytometry) to test for mature erythrocyte attributes. A commercial, packed column high-gradient magnetic separator (HGMS) was used for magnetic separation. The magnetically enriched fraction comprised 80% of the maturing cells (predominantly reticulocytes) that showed near 70% overlap of EI with the reference cord blood-derived RBC and over 50% overlap with the adult donor RBCs. The results demonstrate feasibility of label-free magnetic enrichment of erythrocyte fraction of CD34+ progenitor-derived cultures based on the presence of paramagnetic hemoglobin in the maturing erythrocytes.

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