One of six heparin biosynthetic enzymes, cloned and expressed in Escherichia coli as a soluble fusion protein, requires large-scale preparation for use in the chemoenzymatic synthesis of heparin, an important anticoagulant drug.
Researchers over the last few years have recognized carbon nanotubes (CNTs) as promising materials for a number of biological applications. CNTs are increasingly being explored as potent drug carriers for cancer treatment, for biosensing, and as scaffolds for stem cell culture. Moreover, the integration of CNTs with proteins has led to the development of functional nanocomposites with antimicrobial properties. This review aims at understanding the critical role of CNTs in biological applications with a particular emphasis on more recent studies.
Differential expression of various drug-metabolizing enzymes (DMEs) in the human liver may cause deviations of pharmacokinetic profiles, resulting in interindividual variability of drug toxicity and/or efficacy. Here, we present the 'Transfected Enzyme and Metabolism Chip' (TeamChip), which predicts potential metabolism-induced drug or drug-candidate toxicity. The TeamChip is prepared by delivering genes into miniaturized three-dimensional cellular microarrays on a micropillar chip using recombinant adenoviruses in a complementary microwell chip. The device enables users to manipulate the expression of individual and multiple human metabolizing-enzyme genes (such as CYP3A4, CYP2D6, CYP2C9, CYP1A2, CYP2E1 and UGT1A4) in THLE-2 cell microarrays. To identify specific enzymes involved in drug detoxification, we created 84 combinations of metabolic-gene expressions in a combinatorial fashion on a single microarray. Thus, the TeamChip platform can provide critical information necessary for evaluating metabolism-induced toxicity in a high-throughput manner.
We developed a three-dimensional (3D) cellular microarray platform for the high-throughput (HT) analysis of human neural stem cell (hNSC) growth and differentiation. The growth of an immortalized hNSC line, ReNcell VM, was evaluated on a miniaturized cell culture chip consisting of 60nl spots of cells encapsulated in alginate, and compared to standard 2D well plate culture conditions. Using a live/dead cell viability assay, we demonstrated that the hNSCs are able to expand on-chip, albeit with lower proliferation rates and viabilities than in conventional 2D culture platforms. Using an in-cell, on-chip immunofluorescence assay, which provides quantitative information on cellular levels of proteins involved in neural fate, we demonstrated that ReNcell VM can preserve its multipotent state during on-chip expansion. Moreover, differentiation of the hNSCs into glial progeny was achieved both off- and on-chip six days after growth factor removal, accompanied by a decrease in the neural progenitor markers. The versatility of the platform was further demonstrated by complementing the cell culture chip with a chamber system that allowed us to screen for differential toxicity of small molecules to hNSCs. Using this approach, we showed differential toxicity when evaluating three neurotoxic compounds and one antiproliferative compound, and the null effect of a non-toxic compound at relevant concentrations. Thus, our 3D high-throughput microarray platform may help predict, in vitro, which compounds pose an increased threat to neural development and should therefore be prioritized for further screening and evaluation.
We report the ability of mycobacteriophage-derived endolysins to inhibit the growth of Mycobacterium smegmatis. We expressed and purified LysB from mycobacteriophage Bxz2 and compared its activity with that of a previously reported LysB from mycobacteriophage Ms6. The esterase activity of Bxz2 LysB with pNP esters was 10-fold higher than that of the previously reported LysB but its lipolytic activity was significantly lower. The presence of surfactant - Tween 80 or Triton X-100 - significantly increased the activity of LysB. Characterization of LysB-treated M. smegmatis cells and LysB-treated purified cell wall by mass spectroscopy confirmed the hydrolytic activity of the enzyme. Both enzymes were equally effective in inhibiting the growth of M. smegmatis, demonstrating their potential as bacteriostatic agents.
Carbon nanotubes (CNTs) are receiving much attention in medicine, electronics, consumer products, and next-generation nanocomposites because of their unique nanoscale properties. However, little is known about the toxicity and oxidative stress related anomalies of CNTs on complex multicellular behavior. This includes cell chirality, a newly discovered cellular property important for embryonic morphogenesis and demonstrated by directional migration and biased alignment on micropatterned surfaces. In this study, we report the influence of single-walled carbon nanotubes (SWCNTs) on multicellular chirality. The incubation of human umbilical vein endothelial cells (hUVECs) and mouse myoblasts (C2C12) with CNTs at different doses and time points stimulates reactive oxygen species (ROS) production and intra- and extracellular oxidative stress (OS). The OS-mediated noxious microenvironment influences vital subcellular organelles (e.g., mitochondria and centrosomes), cytoskeletal elements (microtubules), and vinculin rich focal adhesions. The disorientated nuclear-centrosome (NC) axis and centriole disintegration lead to a decreased migration rate and loss of directional alignment on micropatterned surfaces. These findings suggest that CNT-mediated OS leads to loss of multicellular chirality. Furthermore, the in vitro microscale system presented here to measure cell chirality can be extended as a prototype for testing toxicity of other nanomaterials.
The sensitive detection of highly toxic botulinum neurotoxin (BoNT) from Clostridium botulinum is of critical importance because it causes human illnesses if foodborne or introduced in wounds and as an iatrogenic substance. Moreover, it has been recently considered a possible biological warfare agent. Over the past decade, significant progress has been made in BoNT detection technologies, including mouse lethality assays, enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays, and endopeptidase assays and by mass spectrometry. Critical assay requirements, including rapid assay, active toxin detection, sensitive and accurate detection, still remain challenging. Here, we present a novel method to detect active BoNTs using a Glyco-quantitative polymerase chain-reaction (qPCR) approach. Sialyllactose, which interacts with the binding-domain of BoNTs, is incorporated into a sialyllactose-DNA conjugate as a binding-probe for active BoNT and recovered through BoNT-immunoprecipitation. Glyco-qPCR analysis of the bound sialyllactose-DNA is then used to detect low attomolar concentrations of BoNT and attomolar to femtomolar concentrations of BoNT in honey, the most common foodborne source of infant botulism.
Four well-defined heparan sulfate (HS) block copolymers containing S-domains (high sulfo group content) placed adjacent to N-domains (low sulfo group content) were chemoenzymatically synthesized and characterized. The domain lengths in these HS block co-polymers were ~40 saccharide units. Microtiter 96-well and three-dimensional cell-based microarray assays utilizing murine immortalized bone marrow (BaF3) cells were developed to evaluate the activity of these HS block co-polymers. Each recombinant BaF3 cell line expresses only a single type of fibroblast growth factor receptor (FGFR) but produces neither HS nor fibroblast growth factors (FGFs). In the presence of different FGFs, BaF3 cell proliferation showed clear differences for the four HS block co-polymers examined. These data were used to examine the two proposed signaling models, the symmetric FGF2-HS2-FGFR2 ternary complex model and the asymmetric FGF2-HS1-FGFR2 ternary complex model. In the symmetric FGF2-HS2-FGFR2 model, two acidic HS chains bind in a basic canyon located on the top face of the FGF2-FGFR2 protein complex. In this model the S-domains at the non-reducing ends of the two HS proteoglycan chains are proposed to interact with the FGF2-FGFR2 protein complex. In contrast, in the asymmetric FGF2-HS1-FGFR2 model, a single HS chain interacts with the FGF2-FGFR2 protein complex through a single S-domain that can be located at any position within an HS chain. Our data comparing a series of synthetically prepared HS block copolymers support a preference for the symmetric FGF2-HS2-FGFR2 ternary complex model.
Natural products have been associated with significant health benefits in preventing and treating various chronic human diseases such as cancer, cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, Alzheimer's disease, and pathogenic infections. However, the isolation, characterization and evaluation of natural products remain a challenge, mainly due to their limited bioavailability. Metabolic engineering and fermentation technology have emerged as alternative approaches for generating natural products under controlled conditions that can be optimized to maximize yields. Optimization of these processes includes the evaluation of factors such as host selection, product biosynthesis interaction with the cell's central metabolism, product degradation, and byproduct formation. This review summarizes the most recent biochemical strategies and advances in expanding and diversifying natural compounds as well as maximizing their production in microbial and plants cells.
Understanding nanomaterial-biomolecule interactions is critical to develop broad applications in sensors, devices, and therapeutics. During the past decade, in-depth studies have been performed on the effect of nanoscale surface topography on adsorbed protein structure and function. However, a fundamental understanding of nanobio interactions at concave surfaces is limited; the greatest challenge is to create a nanostructure that allows such interactions to occur and to be characterized. We have synthesized hollow nanocages (AuNG) through careful control of morphology and surface chemistry. Lysozyme was used as a model to probe interactions between a protein and these nanostructures. Solid Au nanoparticles with a similar morphology and surface chemistry were also used as a reference. Through a series of quantitative analyses of protein adsorption profiles and enzymatic activity assays of both nanobioconjugates, we discovered that a significant amount of protein could be delivered into the core of AuNG, while maintaining a substantial fraction of native activity.
Proteoglycans are found on the cell surface and in the extracellular matrix, and serve as prime sites for interaction with signaling molecules. Proteoglycans help regulate pathways that control stem cell fate, and therefore represent an excellent tool to manipulate these pathways. Despite their importance, there is a dearth of data linking glycosaminoglycan structure within proteoglycans with stem cell differentiation.
Fibroblast growth factor (FGF) signals cell growth through its interaction with a fibroblast growth factor receptor (FGFR) and a glycosaminoglycn (GAG) coreceptor. Here, we examine the signaling of five different FGFs (1, 2, 6, 8, and 8b) through FGFR3c. A small library of GAG and GAG-derivative coreceptors are screened to understand better the structure-activity relationship of these coreceptors on signaling. Initially, data were collected in a microtiter plate well-based cell proliferation assay. In an effort to reduce reagent requirements and improve assay throughput, a cell-based microarray platform was developed. In this cell-based microarray, FGFR3c-expressing cells were printed in alginate hydrogel droplets of ?30 nL and incubated with FGF and GAG. Heparin was the most effective GAG coreceptor for all FGFs studied. Other GAGs, such as 2-O-desulfated heparin and chondroitin sulfate B, were also effective coreceptors. Signaling by FGF 8 and FGF 8b showed the widest tolerance for coreceptor structure. Finally, this on-chip cell-based microarray provides comparable data to a microtiter plate well-based assay, demonstrating that the coreceptor assay can be converted into a high-throughput assay.
O-sulfotransferases (OSTs) are critical enzymes in the cellular biosynthesis of the biologically and pharmacologically important heparan sulfate and heparin. Recently, these enzymes have been cloned and expressed in bacteria for application in the chemoenzymatic synthesis of glycosaminoglycan-based drugs. OST activity assays have largely relied on the use of radioisotopic methods using [(35)S] 3-phosphoadenosine-5-phosphosulfate and scintillation counting. Herein, we examine alternative assays that are more compatible with a biomanufacturing environment. A high throughput microtiter-based approach is reported that relies on a coupled bienzymic colorimetric assay for heparan sulfate and heparin OSTs acting on polysaccharide substrates using arylsulfotransferase-IV and p-nitrophenylsulfate as a sacrificial sulfogroup donor. A second liquid chromatography-mass spectrometric assay, for heparan sulfate and heparin OSTs acting on structurally defined oligosaccharide substrates, is also reported that provides additional information on the number and positions of the transferred sulfo groups within the product. Together, these assays allow quantitative and mechanistic information to be obtained on OSTs that act on heparan sulfate and heparin precursors.
We identify specific acylphosphatase (AcP) residues that interact with silica nanoparticles (SNPs) using a combined NMR spectroscopy and proteomics-mass spectrometry approach. AcP associated with 4- and 15-nm diameter SNPs through a common and specific interaction surface formed by amino acids from the two ?-helices of the protein. Greater retention of native protein structure was obtained on 4-nm SNPs than on 15-nm particles, presumably due to greater surface curvature-induced protein stabilization with the smaller SNPs. These results demonstrate that proteins may undergo specific and size-dependent orientation on nanoparticle surfaces. Our approach can be broadly applied to various protein-material systems to help understand in much greater detail the protein-nanomaterial interface; it would also encourage better modeling, and thus prediction and design, of the behavior of functional proteins adsorbed onto different surfaces.
There continues to be a need for developing efficient and environmentally friendly treatments for Bacillus anthracis, the causative agent of anthrax. One emerging approach for inactivation of vegetative B. anthracis is the use of bacteriophage endolysins or lytic enzymes encoded by bacterial genomes (autolysins) with highly evolved specificity toward bacterium-specific peptidoglycan cell walls. In this work, we performed in silico analysis of the genome of Bacillus anthracis strain Ames, using a consensus binding domain amino acid sequence as a probe, and identified a novel lytic enzyme that we termed AmiBA2446. This enzyme exists as a homodimer, as determined by size exclusion studies. It possesses N-acetylmuramoyl-l-alanine amidase activity, as determined from liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry (LC-MS) analysis of muropeptides released due to the enzymatic digestion of peptidoglycan. Phylogenetic analysis suggested that AmiBA2446 was an autolysin of bacterial origin. We characterized the effects of enzyme concentration and phase of bacterial growth on bactericidal activity and observed close to a 5-log reduction in the viability of cells of Bacillus cereus 4342, a surrogate for B. anthracis. We further tested the bactericidal activity of AmiBA2446 against various Bacillus species and demonstrated significant activity against B. anthracis and B. cereus strains. We also demonstrated activity against B. anthracis spores after pretreatment with germinants. AmiBA2446 enzyme was also stable in solution, retaining its activity after 4 months of storage at room temperature.
High throughput (HT) platforms serve as cost-efficient and rapid screening method for evaluating the effect of cell culture conditions and screening of chemicals. The aim of the current study was to develop a high-throughput cell-based microarray platform to assess the effect of culture conditions on Chinese hamster ovary (CHO) cells. Specifically, growth, transgene expression and metabolism of a GS/MSX CHO cell line, which produces a therapeutic monoclonal antibody, was examined using microarray system in conjunction with conventional shake flask platform in a non-proprietary medium. The microarray system consists of 60 nl spots of cells encapsulated in alginate and separated in groups via an 8-well chamber system attached to the chip. Results show the non-proprietary medium developed allows cell growth, production and normal glycosylation of recombinant antibody and metabolism of the recombinant CHO cells in both the microarray and shake flask platforms. In addition, 10.3 mM glutamate addition to the defined base media results in lactate metabolism shift in the recombinant GS/MSX CHO cells in the shake flask platform. Ultimately, the results demonstrate that the high-throughput microarray platform has the potential to be utilized for evaluating the impact of media additives on cellular processes, such as, cell growth, metabolism and productivity.
Abundant populations of bacteria have been observed on Mir and the International Space Station. While some experiments have shown that bacteria cultured during spaceflight exhibit a range of potentially troublesome characteristics, including increases in growth, antibiotic resistance and virulence, other studies have shown minimal differences when cells were cultured during spaceflight or on Earth. Although the final cell density of bacteria grown during spaceflight has been reported for several species, we are not yet able to predict how different microorganisms will respond to the microgravity environment. In order to build our understanding of how spaceflight affects bacterial final cell densities, additional studies are needed to determine whether the observed differences are due to varied methods, experimental conditions, or organism specific responses.
Heparin is a critically important anticoagulant drug that is prepared from pig intestine. In 2007-2008, there was a crisis in the heparin market when the raw material was adulterated with the toxic polysaccharide, oversulfated chondroitin sulfate, which was associated with 100 deaths in the U.S. alone. As the result of this crisis, our laboratory and others have been actively pursuing alternative sources for this critical drug, including synthetic heparins and bioengineered heparin. In assessing the bioengineering processing costs it has become clear that the use of both enzyme-catalyzed cofactor recycling and enzyme immobilization will be needed for commercialization. In the current study, we examine the use of immobilization of C?-epimerase and 2-O-sulfotransferase involved in the first enzymatic step in the bioengineered heparin process, as well as arylsulfotransferase-IV involved in cofactor recycling in all three enzymatic steps. We report the successful immobilization of all three enzymes and their use in converting N-sulfo, N-acetyl heparosan into N-sulfo, N-acetyl 2-O-sulfo heparin.
Escherichia coli K5 produces heparosan and sheds it into the growth medium in a temperature dependent manner. The shedding is believed to be controlled, at least in part, by enzyme action on the cell-associated capsular polysaccharide, heparosan. One candidate enzyme in such shedding is eliminase. The eliminase gene (elmA) was deleted from the genome of E. coli K5 and its effect on secreted and cell-associated heparosan was investigated. Deletion of the eliminase gene resulted in a significant reduction in heparosan shedding into the medium and heparosan content in the capsule of the cells, indicating its pivotal role in heparosan synthesis and shedding by E. coli K5.
A key enzyme for the biosynthesis and bioengineering of heparin, 3-O-sulfotransferase-1 (3-OST-1), was expressed and purified in Gram-positive Bacillus subtilis and Bacillus megaterium. Western blotting, protein sequence analysis, and enzyme activity measurement confirmed the expression. The enzymatic activity of 3-OST-1 expressed in Bacillus species were found to be similar to those found when expressed in Escherichia coli. The endotoxin level in 3-OST-1 from B. subtilis and B. megaterium were 10(4)-10(5)-fold lower than that of the E. coli-expressed 3-OST-1, which makes the Bacillus expression system of particular interest for the generation of pharmaceutical grade raw heparin from nonanimal sources.
Glycosaminoglycans (GAGs) are complex carbohydrates that are ubiquitously present on the cell surface and in the extracellular matrix. Interactions between GAGs and pathogens represent the first line of contact between pathogen and host cell and are crucial to a pathogens invasive potential. Their complexity and structural diversity allow GAGs to control a wide array of biological interactions influencing many physiological and pathological processes, including adhesion, cell-to-cell communication, biochemical cascades, and the immune response. In recent years, increasing evidence indicates an extraordinary role for GAGs in the pathogenesis of viruses, bacteria and parasites. Herein, we examine the interface between GAGs and different pathogens, and address the divergent biological functions of GAGs in infectious disease. We consider approaches to use this understanding to design novel therapeutic strategies addressing new challenges in the treatment of infectious diseases.
Over the years, natural products from plants and their non-natural derivatives have shown to be active against different types of chronic diseases. However, isolation of such natural products can be limited due to their low bioavailability, and environmental restrictions. To address these issues, in vivo and in vitro reconstruction of plant metabolic pathways and the metabolic engineering of microbes and plants have been used to generate libraries of compounds. Significant advances have been made through metabolic engineering of microbes and plant cells to generate a variety of compounds (e.g. isoprenoids, flavonoids, or stilbenes) using a diverse array of methods to optimize these processes (e.g. host selection, operational variables, precursor selection, gene modifications). These approaches have been used also to generate non-natural analogues with different bioactivities. In vitro biosynthesis allows the synthesis of intermediates as well as final products avoiding post-translational limitations. Moreover, this strategy allows the use of substrates and the production of metabolites that could be toxic for cells, or expand the biosynthesis into non-conventional media (e.g. organic solvents, supercritical fluids). A perspective is also provided on the challenges for generating novel chemical structures and the potential of combining metabolic engineering and in vitro biocatalysis to produce metabolites with more potent biological activities.
Cell lytic enzymes represent an alternative to chemical decontamination or use of antibiotics to kill pathogenic bacteria, such as listeria. A number of phage cell lytic enzymes against listeria have been isolated and possess listericidal activity; however, there has been no attempt to incorporate these enzymes onto surfaces. We report three facile routes for the surface incorporation of the listeria bacteriophage endolysin Ply500: covalent attachment onto FDA approved silica nanoparticles (SNPs), incorporation of SNP-Ply500 conjugates into a thin poly(hydroxyethyl methacrylate) film; and affinity binding to edible crosslinked starch nanoparticles via construction of a maltose binding protein fusion. These Ply500 formulations were effective in killing L. innocua (a reduced pathogenic surrogate) at challenges up to 10(5)?CFU/ml both in non-growth sustaining PBS as well as under growth conditions on lettuce. This strategy represents a new route toward achieving highly selective and efficient pathogen decontamination and prevention in public infrastructure.
A bioengineered heparin, as a replacement for animal-derived heparin, is under development that relies on the fermentative production of heparosan by Escherichia coli K5 and its subsequent chemoenzymatic modification using biosynthetic enzymes. A critical enzyme in this pathway is the mammalian 6-O-sulfotransferase (6-OST-1) which specifically sulfonates the glucosamine residue in a heparin precursor. This mammalian enzyme, previously cloned and expressed in E. coli, is required in kilogram amounts if an industrial process for bioengineered heparin is to be established. In this study, high cell density cultivation techniques were exploited to obtain recombinant 6-OST-1. Physiological studies were performed in shake flasks to establish optimized growth and production conditions. Induction strategies were tested in fed-batch experiments to improve yield and productivity. High cell density cultivation in 7-l culture, together with a coupled inducer strategy using isopropyl ?-D-1-thiogalactopyranoside and galactose, afforded 482 mg?l(-1) of enzyme with a biomass yield of 16.2 mg?gcdw (-1) and a productivity of 10.5 mg?l(-1)?h(-1).
Development of noncorrosive, cost-effective, environmentally benign, and broad-spectrum antimicrobial formulations is necessary for clinical, industrial, and domestic purposes. Many current decontaminating formulations are effective, but they require the use of strong oxidizing agents or organic solvents that have deleterious effects on human health and the surrounding environment. The emergence of antibiotic-resistant pathogens has motivated researchers to develop enzyme-based self-decontaminating formulations as alternatives to such chemical decontamination approaches. Hydrolytic and oxidative enzymes can be used to deactivate pathogens, including bacteria, spores, viruses, and fungi. Laccases, haloperoxidases, and perhydrolases catalyze the generation of biocidal oxidants, such as iodine, bromine, hypohalous acid (e.g., HOCl or HOBr), and peracetic acid. These oxidants have broad-spectrum antimicrobial activity. Due to the multi-pathway action of these oxidants, it has proven extremely difficult for microbes to gain resistance. Thus far, few examples have been reported on enzyme-based antimicrobial formulations. For these reasons, various enzyme-containing antimicrobial formulations are highlighted in this review.
Understanding the effects of spaceflight on microbial communities is crucial for the success of long-term, manned space missions. Surface-associated bacterial communities, known as biofilms, were abundant on the Mir space station and continue to be a challenge on the International Space Station. The health and safety hazards linked to the development of biofilms are of particular concern due to the suppression of immune function observed during spaceflight. While planktonic cultures of microbes have indicated that spaceflight can lead to increases in growth and virulence, the effects of spaceflight on biofilm development and physiology remain unclear. To address this issue, Pseudomonas aeruginosa was cultured during two Space Shuttle Atlantis missions: STS-132 and STS-135, and the biofilms formed during spaceflight were characterized. Spaceflight was observed to increase the number of viable cells, biofilm biomass, and thickness relative to normal gravity controls. Moreover, the biofilms formed during spaceflight exhibited a column-and-canopy structure that has not been observed on Earth. The increase in the amount of biofilms and the formation of the novel architecture during spaceflight were observed to be independent of carbon source and phosphate concentrations in the media. However, flagella-driven motility was shown to be essential for the formation of this biofilm architecture during spaceflight. These findings represent the first evidence that spaceflight affects community-level behaviors of bacteria and highlight the importance of understanding how both harmful and beneficial human-microbe interactions may be altered during spaceflight.
Enzymatically derived oligophenols from apocynin can be effective inhibitors of human vascular NADPH oxidase (Nox). An isolated trimer hydroxylated quinone (IIIHyQ) has been shown to inhibit endothelial NADPH oxidase with an IC(50) ~30 nM. In vitro studies demonstrated that IIIHyQ is capable of disrupting the interaction between p47(phox) and p22(phox), thereby blocking the activation of the Nox2 isoform. Herein, we report the role of key cysteine residues in p47(phox) as targets for the IIIHyQ. Incubation of p47(phox) with IIIHyQ results in a decrease of ~80% of the protein free cysteine residues; similar results were observed using 1,2- and 1,4-naphthoquinones, whereas apocynin was unreactive. Mutants of p47(phox), in which each Cys was individually replaced by Ala (at residues 111, 196, and 378) or Gly (at residue 98), were generated to evaluate their individual importance in IIIHyQ-mediated inhibition of p47(phox) interaction with p22(phox). Specific Michael addition on Cys196, within the N-SH3 domain, by the IIIHyQ is critical for disrupting the p47(phox)-p22(phox) interaction. When a C196A mutation was tested, the IIIHyQ was unable to disrupt the p47(phox)-p22(phox) interaction. However, the IIIHyQ was effective at disrupting this interaction with the other mutants, displaying IC(50) values (4.9, 21.0, and 2.3?M for the C111A, C378A, and C98G mutants, respectively) comparable to that of wild-type p47(phox).
Heparosan is a polysaccharide, which serves as the critical precursor in heparin biosynthesis and chemoenzymatic synthesis of bioengineered heparin. Because the molecular weight of microbial heparosan is considerably larger than heparin, the controlled depolymerization of microbial heparosan is necessary prior to its conversion to bioengineered heparin. We have previously reported that other acidic polysaccharides could be partially depolymerized with maintenance of their internal structure using a titanium dioxide-catalyzed photochemical reaction. This photolytic process is characterized by the generation of reactive oxygen species that oxidize individual saccharide residues within the polysaccharide chain. Using a similar approach, a microbial heparosan from Escherichia coli K5 of molecular weight >15,000 was depolymerized to a heparosan of molecular weight 8,000. The (1)H-NMR spectra obtained showed that the photolyzed heparosan maintained the same structure as the starting heparosan. The polysaccharide chains of the photochemically depolymerized heparosan were also characterized by electrospray ionization-Fourier-transform mass spectrometry. While the chain of K5 heparosan starting material contained primarily an even number of saccharide residues, as a result of coliphage K5 lyase processing, both odd and even chain numbers were detected in the photochemically-depolymerized heparosan. These results suggest that the photochemical depolymerization of heparosan was a random process that can take place at either the glucuronic acid or the N-acetylglucosamine residue within the heparosan polysaccharide.
Anticoagulant heparin has been shown to possess important biological functions that vary according to its fine structure. Variability within heparins structure occurs owing to its biosynthesis and animal tissue-based recovery and adds another dimension to its complex polymeric structure. The structural variations in chain length and sulfation patterns mediate its interaction with many heparin-binding proteins, thereby eliciting complex biological responses. The advent of novel chemical and enzymatic approaches for polysaccharide synthesis coupled with high throughput combinatorial approaches for drug discovery have facilitated an increased effort to understand heparins structure-activity relationships. An improved understanding would offer potential for new therapeutic development through the engineering of polysaccharides. Such a bioengineering approach requires the amalgamation of several different disciplines, including carbohydrate synthesis, applied enzymology, metabolic engineering, and process biochemistry.
Virus-like particles (VLPs) are biological nanoparticles identical to the natural virions, but without genetic material. VLPs are suitable for the analysis of viral infection mechanisms, vaccine production, tissue-specific drug delivery, and as biological nanomaterials. Human parvovirus B19 (B19) infects humans; therefore VLPs derived from this virus have enormous potential in medicine and diagnostics. Current production of self-assembled VLPs derived from B19 is typically carried out in eukaryotic expression systems. However many applications of VLPs require access to its internal core. Consequently, the processes of disassembly and further reassembly of VLPs are critical both for purification of viral proteins, and for encapsulation purposes. Herein we report the in vitro self-assembly of B19 VLPs derived from the recombinant VP2 protein expressed in Escherichia coli and the effects of pH and ionic strength on the assembly process. Our results demonstrate that VP2 is able to form VLPs completely in vitro. At neutral pH, homogeneous VLPs assemble, while at acidic and basic pHs, with low ionic strength, the major assemblies are small intermediates. The in vitro self-assembled VLPs are highly stable at 37°C, and a significant fraction of particles remain assembled after 30min at 80°C.
Metabolic stability measurements are a critical component of preclinical drug development. Available measurement strategies rely on chromatography and mass spectrometry, which are expensive and labor intensive. We have developed a general method to determine the metabolic stability of virtually any compound by quantifying cofactors in the mechanism of cytochrome P450 enzymes using fluorescence intensity measurements. While many previous studies have shown that simple measurements of cofactor depletion do not correlate with substrate conversion (i.e., metabolic stability) in P450 systems, the present work employs a reaction engineering approach to simplify the overall rate equation, thus allowing the accurate and quantitative determination of substrate depletion from simultaneous measurements of NADPH and oxygen depletion. This method combines the accuracy and generality of chromatography with the ease, throughput, and real-time capabilities of fluorescence.
Psychrophiles, cold-adapted organisms, have adapted to live at low temperatures by using a variety of mechanisms. Their enzymes are active at cold temperatures by being structurally more flexible than mesophilic enzymes. Even though, there are some indications of the possible structural mechanisms by which psychrophilic enzymes are catalytic active at cold temperatures, there is not a generalized structural property common to all psychrophilic enzymes.
With the emergence of "super bacteria" that are resistant to antibiotics, e.g., methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, novel antimicrobial therapies are needed to prevent associated hospitalizations and deaths. Bacteriophages and bacteria use cell lytic enzymes to kill host or competing bacteria, respectively, in natural environments. Taking inspiration from nature, we have employed a cell lytic enzyme, lysostaphin (Lst), with specific bactericidal activity against S. aureus, to generate anti-infective bandages. Lst was immobilized onto biocompatible fibers generated by electrospinning homogeneous solutions of cellulose, cellulose-chitosan, and cellulose-poly(methylmethacrylate) (PMMA) from 1-ethyl-3-methylimidazolium acetate ([EMIM][OAc]), room temperature ionic liquid. Electron microscopic analysis shows that these fibers have submicron-scale diameter. The fibers were chemically treated to generate aldehyde groups for the covalent immobilization of Lst. The resulting Lst-functionalized cellulose fibers were processed to obtain bandage preparations that showed activity against S. aureus in an in vitro skin model with low toxicity toward keratinocytes, suggesting good biocompatibility for these materials as antimicrobial matrices in wound healing applications.
Seven commercial heparin active pharmaceutical ingredients and one commercial low molecular weight from different manufacturers were characterized with a view profiling their physicochemical properties. All heparins had similar molecular weight properties as determined by polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis (M(N), 10-11 kDa; M(W), 13-14 kDa; polydispersity (PD), 1.3-1.4) and by size exclusion chromatography (M(N), 14-16 kDa; M (W), 21-25 kDa; PD, 1.4-1.6). one-dimensional (1)H- and (13)C-nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) evaluation of the heparin samples was performed, and peaks were fully assigned using two-dimensional NMR. The percentage of glucosamine residues with 3-O-sulfo groups and the percentage of N-sulfo groups and N-acetyl groups ranged from 5.8-7.9%, 78-82%, to 13-14%, respectively. There was substantial variability observed in the disaccharide composition, as determined by high performance liquid chromatography (HPLC)-mass spectral analysis of heparin lyase I-III digested heparins. Heparin oligosaccharide mapping was performed using HPLC following separate treatments with heparin lyase I, II, and III. These maps were useful in qualitatively and quantitatively identifying structural differences between these heparins. The binding affinities of these heparins to antithrombin III and thrombin were evaluated by using a surface plasmon resonance competitive binding assay. This study provides the physicochemical and activity characterization necessary for the appropriate design and synthesis of a generic bioengineered heparin.
The chemical step in the chemoenzymatic synthesis of bioengineered heparin has been examined and optimized statistically using a response surface methodology. A four factor, two level full factorial design experiment and a three factor Box-Behnken design were carried out. The goal was to establish a method to prepare N-sulfo, N-acetyl heparosan of the desired N-acetyl content, number average molecular weight, and in maximum yield by controlling the reactant concentrations, reaction time and reaction temperature. The response surface models obtained were used to predict the reaction conditions required to optimally prepare N-sulfo, N-acetyl heparosan from Escherichia coli generated heparosan starting material of different molecular weights.
N-acetyl heparosan is the precursor for the biosynthesis of the important anticoagulant drug heparin. The E. coli K5 capsular heparosan polysaccharide provides a promising precursor for in vitro chemoenzymatic production of bioengineered heparin. This article explores the improvements of heparosan production for bioengineered heparin by fermentation process engineering and genetic engineering.
Electrospun polymer fibers were prepared containing mixtures of different proportions of ferromagnetic and superparamagnetic nanoparticles. The magnetic properties of these fibers were then explored using a superconducting quantum interference device. Mixed superparamagnetic/ferromagnetic fibers were examined for mesoscale magnetic exchange coupling, which was not observed as theoretically predicted. This study includes some of the highest magnetic nanoparticle loadings (up to 50 wt%) and the highest magnetization values (? 25 emu/g) in an electrospun fiber to date and also demonstrates a novel mixed superparamagnetic/ferromagnetic system.
Ionic liquids (ILs) have emerged as attractive solvents for lignocellulosic biomass pretreatment in the production of biofuels and chemical feedstocks. However, the high cost of ILs is a key deterrent to their practical application. Here, we show that acetate based ILs are effective in dramatically reducing the recalcitrance of corn stover toward enzymatic polysaccharide hydrolysis even at loadings of biomass as high as 50% by weight. Under these conditions, the IL serves more as a pretreatment additive rather than a true solvent. Pretreatment of corn stover with 1-ethyl-3-methylimidizolium acetate ([Emim] [OAc]) at 125 ± 5°C for 1 h resulted in a dramatic reduction of cellulose crystallinity (up to 52%) and extraction of lignin (up to 44%). Enzymatic hydrolysis of the IL-treated biomass was performed with a common commercial cellulase/xylanase from Trichoderma reesei and a commercial ?-glucosidase, and resulted in fermentable sugar yields of ?80% for glucose and ?50% for xylose at corn stover loadings up to 33% (w/w) and 55% and 34% for glucose and xylose, respectively, at 50% (w/w) biomass loading. Similar results were observed for the IL-facilitated pretreatment of switchgrass, poplar, and the highly recalcitrant hardwood, maple. At 4.8% (w/w) corn stover, [Emim][OAc] can be readily reused up to 10 times without removal of extracted components, such as lignin, with no effect on subsequent fermentable sugar yields. A significant reduction in the amount of IL combined with facile recycling has the potential to enable ILs to be used in large-scale biomass pretreatment.
This chapter describes a method for the formation of novel protein-nanotube hybrid conjugates. Specifically, we took advantage of the self-assembly and self-recognition properties of tubulin cytoskeletal protein immobilized onto carbon nanotubes to form nanotube-based biohybrids. Further biohybrid hierarchical integration in assemblies enabled molecular-level manipulation on engineered surfaces, as demonstrated with biocatalyst kinesin 1 ATPase molecular motor. The method presented herein can be extended for the preparation of biocatalyst-based or protein-based assemblies to be used as sensors or biological templates for nanofabrication.
Ozone is known to add across and cleave carbon-carbon double bonds. Ozonolysis is widely used for the preparation of pharmaceuticals, for bleaching substances and for killing microorganisms in air and water sources. Some polysaccharides and oligosaccharides, such as those prepared using chemical or enzymatic ?-elimination, contain a site of unsaturation. We examined ozonolysis of low-molecular-weight heparins (LMWHs), enoxaparin and logiparin, and heparosan oligo- and polysaccharides for the removal of the nonreducing terminal unsaturated uronate residue. 1D (1)H NMR showed that these ozone-treated polysaccharides retained the same structure as the starting polysaccharide, except that the C4-C5 double bond in the nonreducing end unsaturated uronate had been removed. The anticoagulant activity of the resulting product from enoxaparin and logiparin was comparable to that of the starting material. These results demonstrate that ozonolysis is an important tool for the removal of unsaturated uronate residues from LMWHs and heparosan without modification of the core polysaccharide structure or diminution of anticoagulant activity. This reaction also has potential applications in the chemoenzymatic synthesis of bioengineered heparin from Escherichia coli-derived K5 heparosan.
Many biomedical applications of gold nanoparticles (NPs) rely on proteins that are covalently attached or adsorbed on the NP surface. The biological functionality of the protein-NP conjugate depends on the proteins ability to interact with target molecules, which is affected by NP characteristics such as size, curvature, aspect ratio, morphology, crystal structure, and surface chemistry. In the present study, the effect of gold nanoparticle morphology on the structure and function of adsorbed enzymes, lysozyme (Lyz) and ?-chymotrypsin (ChT), has been investigated. Gold nanospheres (AuNS) were synthesized with diameters 10.6 ± 1 nm, and gold nanorods (AuNR) were synthesized with dimensions of (10.3 ± 2) × (36.4 ± 9) nm. Under saturating conditions, proteins adsorb with a higher surface density on AuNR when compared to AuNS. In the case of Lyz, adsorption on AuNS and AuNR resulted in a 10% and 15% loss of secondary structure, respectively, leading to conjugate aggregation and greatly reduced enzymatic activity. ChT retained most of its secondary structure and activity on AuNS and AuNR at low surface coverages; however, as protein loading approached monolayer conditions on AuNR, a 40% loss in secondary structure and 86% loss of activity was observed. Subsequent adsorption of ChT in multilayers on the AuNR surface allowed the conjugates to recover activity and remain stable. It is clear that AuNP morphology does affect adsorbed protein structure; a better understanding of these differences will be essential to engineer fully functional nanobioconjugates.
Room temperature ionic liquids (RTILs) are emerging as attractive and green solvents for lignocellulosic biomass pretreatment. The unique solvating properties of RTILs foster the disruption of the 3D network structure of lignin, cellulose, and hemicellulose, which allows high yields of fermentable sugars to be produced in subsequent enzymatic hydrolysis. In the current review, we summarize the physicochemical properties of RTILs that make them effective solvents for lignocellulose pretreatment including mechanisms of interaction between lignocellulosic biomass subcomponents and RTILs. We also highlight several recent strategies that exploit RTILs and generate high yields of fermentable sugars suitable for downstream biofuel production, and address new opportunities for use of lignocellulosic components, including lignin. Finally, we address some of the challenges that remain before large-scale use of RTILs may be achieved.
Substantial evidence suggests that soluble prefibrillar oligomers of the A?42 peptide associated with Alzheimers disease are the most cytotoxic aggregated A? isoform. Limited previous work has revealed that aromatic compounds capable of remodeling A? oligomers into nontoxic conformers typically do so by converting them into off-pathway aggregates instead of dissociating them into monomers. Towards identifying small-molecule antagonists capable of selectively dissociating toxic A? oligomers into soluble peptide at substoichiometric concentrations, we have investigated the pathways used by polyphenol aglycones and their glycosides to remodel A? soluble oligomers. We find that eleven polyphenol aglycones of variable size and structure utilize the same remodeling pathway whereby A? oligomers are rapidly converted into large, off-pathway aggregates. Strikingly, we find that glycosides of these polyphenols all utilize a distinct remodeling pathway in which A? oligomers are rapidly dissociated into soluble, disaggregated peptide. This disaggregation activity is a synergistic combination of the aglycone and glycone moieties because combinations of polyphenols and sugars fail to disaggregate A? oligomers. We also find that polyphenolic glycosides and aglycones use the same opposing pathways to remodel A? fibrils. Importantly, both classes of polyphenols fail to remodel nontoxic A? oligomers (which are indistinguishable in size and morphology to A? soluble oligomers) or promote aggregation of freshly disaggregated A? peptide; thus revealing that they are specific for remodeling toxic A? conformers. We expect that these and related small molecules will be powerful chemical probes for investigating the conformational and cellular underpinnings of A?-mediated toxicity.
Glycosaminoglycans (GAGs) play a critical role in the binding and activation of growth factors in cell signal transduction required for biological development. A glycomics approach can be used to examine GAG content, composition, and structure in stem cells in order to characterize their general differentiation. Specifically, this method may be used to evaluate chondrogenic differentiations by profiling for the GAG content of the differentiated cells. Here, embryonic-like teratocarcinoma cells, NCCIT, a developmentally pluripotent cell line, were used as a model for establishing GAG glycomic methods, but will be easily transferrable to embryonic stem cell cultures.
Intracellular delivery of specific proteins and peptides may be used to influence signaling pathways and manipulate cell function, including stem cell fate. Herein, we describe the delivery of proteins attached to hydrophobically modified 15-nm silica nanoparticles to manipulate specifically targeted cell signaling proteins. We designed a chimeric protein, GFP-FRATtide, wherein GFP acts as a biomarker for fluorescence detection, and FRATtide binds to and blocks the active site of glycogen synthase kinase-3? (GSK-3?) - a protein kinase involved in Wnt signaling. The SiNP-chimeric protein conjugates were efficiently delivered to the cytosol of human embryonic kidney cells and rat neural stem cells, presumably via endocytosis. This uptake impacted the Wnt signaling cascade, resulting in an elevation of ?-catenin levels due to GSK-3? inhibition. Accumulation of ?-catenin led to increased transcription of Wnt target genes, such as c-MYC, which instruct the cell to actively proliferate and remain in an undifferentiated state. The results presented here suggest that functional proteins can be delivered intracellularly in vitro using nanoparticles and used to target key signaling proteins and regulate cell signaling pathways. This ability is critical for the design of in vitro screens for gain/loss of pathway function, and may also prove to be useful for in vivo delivery applications.
A high-resolution method for the separation and analysis of disaccharides prepared from heparin and heparan sulfate (HS) using heparin lyases is described. Ultra-performance liquid chromatography in a reverse-phase ion-pairing mode efficiently separates eight heparin/HS disaccharides. The disaccharides can then be detected and quantified using electrospray ionization mass spectrometry. This method is particularly useful in the analysis of small amounts of biological samples, including cells, tissues, and biological fluids, because it provides high sensitivity without being subject to interference from proteins, peptides, and other sample impurities.
The production of the anticoagulant drug heparin from non-animal sources has a number of advantages over the current commercial production of heparin. These advantages include better source material availability, improved quality control, and reduced concerns about animal virus or prion impurities. A bioengineered heparin would have to be chemically and biologically equivalent to be substituted for animal-sourced heparin as a pharmaceutical. In an effort to produce bioengineered heparin that more closely resembles pharmaceutical heparin, we have investigated a key step in the process involving the N-deacetylation of heparosan. The extent of N-deacetylation directly affects the N-acetyl/N-sulfo ratio in bioengineered heparin and also impacts its molecular weight. Previous studies have demonstrated that the presence and quantity of N-acetylglucosamine in the nascent glycosaminoglycan chain, serving as the substrate for the subsequent enzymatic modifications (C5 epimerization and O-sulfonation), can impact the action of these enzymes and, thus, the content and distribution of iduronic acid and O-sulfo groups. In this study, we control the N-deacetylation of heparosan to produce a bioengineered heparin with an N-acetyl/N-sulfo ratio and molecular weight that is similar to animal-sourced pharmaceutical heparin. The structural composition and anticoagulant activity of the resultant bioengineered heparin was extensively characterized and compared to pharmaceutical heparin obtained from porcine intestinal mucosa.
Electrospinning of nanomaterial composites are gaining increased interest in the fabrication of electronic components and devices. Performance improvement of electrospun components results from the unique properties associated with nanometer-scaled features, high specific surface areas, and light-weight designs. Electrospun nanofiber membrane-containing polymer electrolytes show improved ionic conductivity, electrochemical stability, low interfacial resistance, and improved charge-discharge performance than those prepared from conventional membranes. Batteries with non-woven electrospun separators have increased cycle life and higher rate capabilities than ones with conventional separators. Electrospun nanofibers may also be used as working electrodes in lithium-ion batteries, where they exhibit excellent rate capability, high reversible capacity, and good cycling performance. Moreover, the high surface area of electrospun activated carbon nanofibers improves supercapacitor energy density. Similarly, nanowires having quasi-one-dimensional structures prepared by electrospinning show high conductivity and have been used in ultra-sensitive chemical sensors, optoelectronics, and catalysts. Electrospun conductive polymers can also perform as flexible electrodes. Finally, the thin, porous structure of electrospun nanofibers provides for the high strain and fast response required for improved actuator performance. The current review examines recent advances in the application of electrospinning in fabricating electronic components and devices.
The sequential order of secondary structural elements in proteins affects the folding and activity to an unknown extent. To test the dependence on sequential connectivity, we reconnected secondary structural elements by their solvent-exposed ends, permuting their sequential order, called "rewiring". This new protein design strategy changes the topology of the backbone without changing the core side chain packing arrangement. While circular and noncircular permutations have been observed in protein structures that are not related by sequence homology, to date no one has attempted to rationally design and construct a protein with a sequence that is noncircularly permuted while conserving three-dimensional structure. Herein, we show that green fluorescent protein can be rewired, still functionally fold, and exhibit wild-type fluorescence excitation and emission spectra.
In protein conformational disorders ranging from Alzheimer to Parkinson disease, proteins of unrelated sequence misfold into a similar array of aggregated conformers ranging from small oligomers to large amyloid fibrils. Substantial evidence suggests that small, prefibrillar oligomers are the most toxic species, yet to what extent they can be selectively targeted and remodeled into non-toxic conformers using small molecules is poorly understood. We have evaluated the conformational specificity and remodeling pathways of a diverse panel of aromatic small molecules against mature soluble oligomers of the A?42 peptide associated with Alzheimer disease. We find that small molecule antagonists can be grouped into three classes, which we herein define as Class I, II, and III molecules, based on the distinct pathways they utilize to remodel soluble oligomers into multiple conformers with reduced toxicity. Class I molecules remodel soluble oligomers into large, off-pathway aggregates that are non-toxic. Moreover, Class IA molecules also remodel amyloid fibrils into the same off-pathway structures, whereas Class IB molecules fail to remodel fibrils but accelerate aggregation of freshly disaggregated A?. In contrast, a Class II molecule converts soluble A? oligomers into fibrils, but is inactive against disaggregated and fibrillar A?. Class III molecules disassemble soluble oligomers (as well as fibrils) into low molecular weight species that are non-toxic. Strikingly, A? non-toxic oligomers (which are morphologically indistinguishable from toxic soluble oligomers) are significantly more resistant to being remodeled than A? soluble oligomers or amyloid fibrils. Our findings reveal that relatively subtle differences in small molecule structure encipher surprisingly large differences in the pathways they employ to remodel A? soluble oligomers and related aggregated conformers.
Three-dimensional (3D) cellular assays closely mimic the in vivo milieu, providing a rapid, inexpensive system for screening drug candidates for toxicity or efficacy in the early stages of drug discovery. However, 3D culture systems may suffer from mass transfer limitations, particularly in delivery of large polypeptide or nucleic acid compounds. Nucleic acids (e.g., genes, silencing RNA) are of particular interest both as potential therapeutics and due to a desire to modulate the gene-expression patterns of cells exposed to small-molecule pharmacological agents. In the present study, polyethylenimine (PEI)-coated superparamagnetic nanoparticles (SPMNs) were designed to deliver interfering RNA and green fluorescent protein (GFP) plasmids through a collagen-gel matrix into 3D cell cultures driven by an external magnetic field. The highest transfection efficiency achieved was 64% for siRNA and 77% for GFP plasmids. Delivery of an shRNA plasmid against GFP by PEI-coated SPMNs silenced the GFP expression with 82% efficiency. We further demonstrated that this delivery approach could be used for screening interfering RNA constructs for therapeutic or toxic effects for cells grown in 3D cultures. Four known toxic shRNA plasmids were delivered by PEI-coated SPMNs into 3D cell cultures, and significant toxicities (41-51% cell death) were obtained.
Protein-based therapeutics are gaining importance for their biocompatibility and activity toward specific targets. When these targets are intracellular, it is critical to deliver biomolecules to sites in the cell cytoplasm while retaining biomolecule activity in the complex cellular milieu. However, intracellular protein delivery is not viable unless accompanied by an active uptake mechanism or carrier mediated delivery. Moreover, once entry into the cell is achieved, detection of the biomolecule requires laborious techniques that lack real-time measurement. We have developed a fluorescence-based complementary protein delivery sensing system using split green fluorescence protein (GFP(1-10) and GFP(11)) fragments, which can be used as an indicator for protein delivery and retention of activity, and as a means to pinpoint subcellular localization. We demonstrate in vitro localized delivery by expressing the GFP(11) fragment onto the mitochondrial outer membrane of human cells, and using a model carrier (15?nm silica nanoparticles) to deliver GFP(1-10) and image trafficking and mitochondrial localization of protein delivery. Our results indicate that nanoscale materials can be used as protein carriers for targeting cell constituents including functional molecules, signaling pathways, and organelles. We envision that this GFP complementation system is ideally suited for directing nanoparticle-based delivery of drugs and other bioactive molecules into subcellular locations within cells, which can impact protein-protein interactions, signal transduction pathways, and organelle function in vitro within the context of high-throughput screening protocols.
Heparosan is an acidic polysaccharide natural product, which serves as the critical precursor in heparin biosynthesis and in the chemoenzymatic synthesis of bioengineered heparin. Heparosan is also the capsular polysaccharide of Escherichia coli K5 strain. The current study was focused on the examination of the fermentation of E. coli K5 with the goal of producing heparosan in high yield and volumetric productivity. The structure and molecular weight properties of this bacterial heparosan were determined using polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis (PAGE) and Fourier transform mass spectrometry. Fermentation of E. coli K5 in a defined medium using exponential fed-batch glucose addition with oxygen enrichment afforded heparosan at 15?g/L having a number average molecular weight of 58,000?Da and a weight average molecular weight of 84,000?Da.
Core-sheath multiwalled carbon nanotube (MWNT)-cellulose fibers of diameters from several hundreds of nanometers to several micrometers were prepared by coaxial electrospinning from a nonvolatile, nonflammable ionic liquid (IL) solvent, 1-methyl-3-methylimidazolium acetate ([EMIM][Ac]). MWNTs were dispersed in IL to form a gel solution. This gel core solution was electrospun surrounded by a sheath solution of cellulose dissolved in the same IL. Electrospun fibers were collected in a coagulation bath containing ethanol-water to remove the IL completely and dried to form core-sheath MWNT-cellulose fibers having a cable structure with a conductive core and insulating sheath. Enzymatic treatment of a portion of a mat of these fibers with cellulase selectively removed the cellulose sheath exposing the MWNT core for connection to an electrode. These MWNT-cellulose fiber mats demonstrated excellent conductivity because of a conductive pathway of bundled MWNTs. Fiber mat conductivity increased with increasing ratio of MWNT in the fibers with a maximum conductivity of 10.7 S/m obtained at 45 wt % MWNT loading.
A quantitative analysis of a recalled contaminated lot of heparin sodium injection U.S. Pharmacopeia (USP) was undertaken in response to the controversy regarding the exact nature of the contaminant involved in the heparin (HP) crisis. A mass balance analysis of the formulated drug product was performed. After freeze-drying, a 1-ml vial for injection afforded 54.8±0.3 mg of dry solids. The excipients, sodium chloride and residual benzyl alcohol, accounted for 11.4±0.5 and 0.9±0.5 mg, respectively. Active pharmaceutical ingredient (API) represented 41.5±1.0 mg, corresponding to 75.7 wt% of dry mass. Exhaustive treatment of API with specific enzymes, heparin lyases, and/or chondroitin lyases was used to close mass balance. HP represented 30.5±0.5 mg, corresponding to 73.5 wt% of the API. Dermatan sulfate (DS) impurity represented 1.7±0.3 mg, corresponding to 4.1 wt% of API. Contaminant, representing 9.3±0.1 mg corresponding to 22.4 wt% of API, was found in the contaminated formulated drug product. The recovery of contaminant was close to quantitative (95.6-100 wt%). A single contaminant was unambiguously identified as oversulfated chondroitin sulfate (OSCS).
Infection with antibiotic-resistant pathogens such as methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) is one of the primary causes of hospitalizations and deaths. To address this issue, we have designed antimicrobial coatings incorporating carbon nanotube-enzyme conjugates that are highly effective against antibiotic-resistant pathogens. Specifically, we incorporated conjugates of carbon nanotubes with lysostaphin, a cell wall degrading enzyme, into films to impart bactericidal properties against Staphylococcus aureus and Staphylococcus epidermidis. We fabricated and characterized nanocomposites containing different conjugate formulations and enzyme loadings. These enzyme-based composites were highly efficient in killing MRSA (>99% within 2 h) without release of the enzyme into solution. Additionally, these films were reusable and stable under dry storage conditions for a month. Such enzyme-based film formulations may be used to prevent growth of pathogenic and antibiotic-resistant microorganisms on various common surfaces in hospital settings. Polymer and paint films containing such antimicrobial conjugates, in particular, could be advantageous to prevent risk of staphylococcal-specific infection and biofouling.
Misfolded proteins associated with diverse aggregation disorders assemble not only into a single toxic conformer but rather into a suite of aggregated conformers with unique biochemical properties and toxicities. To what extent small molecules can target and neutralize specific aggregated conformers is poorly understood. Therefore, we have investigated the capacity of resveratrol to recognize and remodel five conformers (monomers, soluble oligomers, non-toxic oligomers, fibrillar intermediates, and amyloid fibrils) of the Abeta1-42 peptide associated with Alzheimer disease. We find that resveratrol selectively remodels three of these conformers (soluble oligomers, fibrillar intermediates, and amyloid fibrils) into an alternative aggregated species that is non-toxic, high molecular weight, and unstructured. Surprisingly, resveratrol does not remodel non-toxic oligomers or accelerate Abeta monomer aggregation despite that both conformers possess random coil secondary structures indistinguishable from soluble oligomers and significantly different from their beta-sheet rich, fibrillar counterparts. We expect that resveratrol and other small molecules with similar conformational specificity will aid in illuminating the conformational epitopes responsible for Abeta-mediated toxicity.
We describe a novel multiplex "amino acid array" for simultaneously quantifying different amino acids based on the rapid growth of amino acid auxotrophic E. coli. First, we constructed genetically engineered amino acid auxotrophs of E. coli containing a bioluminescence reporter gene, yielding concomitant luminescence as a response to cell growth, and then immobilized the reporter cells within individual agarose of respective wells in a 96-well plate serving as a mimic of a biochip. Using the amino acid array, we were able to determine quantitatively the concentrations of 16 amino acids in biological fluid by simply measuring bioluminescent signals from the immobilized cells within 4 h without pre- and post-treatment. The clinical utility of this method was verified by quantifying different amino acids in dried blood spot specimens from clinical samples for the diagnosis of metabolic diseases of newborn babies. This method serves as a convenient route to the rapid and simultaneous analysis of multiple amino acids from complex biological fluids and represents a new analytical paradigm that can replace conventional, yet laborious methods currently in use.
Due to poor drug candidate safety profiles that are often identified late in the drug development process, the clinical progression of new chemical entities to pharmaceuticals remains hindered, thus resulting in the high cost of drug discovery. To accelerate the identification of safer drug candidates and improve the clinical progression of drug candidates to pharmaceuticals, it is important to develop high-throughput tools that can provide early-stage predictive toxicology data. In particular, in vitro cell-based systems that can accurately mimic the human in vivo response and predict the impact of drug candidates on human toxicology are needed to accelerate the assessment of drug candidate toxicity and human metabolism earlier in the drug development process. The in vitro techniques that provide a high degree of human toxicity prediction will be perhaps more important in cosmetic and chemical industries in Europe, as animal toxicity testing is being phased out entirely in the immediate future.We have developed a metabolic enzyme microarray (the Metabolizing Enzyme Toxicology Assay Chip, or MetaChip) and a miniaturized three-dimensional (3D) cell-culture array (the Data Analysis Toxicology Assay Chip, or DataChip) for high-throughput toxicity screening of target compounds and their metabolic enzyme-generated products. The human or rat MetaChip contains an array of encapsulated metabolic enzymes that is designed to emulate the metabolic reactions in the human or rat liver. The human or rat DataChip contains an array of 3D human or rat cells encapsulated in alginate gels for cell-based toxicity screening. By combining the DataChip with the complementary MetaChip, in vitro toxicity results are obtained that correlate well with in vivo rat data.
Despite recent advances in nanomaterial-based delivery systems, their applicability as carriers of cargo, especially proteins for targeting cellular components and manipulating cell function, is not well-understood. Herein, we demonstrate the ability of hydrophobic silica nanoparticles to deliver proteins, including enzymes and antibodies, to a diverse set of mammalian cells, including human cancer cells and rat stem cells, while preserving the activity of the biomolecule post-delivery. Specifically, we have explored the delivery and cytosolic activity of hydrophobically functionalized silica nanoparticle-protein conjugates in a human breast cancer cell line (MCF-7) and rat neural stem cells (NSCs) and elucidated the mechanism of cytosolic transport. Importantly, the proteins were delivered to the cytosol without extended entrapment in the endosomes, which facilitated the retention of biological activity of the delivered proteins. As a result, delivery of ribonuclease A (RNase A) and the antibody to phospho-Akt (pAkt) resulted in the initiation of cell death. Delivery of control protein conjugates (e.g., those containing green fluorescent protein or goat antirabbit IgG) resulted in minimal cell death, indicating that the carrier-mediated toxicity was low. The results presented here provide insight into the design of nanomaterials as protein carriers that enable control of cell function.
We have developed enzyme-based composites that rapidly and effectively detoxify simulants of V- and G-type chemical warfare nerve agents. The approach was based on the efficient immobilization of organophosphorus hydrolase onto carbon nanotubes to form active and stable conjugates that were easily entrapped in commercially available paints. The resulting catalytic-based composites showed no enzyme leaching and rendered >99% decontamination of 10 g/m(2) paraoxon, a simulant of the V-type nerve agent, in 30 minutes and >95% decontamination of diisopropylfluorophosphate, a simulant of G-type nerve agent, in 45 minutes. The formulations are expected to be environmentally friendly and to offer an easy to use, on demand, decontamination alternative to chemical approaches for sustainable material self-decontamination.
The natural flavonoid bergenin was directly immobilized onto carboxylic acid functionalized controlled pore glass (carboxy-CPG) at 95% yield. Immobilized bergenin was brominated via chloroperoxidase in aqueous solution and then transesterified with vinyl butyrate in diisopropyl ether by subtilisin carslberg (SC) extracted into the organic solvent via ion pairing. Enzymatic cleavage of 7-bromo-4-butyrylbergenin from carboxy-CPG (9.6% final yield) was accomplished using lipase B (LipB) in an aqueous/organic mixture (90/10 v/v of water/acetonitrile), demonstrating the feasibility of solid phase biocatalysis of a natural product in aqueous and non-aqueous media.
Heparosan is the key precursor for the preparation of bioengineered heparin, a potential replacement for porcine intestinal heparin, an important anticoagulant drug. The molecular weight (MW) distribution of heparosan produced by the fermentation of E. coli K5 was investigated. Large-slab isocratic and mini-slab gradient polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis (PAGE) were used to analyze the MW and polydispersity of heparosan. A preparative method that allowed fractionation by continuous-elution PAGE was used to obtain heparosan MW standards. The MWs of the heparosan standards were determined by electrospray ionization Fourier-transform mass spectrometry (ESI-FT-MS). A ladder of the standards was then used to determine the MW properties of polydisperse heparosan samples. Unbleached and bleached heparosan produced by fermentation of E. coli K5 had similar number-averaged MWs (M(N)), weight-averaged MWs (M(W)), and MW ranges of 3,000 to 150,000 Da.
We have developed a novel three-dimensional (3D) cellular microarray platform to enable the rapid and efficient tracking of stem cell fate and quantification of specific stem cell markers. This platform consists of a miniaturized 3D cell culture array on a functionalized glass slide for spatially addressable high-throughput screening. A microarray spotter was used to deposit cells onto a modified glass surface to yield an array consisting of cells encapsulated in alginate gel spots with volumes as low as 60 nL. A method based on an immunofluorescence technique scaled down to function on a cellular microarray was also used to quantify specific cell marker protein levels in situ. Our results revealed that this platform is suitable for studying the expansion of mouse embryonic stem (ES) cells as they retain their pluripotent and undifferentiated state. We also examined neural commitment of mouse ES cells on the microarray and observed the generation of neuroectodermal precursor cells characterized by expression of the neural marker Sox-1, whose levels were also measured in situ using a GFP reporter system. In addition, the high-throughput capacity of the platform was tested using a dual-slide system that allowed rapid screening of the effects of tretinoin and fibroblast growth factor-4 (FGF-4) on the pluripotency of mouse ES cells. This high-throughput platform is a powerful new tool for investigating cellular mechanisms involved in stem cell expansion and differentiation and provides the basis for rapid identification of signals and conditions that can be used to direct cellular responses.
Receptor tyrosine kinases are critical targets for the regulation of cell survival. Cancer patients with abnormal receptor tyrosine kinases (RTK) tend to have more aggressive disease with poor clinical outcomes. As a result, human epidermal growth factor receptor kinases, such as EGFR (HER1), HER2, and HER3, represent important therapeutic targets. Several plant polyphenols including the type III polyketide synthase products (genistein, curcumin, resveratrol, and epigallocatechin-3-galate) possess chemopreventive activity, primarily as a result of RTK inhibition. However, only a small fraction of the polyphenolic structural universe has been evaluated. Along these lines, we have developed an in vitro route to the synthesis and subsequent screening of unnatural polyketide analogues with N-acetylcysteamine (SNAc) starter substrates and malonyl-coenzyme A (CoA) and methylmalonyl-CoA as extender substrates. The resulting polyketide analogues possessed a similar structural polyketide backbone (aromatic-2-pyrone) with variable side chains. Screening chalcone synthase (CHS) reaction products against BT-474 cells resulted in identification of several trifluoromethylcinnamoyl-based polyketides that showed strong suppression of the HER2-associated PI3K/AKT signaling pathway, yet did not inhibit the growth of nontransformed MCF-10A breast cells (IC(50)>100 microM). Specifically, 4-trifluoromethylcinnamoyl pyrone (compound 2 e) was highly potent (IC(50)<200 nM) among the test compounds toward proliferation of several breast cancer cell lines. This breadth of activity likely stems from the ability of compound 2 e to inhibit the phosphorylation of HER1, HER2, and HER3. Therefore, these polyketide analogues might prove to be useful drug candidates for potential breast cancer therapy.
Soybean peroxidase (SBP) was used to catalyze the polymerization of phenols in room-temperature ionic liquids (RTILs). Phenolic polymers with number average molecular weights ranging from 1200 to 4100 D were obtained depending on the composition of the reaction medium and the nature of the phenol. Specifically, SBP was highly active in methylimidazolium-containing RTILs, including 1-butyl-3-methylimidazolium tetrafluoroborate (BMIM(BF(4))), and 1-butyl-3-methylpyridinium tetrafluoroborate (BMPy(BF(4))) with the ionic liquid content as high as 90% (v/v); the balance being aqueous buffer. Gel permeation chromatography and MALDI-TOF analysis indicated that higher molecular weight polymers can be synthesized in the presence of higher RTIL concentrations, with selective control over polymer size achieved by varying the RTIL concentration. The resulting polyphenols exhibited high thermostability and possessed thermosetting properties.
Polyketide analogues are produced via in vitro reconstruction of a precursor-directed polyketide biosynthetic pathway. Malonyl-CoA synthetase (MCS) was used in conjunction with chalcone synthase (CHS), thereby allowing efficient use of synthetic starter molecules and malonate as extender. Coenzyme-A was recycled up to 50 times. The use of a simple immobilization procedure resulted in up to a 30-fold higher yield of pyrone CHS products than that obtained with the free enzyme solutions.
Using digital microfluidics, recombinant enzyme technology, and magnetic nanoparticles, we have created a functional prototype of an artificial Golgi organelle. Analogous to the natural Golgi, which is responsible for the enzymatic modification of glycosaminoglycans immobilized on proteins, this artificial Golgi enzymatically modifies glycosaminoglycans, specifically heparan sulfate (HS) chains immobilized onto magnetic nanoparticles. Sulfo groups were transferred from adenosine 3-phosphate 5-phosphosulfate to the 3-hydroxyl group of the D-glucosamine residue in an immobilized HS chain using D-glucosaminyl 3-O-sulfotransferase. After modification, the nanoparticles with immobilized HS exhibited increased affinity for fluorescently labeled antithrombin III as detected by confocal microscopy. Since the biosynthesis of HS involves an array of specialized glycosyl transferases, epimerase, and sulfotransferases, this approach should mimic the synthesis of HS in vivo. Furthermore, our method demonstrates the feasibility of investigating the effects of multienzyme systems on the structure of final glycan products for HS-based glycomic studies.
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