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Molecules, Volume 26, Issue 19 (October-1 2021) – 365 articles

Cover Story (view full-size image): A current goal is utilizing intermittent electricity from renewable sources (wind, solar, etc.) to decompose water molecules (H2O) into green hydrogen (H2), known as the “fuel of future” and pure oxygen (O2), and use them in a reverse process to electrify our planet without any carbon dioxide pollution : 2H2O = 2H2 + O2. This idea, though innovative, is unfortunately hampered by the challenge of slow kinetics and selectivity because continuous seawater electrolysis (due to limited access to freshwater) may trigger chloride ion oxidation into undesired species of chlorine and/or hypochlorite. Scientists are looking for a cost-effective solution to this. Our present work reports a new engineering tactic to obtain heterogeneous and multifunctional electrocatalysts that achieve this goal. View this paper
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Article
Multimode Robust Lasing in a Dye-Doped Polymer Layer Embedded in a Wedge-Shaped Cholesteric
Molecules 2021, 26(19), 6089; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/molecules26196089 - 08 Oct 2021
Viewed by 340
Abstract
Cholesteric liquid crystals (CLCs) with induced defects are one of the most prominent materials to realize compact, low-threshold and tunable coherent light sources. In this context, the investigation of optical properties of induced defect modes in such CLCs is of great interest. In [...] Read more.
Cholesteric liquid crystals (CLCs) with induced defects are one of the most prominent materials to realize compact, low-threshold and tunable coherent light sources. In this context, the investigation of optical properties of induced defect modes in such CLCs is of great interest. In particular, many studies have been devoted to the spectral control of the defect modes depending on their thickness, optical properties, distribution along the CLC, etc. In this paper, we investigate the lasing possibilities of a dye-doped polymer layer embedded in a wedge-shaped CLC. We show that multimode laser generation is possible due to the observed multiple defect modes in the PBG that enlarges the application range of the system. Furthermore, our simulations based on a Berreman 4 × 4 matrix approach for a wide range of CLC thickness show both periodic and continuous generation of defect modes along particular spectral lines inside the PBG. Such a robust spectral behaviour of induced defect modes is unique, and, to our knowledge, is not observed in similar CLC-based structures. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Liquid Crystals 2020)
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Review
Proceedings of Chemistry, Pharmacology, Pharmacokinetics and Synthesis of Biflavonoids
Molecules 2021, 26(19), 6088; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/molecules26196088 - 08 Oct 2021
Viewed by 271
Abstract
Biflavonoids, composed of two monoflavonoid residues, occur naturally in angiosperms, bryophytes, ferns, and gymnosperms. More than 592 biflavonoids have been structurally elucidated, and they can be classified into two groups of C-C and C-linear fragments-C, based on whether the linker between the two [...] Read more.
Biflavonoids, composed of two monoflavonoid residues, occur naturally in angiosperms, bryophytes, ferns, and gymnosperms. More than 592 biflavonoids have been structurally elucidated, and they can be classified into two groups of C-C and C-linear fragments-C, based on whether the linker between the two residues contains an atom. As the linker can be established on two arbitrary rings from different residues, the C-C type contains various subtypes, as does the C-linear fragment-C type. Biflavonoids have a wide range of pharmacological activities, including anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, antibacterial, antiviral, antidiabetic, antitumor, and cytotoxic properties, and they can be applied in Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease. This review mainly summarizes the distribution and chemistry of biflavonoids; additionally, their bioactivities, pharmacokinetics, and synthesis are discussed. Full article
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Article
Is Phytomelatonin Complex Better Than Synthetic Melatonin? The Assessment of the Antiradical and Anti-Inflammatory Properties
Molecules 2021, 26(19), 6087; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/molecules26196087 - 08 Oct 2021
Viewed by 217
Abstract
This work aims to assess the recently established anti-inflammatory and antioxidant potential of melatonin of plant origin extracted from the plant matrix as a phytomelatonin complex (PHT-MLT), and compare its activity with synthetic melatonin (SNT-MLT) when used on its own or with vitamin [...] Read more.
This work aims to assess the recently established anti-inflammatory and antioxidant potential of melatonin of plant origin extracted from the plant matrix as a phytomelatonin complex (PHT-MLT), and compare its activity with synthetic melatonin (SNT-MLT) when used on its own or with vitamin C. For this purpose, a COX-2 enzyme inhibitory activity test, an antiradical activity in vitro and on cell lines assays, was performed on both PHT-MLT and SNT-MLT products. COX-2 inhibitory activity of PHT-MLT was found to be ca. 6.5 times stronger than that of SNT-MLT (43.3% and 6.7% enzyme inhibition, equivalent to the activity of acetylsalicylic acid in conc. 30.3 ± 0.2 and 12.0 ± 0.3 mg/mL, respectively). Higher antiradical potential and COX-2 inhibitory properties of PHT-MLT could be explained by the presence of additional naturally occurring constituents in alfalfa, chlorella, and rice, which were clearly visible on the HPLC-ESI-QTOF-MS fingerprint. The antiradical properties of PHT-MLT determined in the DPPH test (IC50 of 21.6 ± 1 mg of powder/mL) were found to originate from the presence of other metabolites in the 50% EtOH extract while SNT-MLT was found to be inactive under the applied testing conditions. However, the antioxidant studies on HaCaT keratinocytes stimulated with H2O2 revealed a noticeable activity in all samples. The presence of PHT-MLT (12.5, 25 and 50 µg/mL) and vitamin C (12.5, 25 and 50 µg/mL) in the H2O2-pretreated HaCaT keratinocytes protected the cells from generating reactive oxygen species. This observation confirms that MLT-containing samples affect the intracellular production of enzymes and neutralize the free radicals. Presented results indicated that MLT-containing products in combination with Vitamin C dosage are worth to be considered as a preventive alternative in the therapy of various diseases in the etiopathogenesis, of which radical and inflammatory mechanisms play an important role. Full article
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Article
Cudraxanthone D Ameliorates Psoriasis-like Skin Inflammation in an Imiquimod-Induced Mouse Model via Inhibiting the Inflammatory Signaling Pathways
Molecules 2021, 26(19), 6086; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/molecules26196086 - 08 Oct 2021
Viewed by 214
Abstract
Psoriasis is a chronic inflammatory skin disease accompanied by excessive keratinocyte proliferation. Corticosteroids, vitamin D3 analogs, and calcineurin inhibitors, which are used to treat psoriasis, have diverse adverse effects, whereas natural products are popular due to their high efficiency and relatively low toxicity. [...] Read more.
Psoriasis is a chronic inflammatory skin disease accompanied by excessive keratinocyte proliferation. Corticosteroids, vitamin D3 analogs, and calcineurin inhibitors, which are used to treat psoriasis, have diverse adverse effects, whereas natural products are popular due to their high efficiency and relatively low toxicity. The roots of the Cudrania tricuspidata (C. tricuspidata) are known to have diverse pharmacological effects, among which the anti-inflammatory effect is reported as a potential therapeutic agent in skin cells. Nevertheless, its effectiveness against skin diseases, especially psoriasis, is not fully elucidated. Here, we investigated the effect of cudraxanthone D (CD), extracted from the roots the C. tricuspidata Bureau, on psoriasis using an imiquimod (IMQ)-induced mouse model and the tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-α/interferon (IFN)-γ-activated keratinocytes. IMQ was topically applied to the back skin of C57BL/6 mice for seven consecutive days, and the mice were orally administered with CD. This resulted in reduced psoriatic characteristics, such as the skin thickness and Psoriasis Area Severity Index score, and the infiltration of neutrophils in IMQ-induced skin. CD inhibited the serum levels of TNF-α, immunoglobulin G2a, and myeloperoxidase, and the expression of Th1/Th17 cells in splenocytes. In TNF-α/IFN-γ-activated keratinocytes, CD reduced the expressions of CCL17, IL-1β, IL-6, and IL-8 by inhibiting the phosphorylation of STAT1 and the nuclear translocation of NF-kB. Taken together, these results suggest that CD could be a potential drug candidate for the treatment of psoriasis. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biological Activities of Traditional Medicinal Plants)
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Article
Development of Amino Acids Functionalized SBA-15 for the Improvement of Protein Adsorption
Molecules 2021, 26(19), 6085; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/molecules26196085 - 08 Oct 2021
Viewed by 203
Abstract
Ordered mesoporous materials and their modification with multiple functional groups are of wide scientific interest for many applications involving interaction with biological systems and biomolecules (e.g., catalysis, separation, sensor design, nano-science or drug delivery). In particular, the immobilization of enzymes onto solid supports [...] Read more.
Ordered mesoporous materials and their modification with multiple functional groups are of wide scientific interest for many applications involving interaction with biological systems and biomolecules (e.g., catalysis, separation, sensor design, nano-science or drug delivery). In particular, the immobilization of enzymes onto solid supports is highly attractive for industry and synthetic chemistry, as it allows the development of stable and cheap biocatalysts. In this context, we developed novel silylated amino acid derivatives (Si-AA-NH2) that have been immobilized onto SBA-15 materials in biocompatible conditions avoiding the use of toxic catalyst, solvents or reagents. The resulting amino acid-functionalized materials ([email protected]) were characterized by XRD, TGA, EA, Zeta potential, nitrogen sorption and FT-IR. Differences of the physical properties (e.g., charges) were observed while the structural ones remained unchanged. The adsorption of the enzyme lysozyme (Lyz) onto the resulting functionalized [email protected] materials was evaluated at different pHs. The presence of different functional groups compared with bare SBA-15 showed better adsorption results, for example, 79.6 nmol of Lyz adsorbed per m2 of [email protected] compared with the 44.9 nmol/m2 of the bare SBA-15. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue 25th Anniversary of Molecules—Recent Advances in Applied Chemistry)
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Article
Antioxidant and Anti-Inflammatory Effects of Peganum harmala Extracts: An In Vitro and In Vivo Study
Molecules 2021, 26(19), 6084; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/molecules26196084 - 08 Oct 2021
Viewed by 274
Abstract
Peganum harmala (P. harmala) belongs to the family Zygophyllaceae, and is utilized in the traditional medicinal systems of Pakistan, China, Morocco, Algeria, and Spain to treat several chronic health disorders. The aim of the present study was to identify the [...] Read more.
Peganum harmala (P. harmala) belongs to the family Zygophyllaceae, and is utilized in the traditional medicinal systems of Pakistan, China, Morocco, Algeria, and Spain to treat several chronic health disorders. The aim of the present study was to identify the chemical constituents and to evaluate the antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and toxicity effects of P. harmala extracts both in vitro and in vivo. Sequential crude extracts including 100% dichloromethane, 100% methanol, and 70% aqueous methanol were obtained and their antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects evaluated both in vitro and in vivo. The anti-inflammatory effect of the extract was investigated using the carrageenan-induced paw edema method in mice, whereas the toxicity of the most active extract was evaluated using an acute and subacute toxicity rat model. In addition, we have used the bioassay-guided approach to obtain potent fractions, using solvent–solvent partitioning and reversed phase high performance liquid chromatography from active crude extracts; identification and quantification of compounds from the active fractions was achieved using electrospray ionization mass spectrometry and high performance liquid chromatography techniques. Results revealed that the 100% methanol extract of P. harmala exhibits significant in vitro antioxidant activity in DPPH assay with an IC50 of 49 µg/mL as compared to the standard quercetin with an IC50 of 25.4 µg/mL. The same extract exhibited 63.0% inhibition against serum albumin denaturation as compared to 97% inhibition by the standard diclofenac sodium in an in vitro anti-inflammatory assay, and in vivo anti-inflammatory against carrageenan-induced paw edema (75.14% inhibition) as compared to 86.1% inhibition caused by the standard indomethacin. Furthermore, this extract was not toxic during a 14 day trial of acute toxicity when given at a dose of 3 g/kg, indicating that the lethal dose (LD50) of P. harmala methanol extract was greater than 3 g/kg. P. harmala methanolic fraction 2 obtained using bioassay-guided fractionation showed the presence of quinic acid, peganine, harmol, harmaline, and harmine, confirmed by electrospray ionization mass spectrometry and quantified using external standards on high performance liquid chromatography. Taken all together, the current investigation further confirms the antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and safety aspects of P. harmala, which justifies its use in folk medicine. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biological and Pharmacological Activity of Plant Natural Compounds II)
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Review
Molecular Design in Practice: A Review of Selected Projects in a French Research Institute That Illustrates the Link between Chemical Biology and Medicinal Chemistry
Molecules 2021, 26(19), 6083; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/molecules26196083 - 08 Oct 2021
Viewed by 224
Abstract
Chemical biology and drug discovery are two scientific activities that pursue different goals but complement each other. The former is an interventional science that aims at understanding living systems through the modulation of its molecular components with compounds designed for this purpose. The [...] Read more.
Chemical biology and drug discovery are two scientific activities that pursue different goals but complement each other. The former is an interventional science that aims at understanding living systems through the modulation of its molecular components with compounds designed for this purpose. The latter is the art of designing drug candidates, i.e., molecules that act on selected molecular components of human beings and display, as a candidate treatment, the best reachable risk benefit ratio. In chemical biology, the compound is the means to understand biology, whereas in drug discovery, the compound is the goal. The toolbox they share includes biological and chemical analytic technologies, cell and whole-body imaging, and exploring the chemical space through state-of-the-art design and synthesis tools. In this article, we examine several tools shared by drug discovery and chemical biology through selected examples taken from research projects conducted in our institute in the last decade. These examples illustrate the design of chemical probes and tools to identify and validate new targets, to quantify target engagement in vitro and in vivo, to discover hits and to optimize pharmacokinetic properties with the control of compound concentration both spatially and temporally in the various biophases of a biological system. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Chemical Biology Research in France)
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Article
Study on Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Logging T2 Spectrum Shape Correction of Sandstone Reservoirs in Oil-Based Mud Wells
Molecules 2021, 26(19), 6082; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/molecules26196082 - 08 Oct 2021
Viewed by 209
Abstract
The oil-based mud filtrate will invade the formation under the overbalanced pressure during drilling operations. As a result, alterations will occur to the nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) response characteristics of the original formation, causing the relaxation time of the NMR T2 spectrum [...] Read more.
The oil-based mud filtrate will invade the formation under the overbalanced pressure during drilling operations. As a result, alterations will occur to the nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) response characteristics of the original formation, causing the relaxation time of the NMR T2 spectrum of the free fluid part to move towards a slower relaxation time. Consequently, the subsequent interpretation and petrophysical evaluation will be heavily impacted. Therefore, the actual measured T2 spectrum needs to be corrected for invasion. For this reason, considering the low-porosity and low-permeability of sandstone gas formations in the East China Sea as the research object, a new method to correct the incorrect shape of the NMR logging T2 spectrum was proposed in three main steps. First, the differences in the morphology of the NMR logging T2 spectrum between oil-based mud wells and water-based mud wells in adjacent wells were analyzed based on the NMR relaxation mechanism. Second, rocks were divided into four categories according to the pore structure, and the NMR logging T2 spectrum was extracted using the multidimensional matrix method to establish the T2 spectrum of water-based mud wells and oil-based mud wells. Finally, the correctness of the method was verified by two T2 spectrum correction examples of oil-based mud wells in the study area. The results show that the corrected NMR T2 spectrum eliminates the influence of oil-based mud filtrate and improves the accuracy of NMR logging for calculating permeability. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Practical Applications of NMR to Solve Real-World Problems)
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Article
The Antimicrobial Activities of Silver Nanoparticles from Aqueous Extract of Grape Seeds against Pathogenic Bacteria and Fungi
Molecules 2021, 26(19), 6081; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/molecules26196081 - 08 Oct 2021
Viewed by 245
Abstract
Grape seed extract (GSE) is a natural source of polyphenolic compounds and secondary metabolites, which have been tested for their possible antimicrobial activities. In the current study, we tested the antibacterial and antifungal activities of aqueous GSE and the biosynthesized silver nanoparticles loaded [...] Read more.
Grape seed extract (GSE) is a natural source of polyphenolic compounds and secondary metabolites, which have been tested for their possible antimicrobial activities. In the current study, we tested the antibacterial and antifungal activities of aqueous GSE and the biosynthesized silver nanoparticles loaded with GSE (GSE-AgNPs) against different pathogens. The biosynthesized GSE-AgNPs were assessed by UV spectroscopy, dynamic light scattering (DLS), field emission scanning electron microscopy (FE-SEM), transmission electron microscopy (TEM), Fourier-transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR), and gas chromatography/mass spectrometry (GC/MS). The antimicrobial activities were assessed against different bacterial and fungal species. DLS analysis showed that GSE-AgNPs had a Z-Average of 91.89 nm while UV spectroscopy showed that GSE-AgNPs had the highest absorbance at a wavelength of ~415 nm. FTIR analysis revealed that both of GSE and GSE-AgNPs consisted of different functional groups, such as hydroxyl, alkenes, alkyne, and aromatic rings. Both FE-SEM and TEM showed that GSE-AgNPs had larger sizes and rough surfaces than GSE and AgNO3. The results showed significant antimicrobial activities of GSE-AgNPs against all tested species, unlike GSE, which had weaker and limited effects. More studies are needed to investigate the other antimicrobial activities of GSE. Full article
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Review
Analytical Ultracentrifugation as a Matrix-Free Probe for the Study of Kinase Related Cellular and Bacterial Membrane Proteins and Glycans
Molecules 2021, 26(19), 6080; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/molecules26196080 - 08 Oct 2021
Viewed by 240
Abstract
Analytical ultracentrifugation is a versatile approach for analysing the molecular mass, molecular integrity (degradation/aggregation), oligomeric state and association/dissociation constants for self-association, and assay of ligand binding of kinase related membrane proteins and glycans. It has the great property of being matrix free—providing separation [...] Read more.
Analytical ultracentrifugation is a versatile approach for analysing the molecular mass, molecular integrity (degradation/aggregation), oligomeric state and association/dissociation constants for self-association, and assay of ligand binding of kinase related membrane proteins and glycans. It has the great property of being matrix free—providing separation and analysis of macromolecular species without the need of a separation matrix or membrane or immobilisation onto a surface. This short review—designed for the non-hydrodynamic expert—examines the potential of modern sedimentation velocity and sedimentation equilibrium and the challenges posed for these molecules particularly those which have significant cytoplasmic or extracellular domains in addition to the transmembrane region. These different regions can generate different optimal requirements in terms of choice of the appropriate solvent (aqueous/detergent). We compare how analytical ultracentrifugation has contributed to our understanding of two kinase related cellular or bacterial protein/glycan systems (i) the membrane erythrocyte band 3 protein system—studied in aqueous and detergent based solvent systems—and (ii) what it has contributed so far to our understanding of the enterococcal VanS, the glycan ligand vancomycin and interactions of vancomycin with mucins from the gastrointestinal tract. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Bioorganic Chemistry)
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Article
In Vitro Analyses of Spinach-Derived Opioid Peptides, Rubiscolins: Receptor Selectivity and Intracellular Activities through G Protein- and β-Arrestin-Mediated Pathways
Molecules 2021, 26(19), 6079; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/molecules26196079 - 08 Oct 2021
Viewed by 250
Abstract
Activated opioid receptors transmit internal signals through two major pathways: the G-protein-mediated pathway, which exerts analgesia, and the β-arrestin-mediated pathway, which leads to unfavorable side effects. Hence, G-protein-biased opioid agonists are preferable as opioid analgesics. Rubiscolins, the spinach-derived naturally occurring opioid peptides, are [...] Read more.
Activated opioid receptors transmit internal signals through two major pathways: the G-protein-mediated pathway, which exerts analgesia, and the β-arrestin-mediated pathway, which leads to unfavorable side effects. Hence, G-protein-biased opioid agonists are preferable as opioid analgesics. Rubiscolins, the spinach-derived naturally occurring opioid peptides, are selective δ opioid receptor agonists, and their p.o. administration exhibits antinociceptive effects. Although the potency and effect of rubiscolins as G-protein-biased molecules are partially confirmed, their in vitro profiles remain unclear. We, therefore, evaluated the properties of rubiscolins, in detail, through several analyses, including the CellKeyTM assay, cADDis® cAMP assay, and PathHunter® β-arrestin recruitment assay, using cells stably expressing µ, δ, κ, or µ/δ heteromer opioid receptors. In the CellKeyTM assay, rubiscolins showed selective agonistic effects for δ opioid receptor and little agonistic or antagonistic effects for µ and κ opioid receptors. Furthermore, rubiscolins were found to be G-protein-biased δ opioid receptor agonists based on the results obtained in cADDis® cAMP and PathHunter® β-arrestin recruitment assays. Finally, we found, for the first time, that they are also partially agonistic for the µ/δ dimers. In conclusion, rubiscolins could serve as attractive seeds, as δ opioid receptor-specific agonists, for the development of novel opioid analgesics with reduced side effects. Full article
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Review
Revisiting Therapeutic Strategies for H. pylori Treatment in the Context of Antibiotic Resistance: Focus on Alternative and Complementary Therapies
Molecules 2021, 26(19), 6078; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/molecules26196078 - 08 Oct 2021
Viewed by 259
Abstract
The prevalence of Helicobacter pylori infection remains significant worldwide and it depends on many factors: gender, age, socio-economic status, geographic area, diet, and lifestyle. All successful infectious diseases treatments use antibiotic-susceptibility testing, but this strategy is not currently practical for H. pylori and [...] Read more.
The prevalence of Helicobacter pylori infection remains significant worldwide and it depends on many factors: gender, age, socio-economic status, geographic area, diet, and lifestyle. All successful infectious diseases treatments use antibiotic-susceptibility testing, but this strategy is not currently practical for H. pylori and the usual cure rates of H. pylori are lower than other bacterial infections. Actually, there is no treatment that ensures complete eradication of this pathogen. In the context of an alarming increase in resistance to antibiotics (especially to clarithromycin and metronidazole), alternative and complementary options and strategies are taken into consideration. As the success of antibacterial therapy depends not only on the susceptibility to given drugs, but also on the specific doses, formulations, use of adjuvants, treatment duration, and reinfection rates, this review discusses the current therapies for H. pylori treatment along with their advantages and limitations. As an alternative option, this work offers an extensively referenced approach on natural medicines against H. pylori, including the significance of nanotechnology in developing new strategies for treatment of H. pylori infection. Full article
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Review
In Vitro Studies on Therapeutic Effects of Cannabidiol in Neural Cells: Neurons, Glia, and Neural Stem Cells
Molecules 2021, 26(19), 6077; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/molecules26196077 - 08 Oct 2021
Viewed by 247
Abstract
(‒)-Cannabidiol (CBD) is one of the major phytocannabinoids extracted from the Cannabis genus. Its non-psychoactiveness and therapeutic potential, partly along with some anecdotal—if not scientific or clinical—evidence on the prevention and treatment of neurological diseases, have led researchers to investigate the biochemical actions [...] Read more.
(‒)-Cannabidiol (CBD) is one of the major phytocannabinoids extracted from the Cannabis genus. Its non-psychoactiveness and therapeutic potential, partly along with some anecdotal—if not scientific or clinical—evidence on the prevention and treatment of neurological diseases, have led researchers to investigate the biochemical actions of CBD on neural cells. This review summarizes the previously reported mechanistic studies of the CBD actions on primary neural cells at the in vitro cell-culture level. The neural cells are classified into neurons, microglia, astrocytes, oligodendrocytes, and neural stem cells, and the CBD effects on each cell type are described. After brief introduction on CBD and in vitro studies of CBD actions on neural cells, the neuroprotective capability of CBD on primary neurons with the suggested operating actions is discussed, followed by the reported CBD actions on glia and the CBD-induced regeneration from neural stem cells. A summary section gives a general overview of the biochemical actions of CBD on neural cells, with a future perspective. This review will provide a basic and fundamental, but crucial, insight on the mechanistic understanding of CBD actions on neural cells in the brain, at the molecular level, and the therapeutic potential of CBD in the prevention and treatment of neurological diseases, although to date, there seem to have been relatively limited research activities and reports on the cell culture-level, in vitro studies of CBD effects on primary neural cells. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Chemistry of Essential Oils)
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Review
Probiotics Regulate Gut Microbiota: An Effective Method to Improve Immunity
Molecules 2021, 26(19), 6076; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/molecules26196076 - 08 Oct 2021
Viewed by 303
Abstract
Probiotics are beneficial active microorganisms that colonize the human intestines and change the composition of the flora in particular parts of the host. Recently, the use of probiotics to regulate intestinal flora to improve host immunity has received widespread attention. Recent evidence has [...] Read more.
Probiotics are beneficial active microorganisms that colonize the human intestines and change the composition of the flora in particular parts of the host. Recently, the use of probiotics to regulate intestinal flora to improve host immunity has received widespread attention. Recent evidence has shown that probiotics play significant roles in gut microbiota composition, which can inhibit the colonization of pathogenic bacteria in the intestine, help the host build a healthy intestinal mucosa protective layer, and enhance the host immune system. Based on the close relationship between the gut microbiota and human immunity, it has become an extremely effective way to improve human immunity by regulating the gut microbiome with probiotics. In this review, we discussed the influence of probiotics on the gut microbiota and human immunity, and the relationship between immunity, probiotics, gut microbiota, and life quality. We further emphasized the regulation of gut microflora through probiotics, thereby enhancing human immunity and improving people’s lives. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Natural Products Chemistry)
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Review
Recent Advances and Applications of Plant-Based Bioactive Saponins in Colloidal Multiphase Food Systems
Molecules 2021, 26(19), 6075; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/molecules26196075 - 08 Oct 2021
Viewed by 239
Abstract
The naturally occurring saponins exhibit remarkable interfacial activity and also possess many biological activities linking to human health benefits, which make them particularly attractive as bifunctional building blocks for formulation of colloidal multiphase food systems. This review focuses on two commonly used food-grade [...] Read more.
The naturally occurring saponins exhibit remarkable interfacial activity and also possess many biological activities linking to human health benefits, which make them particularly attractive as bifunctional building blocks for formulation of colloidal multiphase food systems. This review focuses on two commonly used food-grade saponins, Quillaja saponins (QS) and glycyrrhizic acid (GA), with the aim of clarifying the relationship between the structural features of saponin molecules and their subsequent self-assembly and interfacial properties. The recent applications of these two saponins in various colloidal multiphase systems, including liquid emulsions, gel emulsions, aqueous foams and complex emulsion foams, are then discussed. A particular emphasis is on the unique use of GA and GA nanofibrils as sole stabilizers for fabricating various multiphase food systems with many advanced qualities including simplicity, ultrastability, stimulability, structural viscoelasticity and processability. These natural saponin and saponin-based colloids are expected to be used as sustainable, plant-based ingredients for designing future foods, cosmetics and pharmaceuticals. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Saponin-Rich Plant Extracts: Properties and Application)
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Article
Aspergillus oryzae-Fermented Wheat Peptone Enhances the Potential of Proliferation and Hydration of Human Keratinocytes through Activation of p44/42 MAPK
Molecules 2021, 26(19), 6074; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/molecules26196074 - 08 Oct 2021
Viewed by 235
Abstract
Identifying materials contributing to skin hydration, essential for normal skin homeostasis, has recently gained increased research interest. In this study, we investigated the potential benefits and mechanisms of action of Aspergillus oryzae-fermented wheat peptone (AFWP) on the proliferation and hydration of human [...] Read more.
Identifying materials contributing to skin hydration, essential for normal skin homeostasis, has recently gained increased research interest. In this study, we investigated the potential benefits and mechanisms of action of Aspergillus oryzae-fermented wheat peptone (AFWP) on the proliferation and hydration of human skin keratinocytes, through in vitro experiments using HaCaT cell lines. The findings revealed that compared to unfermented wheat peptone, AFWP exhibited an improved amino acid composition, significantly (p < 0.05) higher DPPH scavenging capability and cell proliferation activity, and reduced lipopolysaccharide-induced NO production in RAW 264.7 cells. Furthermore, we separated AFWP into eleven fractions, each ≤2 kDa; of these, fraction 4 (AFW4) demonstrated the highest efficacy in the cell proliferation assay and was found to be the key component responsible for the cell proliferation potential and antioxidant properties of AFWP. Additionally, AFW4 increased the expression of genes encoding natural moisturizing factors, including filaggrin, transglutaminase-1, and hyaluronic acid synthase 1–3. Furthermore, AFW4 activated p44/42 MAPK, but not JNK and p38 MAPK, whereas PD98059, a p44/42 MAPK inhibitor, attenuated the beneficial effects of AFW4 on the skin, suggesting that the effects of AFW4 are mediated via p44/42 MAPK activation. Finally, in clinical studies, AFW4 treatment resulted in increased skin hydration and reduced trans-epidermal water loss compared with a placebo group. Collectively, these data provide evidence that AFW4 could be used as a potential therapeutic agent to improve skin barrier damage induced by external stresses. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Natural Products for Cosmetic Applications)
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Article
Cissus subtetragona Planch. Ameliorates Inflammatory Responses in LPS-induced Macrophages, HCl/EtOH-induced Gastritis, and LPS-induced Lung Injury via Attenuation of Src and TAK1
Molecules 2021, 26(19), 6073; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/molecules26196073 - 08 Oct 2021
Viewed by 301
Abstract
Several Cissus species have been used and reported to possess medicinal benefits. However, the anti-inflammatory mechanisms of Cissus subtetragona have not been described. In this study, we examined the potential anti-inflammatory effects of C. subtetragona ethanol extract (Cs-EE) in vitro and in vivo, [...] Read more.
Several Cissus species have been used and reported to possess medicinal benefits. However, the anti-inflammatory mechanisms of Cissus subtetragona have not been described. In this study, we examined the potential anti-inflammatory effects of C. subtetragona ethanol extract (Cs-EE) in vitro and in vivo, and investigated its molecular mechanism as well as its flavonoid content. Lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-induced macrophage-like RAW264.7 cells and primary macrophages as well as LPS-induced acute lung injury (ALI) and HCl/EtOH-induced acute gastritis mouse models were utilized. Luciferase assays, immunoblotting analyses, overexpression strategies, and cellular thermal shift assay (CETSA) were performed to identify the molecular mechanisms and targets of Cs-EE. Cs-EE concentration-dependently reduced the secretion of NO and PGE2, inhibited the expression of inflammation-related cytokines in LPS-induced RAW264.7 cells, and decreased NF-κB- and AP-1-luciferase activity. Subsequently, we determined that Cs-EE decreased the phosphorylation events of NF-κB and AP-1 pathways. Cs-EE treatment also significantly ameliorated the inflammatory symptoms of HCl/EtOH-induced acute gastritis and LPS-induced ALI mouse models. Overexpression of HA-Src and HA-TAK1 along with CETSA experiments validated that inhibited inflammatory responses are the outcome of attenuation of Src and TAK1 activation. Taken together, these findings suggest that Cs-EE could be utilized as an anti-inflammatory remedy especially targeting against gastritis and acute lung injury by attenuating the activities of Src and TAK1. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biological Activity of Plant Compounds and Extracts)
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Article
A Galactosidase-Activatable Fluorescent Probe for Detection of Bacteria Based on BODIPY
Molecules 2021, 26(19), 6072; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/molecules26196072 - 08 Oct 2021
Viewed by 273
Abstract
Pathogenic E. coli infection is one of the most widespread foodborne diseases, so the development of sensitive, reliable and easy operating detection tests is a key issue for food safety. Identifying bacteria with a fluorescent medium is more sensitive and faster than using [...] Read more.
Pathogenic E. coli infection is one of the most widespread foodborne diseases, so the development of sensitive, reliable and easy operating detection tests is a key issue for food safety. Identifying bacteria with a fluorescent medium is more sensitive and faster than using chromogenic media. This study designed and synthesized a β-galactosidase-activatable fluorescent probe BOD-Gal for the sensitive detection of E. coli. It employed a biocompatible and photostable 4,4-difluoro-3a,4a-diaza-s-indancene (BODIPY) as the fluorophore to form a β-O-glycosidic bond with galactose, allowing the BOD-Gal to show significant on-off fluorescent signals for in vitro and in vivo bacterial detection. This work shows the potential for the use of a BODIPY based enzyme substrate for pathogen detection. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Women in Bioorganic Chemistry)
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Article
Awn Stem-Derived High-Activity Free-Metal Porous Carbon for Oxidation Reduction
Molecules 2021, 26(19), 6071; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/molecules26196071 - 08 Oct 2021
Viewed by 226
Abstract
Designing oxygen reduction reaction (ORR) catalysts with excellent performance has far-reaching significance. In this work, a high-activity biomass free-metal carbon catalyst with N and S co-doped was successfully prepared by using the KOH activated awn stem powder as the precursor with organic matter [...] Read more.
Designing oxygen reduction reaction (ORR) catalysts with excellent performance has far-reaching significance. In this work, a high-activity biomass free-metal carbon catalyst with N and S co-doped was successfully prepared by using the KOH activated awn stem powder as the precursor with organic matter pore-forming doping technology, which is named TAAS. The content of pyridine nitrogen groups accounts for up to 36% of the total nitrogen content, and a rich pore structure is formed on the surface and inside, which are considered as the potential active centers of ORR. The results show that the specific surface area of TAAS reaches 191.04 m2/g, which effectively increases the active sites of the catalyst, and the initial potential and half slope potential are as high as 0.90 and 0.76 V vs. RHE, respectively. This study provides a low-cost, environmentally friendly and feasible strategy for the conversion of low-value agricultural and forestry wastes into high value-added products to promote sustainable development of energy and the environment. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Novel Carbon Nanomaterials: Preparation and Photoelectric Properties)
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Correction
Correction: Khan et al. Anticancer Function and ROS-Mediated Multi-Targeting Anticancer Mechanisms of Copper (II) 2-hydroxy-1-naphthaldehyde Complexes. Molecules 2019, 24, 2544
Molecules 2021, 26(19), 6070; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/molecules26196070 - 08 Oct 2021
Viewed by 135
Abstract
Due to the previous incorrect characterization of compound C1, the authors wish to make the following corrections to this paper [...] Full article
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Article
Comparing Dimerization Free Energies and Binding Modes of Small Aromatic Molecules with Different Force Fields
Molecules 2021, 26(19), 6069; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/molecules26196069 - 07 Oct 2021
Viewed by 386
Abstract
Dimerization free energies are fundamental quantities that describe the strength of interaction of different molecules. Obtaining accurate experimental values for small molecules and disentangling the conformations that contribute most to the binding can be extremely difficult, due to the size of the systems [...] Read more.
Dimerization free energies are fundamental quantities that describe the strength of interaction of different molecules. Obtaining accurate experimental values for small molecules and disentangling the conformations that contribute most to the binding can be extremely difficult, due to the size of the systems and the small energy differences. In many cases, one has to resort to computational methods to calculate such properties. In this work, we used molecular dynamics simulations in conjunction with metadynamics to calculate the free energy of dimerization of small aromatic rings, and compared three models from popular online servers for atomistic force fields, namely G54a7, CHARMM36 and OPLS. We show that, regardless of the force field, the profiles for the dimerization free energy of these compounds are very similar. However, significant care needs to be taken when studying larger molecules, since the deviations from the trends increase with the size of the molecules, resulting in force field dependent preferred stacking modes; for example, in the cases of pyrene and tetracene. Our results provide a useful background study for using topology builders to model systems which rely on stacking of aromatic moieties, and are relevant in areas ranging from drug design to supramolecular assembly. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Molecular Dynamics Simulations: Advances and Applications)
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Article
Natural Polyphenols Inhibit the Dimerization of the SARS-CoV-2 Main Protease: The Case of Fortunellin and Its Structural Analogs
Molecules 2021, 26(19), 6068; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/molecules26196068 - 07 Oct 2021
Viewed by 362
Abstract
3CL-Pro is the SARS-CoV-2 main protease (MPro). It acts as a homodimer to cleave the large polyprotein 1ab transcript into proteins that are necessary for viral growth and replication. 3CL-Pro has been one of the most studied SARS-CoV-2 proteins and a main target [...] Read more.
3CL-Pro is the SARS-CoV-2 main protease (MPro). It acts as a homodimer to cleave the large polyprotein 1ab transcript into proteins that are necessary for viral growth and replication. 3CL-Pro has been one of the most studied SARS-CoV-2 proteins and a main target of therapeutics. A number of drug candidates have been reported, including natural products. Here, we employ elaborate computational methods to explore the dimerization of the 3CL-Pro protein, and we formulate a computational context to identify potential inhibitors of this process. We report that fortunellin (acacetin 7-O-neohesperidoside), a natural flavonoid O-glycoside, and its structural analogs are potent inhibitors of 3CL-Pro dimerization, inhibiting viral plaque formation in vitro. We thus propose a novel basis for the search of pharmaceuticals as well as dietary supplements in the fight against SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-19. Full article
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Article
Formation of Copper Oxide Nanotextures on Porous Calcium Carbonate Templates for Water Treatment
Molecules 2021, 26(19), 6067; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/molecules26196067 - 07 Oct 2021
Viewed by 419
Abstract
The necessity of providing clean water sources increases the demand to develop catalytic systems for water treatment. Good pollutants adsorbers are a key ingredient, and CuO is one of the candidate materials for this task. Among the different approaches for CuO synthesis, precipitation [...] Read more.
The necessity of providing clean water sources increases the demand to develop catalytic systems for water treatment. Good pollutants adsorbers are a key ingredient, and CuO is one of the candidate materials for this task. Among the different approaches for CuO synthesis, precipitation out of aqueous solutions is a leading candidate due to the facile synthesis, high yield, sustainability, and the reported shape control by adjustment of the counter anions. We harness this effect to investigate the formation of copper oxide-based 3D structures. Specifically, the counter anion (chloride, nitrate, and acetate) affects the formation of copper-based hydroxides and the final structure following their conversion into copper oxide nanostructures over porous templates. The formation of a 3D structure is obtained when copper chloride or nitrate reacts with a Sorites scaffold (marine-based calcium carbonate template) without external hydroxide addition. The transformation into copper oxides occurs after calcination or reduction of the obtained Cu2(OH)3X (X = Cl or NO3) while preserving the porous morphology. Finally, the formed Sorites@CuO structure is examined for water treatment to remove heavy metal cations and degrade organic contaminant molecules. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Development of Novel Porous Materials)
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Article
New 4-Aminoproline-Based Small Molecule Cyclopeptidomimetics as Potential Modulators of α4β1 Integrin
Molecules 2021, 26(19), 6066; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/molecules26196066 - 07 Oct 2021
Viewed by 410
Abstract
Integrin α4β1 belongs to the leukocyte integrin family and represents a therapeutic target of relevant interest given its primary role in mediating inflammation, autoimmune pathologies and cancer-related diseases. The focus of the present work is the design, synthesis and characterization [...] Read more.
Integrin α4β1 belongs to the leukocyte integrin family and represents a therapeutic target of relevant interest given its primary role in mediating inflammation, autoimmune pathologies and cancer-related diseases. The focus of the present work is the design, synthesis and characterization of new peptidomimetic compounds that are potentially able to recognize α4β1 integrin and interfere with its function. To this aim, a collection of seven new cyclic peptidomimetics possessing both a 4-aminoproline (Amp) core scaffold grafted onto key α4β1-recognizing sequences and the (2-methylphenyl)ureido-phenylacetyl (MPUPA) appendage, was designed, with the support of molecular modeling studies. The new compounds were synthesized through SPPS procedures followed by in-solution cyclization maneuvers. The biological evaluation of the new cyclic ligands in cell adhesion assays on Jurkat cells revealed promising submicromolar agonist activity in one compound, namely, the c[Amp(MPUPA)Val-Asp-Leu] cyclopeptide. Further investigations will be necessary to complete the characterization of this class of compounds. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Women in Bioorganic Chemistry)
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Article
Preparation of Hop Estrogen-Active Material for Production of Food Supplements
Molecules 2021, 26(19), 6065; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/molecules26196065 - 07 Oct 2021
Viewed by 355
Abstract
In recent years, the interest in the health-promoting effects of hop prenylflavonoids, especially its estrogenic effects, has grown. Unfortunately, one of the most potent phytoestrogens identified so far, 8-prenylnaringenin, is only a minor component of hops, so its isolation from hop materials for [...] Read more.
In recent years, the interest in the health-promoting effects of hop prenylflavonoids, especially its estrogenic effects, has grown. Unfortunately, one of the most potent phytoestrogens identified so far, 8-prenylnaringenin, is only a minor component of hops, so its isolation from hop materials for the production of estrogenically active food supplements has proved to be problematic. The aim of this study was to optimize the conditions (e.g., temperature, the length of the process and the amount of the catalyst) to produce 8-prenylnaringenin-rich material by the magnesium oxide-catalyzed thermal isomerization of desmethylxanthohumol. Under these optimized conditions, the yield of 8-prenylnaringenin was 29 mg per 100 gDW of product, corresponding to a >70% increase in its content relative to the starting material. This process may be applied in the production of functional foods or food supplements rich in 8-prenylnaringenin, which may then be utilized in therapeutic agents to help alleviate the symptoms of menopausal disorders. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Natural Product-Inspired Molecules: From Weed to Remedy)
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Article
HPTLC and ATR/FTIR Characterization of Antioxidants in Different Rosemary Extracts
Molecules 2021, 26(19), 6064; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/molecules26196064 - 07 Oct 2021
Viewed by 343
Abstract
The effect of spontaneous fermentation by lactic acid bacteria on the extraction yield of bioactive compounds and antioxidant activity from rosemary leaf extracts was investigated using high-performance thin-layer chromatography (HPTLC). Brining and spontaneous fermentation with lactic acid bacteria more than doubled extraction of [...] Read more.
The effect of spontaneous fermentation by lactic acid bacteria on the extraction yield of bioactive compounds and antioxidant activity from rosemary leaf extracts was investigated using high-performance thin-layer chromatography (HPTLC). Brining and spontaneous fermentation with lactic acid bacteria more than doubled extraction of polyphenolics and antioxidants from the rosemary leaves. The results show that lactic acid fermentation enhances antioxidant activity in extracts by increasing the total phenolic content but does not increase extraction of phytosterols. Increased extraction of phenolic oxidants during fermentation assisted extraction, results from the in situ generated natural eutectic solvent from the plant sample. ATR-FTIR spectra from the bioactive bands suggests that this increased antioxidant activity is associated with increased extraction of rosmarinic acid, depolymerised lignin, abietane diterpenoids and 15-hydroxy-7-oxodehydroabietic acid. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Chromatographic Science of Natural Products II)
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Article
Changes in the Folate Content and Fatty Acid Profile in Fermented Milk Produced with Different Starter Cultures during Storage
Molecules 2021, 26(19), 6063; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/molecules26196063 - 07 Oct 2021
Viewed by 339
Abstract
The application of bacterial cultures in food fermentation is a novel strategy to increase the “natural” levels of bioactive compounds. The unique ability of lactic acid bacteria (LAB) to produce folate, B vitamins, and conjugated linolenic acid cis9trans11 C18:2 (CLA) [...] Read more.
The application of bacterial cultures in food fermentation is a novel strategy to increase the “natural” levels of bioactive compounds. The unique ability of lactic acid bacteria (LAB) to produce folate, B vitamins, and conjugated linolenic acid cis9trans11 C18:2 (CLA) during cold storage up to 21 days was studied. Although some species of LAB can produce folates and other important nutrients, little is known about the production ability of yogurt starter cultures. Pasteurized milk samples were inoculated with four different combinations of commercially available yogurt vaccines, including starter cultures of Bifidobacterium bifidum. Both the type of vaccine and the time of storage at 8 °C had a significant effect on the folate and CLA contents in the tested fermented milks. The highest folate content (105.4 µg/kg) was found in fresh fermented milk inoculated with Lactobacillus delbrueckii, Streptococcus thermophilus, and Bifidobacterium bifidum. Only the mix of Lactobacillus delbrueckii subsp. bulgaricus, Streptococcus thermophilus, and Bifidobacterium bifidum showed potential (59% increase) to synthesize folate during seven days of storage. A significant increase in the content of CLA, when compared to fresh fermented milk, was observed during cold storage for up to 21 days in products enriched with Bifidobacterium bifidum. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Health Promoting Compounds in Milk and Dairy Products)
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Article
l-Arginine Improves Solubility and ANTI SARS-CoV-2 Mpro Activity of Rutin but Not the Antiviral Activity in Cells
Molecules 2021, 26(19), 6062; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/molecules26196062 - 07 Oct 2021
Viewed by 668
Abstract
The COVID-19 pandemic outbreak prompts an urgent need for efficient therapeutics, and repurposing of known drugs has been extensively used in an attempt to get to anti-SARS-CoV-2 agents in the shortest possible time. The glycoside rutin shows manifold pharmacological activities and, despite its [...] Read more.
The COVID-19 pandemic outbreak prompts an urgent need for efficient therapeutics, and repurposing of known drugs has been extensively used in an attempt to get to anti-SARS-CoV-2 agents in the shortest possible time. The glycoside rutin shows manifold pharmacological activities and, despite its use being limited by its poor solubility in water, it is the active principle of many pharmaceutical preparations. We herein report our in silico and experimental investigations of rutin as a SARS-CoV-2 Mpro inhibitor and of its water solubility improvement obtained by mixing it with l-arginine. Tests of the rutin/l-arginine mixture in a cellular model of SARS-CoV-2 infection highlighted that the mixture still suffers from unfavorable pharmacokinetic properties, but nonetheless, the results of this study suggest that rutin might be a good starting point for hit optimization. Full article
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Article
Simulation of the Interactions of Arginine with Wild-Type GALT Enzyme and the Classic Galactosemia-Related Mutant p.Q188R by a Computational Approach
Molecules 2021, 26(19), 6061; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/molecules26196061 - 07 Oct 2021
Viewed by 362
Abstract
Classic galactosemia is an inborn error of metabolism associated with mutations that impair the activity and the stability of galactose-1-phosphate uridylyltransferase (GALT), catalyzing the third step in galactose metabolism. To date, no treatments (including dietary galactose deprivation) are able to prevent or alleviate [...] Read more.
Classic galactosemia is an inborn error of metabolism associated with mutations that impair the activity and the stability of galactose-1-phosphate uridylyltransferase (GALT), catalyzing the third step in galactose metabolism. To date, no treatments (including dietary galactose deprivation) are able to prevent or alleviate the long-term complications affecting galactosemic patients. Evidence that arginine is able to improve the activity of the human enzyme expressed in a prokaryotic model of classic galactosemia has induced researchers to suppose that this amino acid could act as a pharmacochaperone, but no effects were detected in four galactosemic patients treated with this amino acid. Given that no molecular characterizations of the possible effects of arginine on GALT have been performed, and given that the samples of patients treated with arginine are extremely limited for drawing definitive conclusions at the clinical level, we performed computational simulations in order to predict the interactions (if any) between this amino acid and the enzyme. Our results do not support the possibility that arginine could function as a pharmacochaperone for GALT, but information obtained by this study could be useful for identifying, in the future, possible pharmacochaperones for this enzyme. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Computational Methods for Drug Discovery and Design II)
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Review
Heavy Metals and Human Health: Possible Exposure Pathways and the Competition for Protein Binding Sites
Molecules 2021, 26(19), 6060; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/molecules26196060 - 07 Oct 2021
Viewed by 388
Abstract
Heavy metals enter the human body through the gastrointestinal tract, skin, or via inhalation. Toxic metals have proven to be a major threat to human health, mostly because of their ability to cause membrane and DNA damage, and to perturb protein function and [...] Read more.
Heavy metals enter the human body through the gastrointestinal tract, skin, or via inhalation. Toxic metals have proven to be a major threat to human health, mostly because of their ability to cause membrane and DNA damage, and to perturb protein function and enzyme activity. These metals disturb native proteins’ functions by binding to free thiols or other functional groups, catalyzing the oxidation of amino acid side chains, perturbing protein folding, and/or displacing essential metal ions in enzymes. The review shows the physiological and biochemical effects of selected toxic metals interactions with proteins and enzymes. As environmental contamination by heavy metals is one of the most significant global problems, some detoxification strategies are also mentioned. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Protein Interactions—on the Frontier of Biochemistry and Biophysics)
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