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Special Issue "Peptides for Health Benefits 2020"

A special issue of International Journal of Molecular Sciences (ISSN 1422-0067). This special issue belongs to the section "Bioactives and Nutraceuticals".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 30 April 2021.

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Blanca Hernández-Ledesma
E-Mail Website1 Website2
Guest Editor
CSIC-UAM – Institute of Food Science Research (CIAL, CSIC-UAM), Madrid, Spain
Interests: bioactive peptides; food proteins; multifuncionality; digestion; bioavailability; inflammation-associated diseases; chemopreventive activity; peptidomics; antioxidant activity
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals
Dr. Cristina Martínez-Villaluenga
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Institute of Food Science, Technology and Nutrition (ICTAN), Spanish National Research Council (CSIC), Jose Antonio Novais 10, 28040 Madrid, Spain
Interests: grains; peptides; phenolic compounds; nutritional characterization; protein quality and digestibility; bioavailability of food compounds; bioactivity; germination; fermentation; enzymatic treatments
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

In recent years, peptides have received increased interest from the pharmaceutical industry. Their high potency, specificity, and good safety profile are their main strengths of bioactive peptides, representing new and promising therapies that may fill the gap between small molecules and protein drugs. These positive attributes of peptides, along with advances in drug delivery technologies, have generated renewed interest in the discovery, optimization, and development of peptides as pharmacological therapy. Among bioactive peptides, those released from food protein sources have acquired importance as nutraceutical and active components in functional foods, because they are known to possess regulatory functions that can lead to health benefits.

This Special Issue, “Peptides for Health Benefits 2020”, will cover a selection of recent research papers, reviews, short communications, as well as perspectives in the field of bioactive peptides. It aims to cover all aspects of peptide research in relation to health promotion. In particular, this Special Issue emphasizes current knowledge and research trends concerning bioactive peptides, including the identification and quantification of peptides from new sources; methods for their production and purification; structure–function relationships; mechanisms of action; the development of novel in vitro and in vivo assays for the evaluation of their bioactivity; physiological evidence to support health benefits; and peptide stability, bioavailability, and sensory (or techno-functional) properties. Papers regarding the development of new drugs, functional foods, or nutraceuticals based on bioactive peptides will be also taken into consideration.

Dr. Blanca Hernández-Ledesma
Dr. Cristina Martínez-Villaluenga
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. International Journal of Molecular Sciences is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. There is an Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal. For details about the APC please see here. Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • Human health
  • Bioactive peptides
  • Food peptides
  • Biological activity
  • Peptidomics
  • In vitro and in vivo assays
  • Identification and characterization
  • Functional foods
  • Peptide-based therapies

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Published Papers (30 papers)

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Open AccessArticle
Gouda Cheese with Modified Content of β-Casein as a Source of Peptides with ACE- and DPP-IV-Inhibiting Bioactivity: A Study Based on In Silico and In Vitro Protocol
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2021, 22(6), 2949; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijms22062949 - 14 Mar 2021
Viewed by 341
Abstract
In silico and in vitro methods were used to analyze ACE- and DPP-IV-inhibiting potential of Gouda cheese with a modified content of β-casein. Firstly, the BIOPEP-UWM database was used to predict the presence of ACE and DPP-IV inhibitors in casein sequences. Then, the [...] Read more.
In silico and in vitro methods were used to analyze ACE- and DPP-IV-inhibiting potential of Gouda cheese with a modified content of β-casein. Firstly, the BIOPEP-UWM database was used to predict the presence of ACE and DPP-IV inhibitors in casein sequences. Then, the following Gouda cheeses were produced: with decreased, increased, and normative content of β-casein after 1 and 60 days of ripening each (six variants in total). Finally, determination of the ACE/DPP-IV-inhibitory activity and the identification of peptides in respective Gouda-derived water-soluble extracts were carried out. The identification analyses were supported with in silico calculations, i.e., heatmaps and quantitative parameters. All Gouda variants exhibited comparable ACE inhibition, whereas DPP-IV inhibition was more diversified among the samples. The samples derived from Gouda with the increased content of β-casein (both stages of ripening) had the highest DPP-IV-inhibiting potency compared to the same samples measured for ACE inhibition. Regardless of the results concerning ACE and DPP-IV inhibition among the cheese samples, the heatmap showed that the latter bioactivity was predominant in all Gouda variants, presumably because it was based on the qualitative approach (i.e., peptide presence in the sample). Our heatmap did not include the bioactivity of a single peptide as well as its quantity in the sample. In turn, the quantitative parameters showed that the best sources of ACE/DPP-IV inhibitors were all Gouda-derived extracts obtained after 60 days of the ripening. Although our protocol was efficient in showing some regularities among Gouda cheese variants, in vivo studies are recommended for more extensive investigations of this subject. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Peptides for Health Benefits 2020)
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Open AccessArticle
PEG-BHD1028 Peptide Regulates Insulin Resistance and Fatty Acid β-Oxidation, and Mitochondrial Biogenesis by Binding to Two Heterogeneous Binding Sites of Adiponectin Receptors, AdipoR1 and AdipoR2
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2021, 22(2), 884; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijms22020884 - 17 Jan 2021
Viewed by 490
Abstract
Adiponectin plays multiple critical roles in modulating various physiological processes by binding to its receptors. The functions of PEG-BHD1028, a potent novel peptide agonist to AdipoRs, was evaluated using in vitro and in vivo models based on the reported action spectrum of adiponectin. [...] Read more.
Adiponectin plays multiple critical roles in modulating various physiological processes by binding to its receptors. The functions of PEG-BHD1028, a potent novel peptide agonist to AdipoRs, was evaluated using in vitro and in vivo models based on the reported action spectrum of adiponectin. To confirm the design concept of PEG-BHD1028, the binding sites and their affinities were analyzed using the SPR (Surface Plasmon Resonance) assay. The results revealed that PEG-BHD1028 was bound to two heterogeneous binding sites of AdipoR1 and AdipoR2 with a relatively high affinity. In C2C12 cells, PEG-BHD1028 significantly activated AMPK and subsequent pathways and enhanced fatty acid β-oxidation and mitochondrial biogenesis. Furthermore, it also facilitated glucose uptake by lowering insulin resistance in insulin-resistant C2C12 cells. PEG-BHD1028 significantly reduced the fasting plasma glucose level in db/db mice following a single s.c. injection of 50, 100, and 200 μg/Kg and glucose tolerance at a dose of 50 μg/Kg with significantly decreased insulin production. The animals received 5, 25, and 50 μg/Kg of PEG-BHD1028 for 21 days significantly lost their weight after 18 days in a range of 5–7%. These results imply the development of PEG-BHD1028 as a potential adiponectin replacement therapeutic agent. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Peptides for Health Benefits 2020)
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Open AccessArticle
Systematic Identification of Protein Targets of Sub5 Using Saccharomyces cerevisiae Proteome Microarrays
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2021, 22(2), 760; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijms22020760 - 13 Jan 2021
Viewed by 379
Abstract
Antimicrobial peptides (AMPs) are intensively studied in terms of alternative drugs. Sub5 is a synthetic 12-mer AMP with substitutions of five amino acids of bactenecin 2A (Bac2A), a linear-ized bactenecin variant of bovine. Sub5 is highly effective against fungi with an ability to [...] Read more.
Antimicrobial peptides (AMPs) are intensively studied in terms of alternative drugs. Sub5 is a synthetic 12-mer AMP with substitutions of five amino acids of bactenecin 2A (Bac2A), a linear-ized bactenecin variant of bovine. Sub5 is highly effective against fungi with an ability to trans-locate cell membrane, but its targets are unknown. Systematic analysis of Sub5 targets will facil-itate our understanding on its mechanism of action. In this study, we used high-throughput Saccharomyces cerevisiae proteome microarrays to explore the potential protein targets of Sub5. The screening results showed 128 potential protein targets of Sub5. Bioinformatics analysis of protein targets of Sub5 revealed significant gene ontology (GO) enrichment in actin related pro-cess of “actin filament-based process”, “actin filament organization”, “actin cortical patch or-ganization”, regulation of “actin filament bundle assembly”. Moreover, the other enriched cat-egories in GO enrichment mostly contained actin associate proteins. In total, 11 actin-associated proteins were identified in the protein targets of Sub5. Protein family (PFAM) enrichment anal-ysis shows protein domain enriched in actin binding, i.e., “Cytoskeletal-regulatory complex EF hand (helix E-loop-helix F motif)”. Being consistent with GO analysis, Search Tool for the Re-trieval of Interacting Genes/Proteins (STRING) analysis of the protein targets of Sub5 showed ac-tin network with involvement of 15 protein targets. Along with actin-network, STRING analysis showed protein–protein interaction network in ribonucleoprotein, transcription and translation, chromosome, histone, and ubiquitin related, DNA repair, and chaperone. Multiple Expression motifs for Motif Elicitation (MEME) suite provided a consensus binding motif of [ED][ED]EEE[ED][ED][ED][ED][ED], in total of 75 protein targets of Sub5. This motif was present in 9 out of 15 actin-related proteins identified among protein targets of Sub5. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Peptides for Health Benefits 2020)
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Open AccessArticle
Molecular Basis of the Anticancer and Antibacterial Properties of CecropinXJ Peptide: An In Silico Study
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2021, 22(2), 691; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijms22020691 - 12 Jan 2021
Viewed by 512
Abstract
Esophageal cancer is an aggressive lethal malignancy causing thousands of deaths every year. While current treatments have poor outcomes, cecropinXJ (CXJ) is one of the very few peptides with demonstrated in vivo activity. The great interest in CXJ stems from its low toxicity [...] Read more.
Esophageal cancer is an aggressive lethal malignancy causing thousands of deaths every year. While current treatments have poor outcomes, cecropinXJ (CXJ) is one of the very few peptides with demonstrated in vivo activity. The great interest in CXJ stems from its low toxicity and additional activity against most ESKAPE bacteria and fungi. Here, we present the first study of its mechanism of action based on molecular dynamics (MD) simulations and sequence-property alignment. Although unstructured in solution, predictions highlight the presence of two helices separated by a flexible hinge containing P24 and stabilized by the interaction of W2 with target biomembranes: an amphipathic helix-I and a poorly structured helix-II. Both MD and sequence-property alignment point to the important role of helix I in both the activity and the interaction with biomembranes. MD reveals that CXJ interacts mainly with phosphatidylserine (PS) but also with phosphatidylethanolamine (PE) headgroups, both found in the outer leaflet of cancer cells, while salt bridges with phosphate moieties are prevalent in bacterial biomimetic membranes composed of PE, phosphatidylglycerol (PG) and cardiolipin (CL). The antibacterial activity of CXJ might also explain its interaction with mitochondria, whose phospholipid composition recalls that of bacteria and its capability to induce apoptosis in cancer cells. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Peptides for Health Benefits 2020)
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Open AccessArticle
PACAP for Retinal Health: Model for Cellular Aging and Rescue
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2021, 22(1), 444; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijms22010444 - 05 Jan 2021
Viewed by 411
Abstract
Retinal aging is the result of accumulating molecular and cellular damage with a manifest decline in visual functions. Somatostatin (SST) and pituitary adenylate cyclase-activating polypeptide (PACAP) have been implicated in neuroprotection through regulating disparate aspects of neuronal activity (survival, proliferation and renewal). The [...] Read more.
Retinal aging is the result of accumulating molecular and cellular damage with a manifest decline in visual functions. Somatostatin (SST) and pituitary adenylate cyclase-activating polypeptide (PACAP) have been implicated in neuroprotection through regulating disparate aspects of neuronal activity (survival, proliferation and renewal). The aim of the present study was to validate a transgenic model for SST-expressing amacrine cells and to investigate the chronic effect of PACAP on the aging of SSTergic and dopaminergic cells of the retina. SST-tdTomato transgenic mice that were 6, 12 and 18 months old were treated intravitreally with 100 pmol of PACAP every 3 months. The density of SST and dopaminergic amacrine cells was assessed in whole-mounted retinas. Cells displaying the transgenic red fluorescence were identified as SST-immunopositive amacrine cells. By comparing the three age groups. PACAP treatment was shown to induce a moderate elevation of cell densities in both the SST and dopaminergic cell populations in the 12- and 18-month-old animals. By contrast, the control untreated and saline-treated retinas showed a minor cell loss. In conclusion, we report a reliable transgenic model for examining SSTergic amacrine cells. The fundamental novelty of this study is that PACAP could increase the cell density in matured retinal tissue, anticipating new therapeutic potential in age-related pathological processes. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Peptides for Health Benefits 2020)
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Open AccessArticle
PASylated Thymosin α1: A Long-Acting Immunostimulatory Peptide for Applications in Oncology and Virology
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2021, 22(1), 124; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijms22010124 - 24 Dec 2020
Viewed by 589
Abstract
Thymosin α1 (Tα1) is an immunostimulatory peptide for the treatment of hepatitis B virus (HBV) and hepatitis C virus (HCV) infections and used as an immune enhancer, which also offers prospects in the context of COVID-19 infections and cancer. Manufacturing of this N-terminally [...] Read more.
Thymosin α1 (Tα1) is an immunostimulatory peptide for the treatment of hepatitis B virus (HBV) and hepatitis C virus (HCV) infections and used as an immune enhancer, which also offers prospects in the context of COVID-19 infections and cancer. Manufacturing of this N-terminally acetylated 28-residue peptide is demanding, and its short plasma half-life limits in vivo efficacy and requires frequent dosing. Here, we combined the PASylation technology with enzymatic in situ N-acetylation by RimJ to produce a long-acting version of Tα1 in Escherichia coli at high yield. ESI-MS analysis of the purified fusion protein indicated the expected composition without any signs of proteolysis. SEC analysis revealed a 10-fold expanded hydrodynamic volume resulting from the fusion with a conformationally disordered Pro/Ala/Ser (PAS) polypeptide of 600 residues. This size effect led to a plasma half-life in rats extended by more than a factor 8 compared to the original synthetic peptide due to retarded kidney filtration. Our study provides the basis for therapeutic development of a next generation thymosin α1 with prolonged circulation. Generally, the strategy of producing an N-terminally protected PASylated peptide solves three major problems of peptide drugs: (i) instability in the expression host, (ii) rapid degradation by serum exopeptidases, and (iii) low bioactivity because of fast renal clearance. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Peptides for Health Benefits 2020)
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Open AccessArticle
The Delta-Specific Opioid Glycopeptide BBI-11008: CNS Penetration and Behavioral Analysis in a Preclinical Model of Levodopa-Induced Dyskinesia
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2021, 22(1), 20; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijms22010020 - 22 Dec 2020
Viewed by 423
Abstract
In previous work we evaluated an opioid glycopeptide with mixed μ/δ-opioid receptor agonism that was a congener of leu-enkephalin, MMP-2200. The glycopeptide analogue showed penetration of the blood–brain barrier (BBB) after systemic administration to rats, as well as profound central effects in models [...] Read more.
In previous work we evaluated an opioid glycopeptide with mixed μ/δ-opioid receptor agonism that was a congener of leu-enkephalin, MMP-2200. The glycopeptide analogue showed penetration of the blood–brain barrier (BBB) after systemic administration to rats, as well as profound central effects in models of Parkinson’s disease (PD) and levodopa (L-DOPA)-induced dyskinesia (LID). In the present study, we tested the glycopeptide BBI-11008 with selective δ-opioid receptor agonism, an analogue of deltorphin, a peptide secreted from the skin of frogs (genus Phyllomedusa). We tested BBI-11008 for BBB-penetration after intraperitoneal (i.p.) injection and evaluated effects in LID rats. BBI-11008 (10 mg/kg) demonstrated good CNS-penetrance as shown by microdialysis and mass spectrometric analysis, with peak concentration levels of 150 pM in the striatum. While BBI-11008 at both 10 and 20 mg/kg produced no effect on levodopa-induced limb, axial and oral (LAO) abnormal involuntary movements (AIMs), it reduced the levodopa-induced locomotor AIMs by 50% after systemic injection. The N-methyl-D-aspartate receptor antagonist MK-801 reduced levodopa-induced LAO AIMs, but worsened PD symptoms in this model. Co-administration of MMP-2200 had been shown prior to block the MK-801-induced pro-Parkinsonian activity. Interestingly, BBI-11008 was not able to block the pro-Parkinsonian effect of MK-801 in the LID model, further indicating that a balance of mu- and delta-opioid agonism is required for this modulation. In summary, this study illustrates another example of meaningful BBB-penetration of a glycopeptide analogue of a peptide to achieve a central behavioral effect, providing additional evidence for the glycosylation technique as a method to harness therapeutic potential of peptides. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Peptides for Health Benefits 2020)
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Open AccessArticle
Brain Site-Specific Inhibitory Effects of the GLP-1 Analogue Exendin-4 on Alcohol Intake and Operant Responding for Palatable Food
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2020, 21(24), 9710; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijms21249710 - 19 Dec 2020
Viewed by 458
Abstract
Approximately 14.4 million Americans are experiencing alcohol use disorder (AUD) and about two-thirds of people who experience drug addiction will relapse, highlighting the need to develop novel and effective treatments. Glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) is a peptide hormone implicated in the mesocorticolimbic reward system [...] Read more.
Approximately 14.4 million Americans are experiencing alcohol use disorder (AUD) and about two-thirds of people who experience drug addiction will relapse, highlighting the need to develop novel and effective treatments. Glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) is a peptide hormone implicated in the mesocorticolimbic reward system and has become a peptide of interest with respect to its putative inhibitory effects on drug reward. In order to further develop treatments for those diagnosed with AUD, the interplay between GLP-1 receptor signaling and ethanol consumption must be elucidated. In the present study, we investigated the ability of the GLP-1 analogue, exendin-4 (Ex-4), to alter alcohol intake and operant responding for sucrose pellets in order to further understand the role of this compound in mediating reward. We selected multiple sites throughout the prosencephalic and mesencephalic regions of the brain, where we directly administered various doses of Ex-4 to male Sprague Dawley rats. In alcohol investigations, we utilized a two-bottle choice intermittent access protocol. In separate groups of rats, we adopted an operant paradigm in order to examine the effect of Ex-4 on motivated responding for palatable food. Results indicated that GLP-1 receptor signaling effectively suppressed voluntary alcohol intake when injected into the ventral tegmental area (VTA), the accumbens core (NAcC) and shell (NAcS), the dorsomedial hippocampus (DMHipp), and the lateral hypothalamus (LH), which are all structures linked to brain reward mechanisms. The arcuate nucleus (ARcN) and the paraventricular nucleus (PVN) of the hypothalamus were unresponsive, as was the basolateral amygdala (BLA). However, Ex-4 treatment into the ArcN and PVN suppressed operant responding for sucrose pellets. In fact, the VTA, NAcC, NAcS, LH, and the DMHipp all showed comparable suppression of sucrose responding. Overall, our findings suggest that these central structures are implicated in brain reward circuitry, including alcohol and appetitive motivation, which may be mediated by GLP-1 receptor mechanisms. GLP-1, therefore, may play a critical role in modifying addictive behaviors via activation of multiple GLP-1 systems throughout the brain. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Peptides for Health Benefits 2020)
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Open AccessArticle
Overexpression of Soybean-Derived Lunasin in Wheat and Assessment of Its Anti-Proliferative Activity in Colorectal Cancer HT-29 Cells
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2020, 21(24), 9594; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijms21249594 - 16 Dec 2020
Viewed by 766
Abstract
Lunasin is a soybean-derived peptide that exhibits anticancer bioactivity in different cancer cells and has been identified in different plants. However, recent studies revealed through molecular and chemical analyses that lunasin was absent in wheat and other cereals. In this study, the soybean-derived [...] Read more.
Lunasin is a soybean-derived peptide that exhibits anticancer bioactivity in different cancer cells and has been identified in different plants. However, recent studies revealed through molecular and chemical analyses that lunasin was absent in wheat and other cereals. In this study, the soybean-derived lunasin was cloned into pCAMBIA3300 and we transferred the expression vector into wheat via an Agrobacterium-mediated transformation. The identification of transgenic wheat was detected by polymerase chain reaction, Western blot analysis, and ultra-performance liquid chromatography with tandem mass spectrometry. An enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay showed that lunasin content in transgenic wheat L32-3, L32-6, and L33-1 was 308.63, 436.78, and 349.07 µg/g, respectively, while lunasin was not detected in wild-type wheat. Lunasin enrichment from transgenic wheat displayed an increased anti-proliferative activity compared with peptide enrichment from wild-type wheat in HT-29 cells. Moreover, the results of a real-time quantitative polymerase chain reaction showed a significant elevation in p21, Bax, and caspase-3 expression, while Bcl-2 was significantly downregulated. In conclusion, soybean-derived lunasin was successfully expressed in wheat via Agrobacterium-mediated transformation and may exert anti-proliferative activity by regulating the apoptosis pathway in HT-29 cells, which provides an effective approach to compensate for the absence of lunasin in wheat. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Peptides for Health Benefits 2020)
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Open AccessArticle
Citrullination-Resistant LL-37 Is a Potent Antimicrobial Agent in the Inflammatory Environment High in Arginine Deiminase Activity
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2020, 21(23), 9126; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijms21239126 - 30 Nov 2020
Viewed by 451
Abstract
LL-37, the only member of the mammalian cathelicidin in humans, plays an essential role in innate immunity by killing pathogens and regulating the inflammatory response. However, at an inflammatory focus, arginine residues in LL-37 can be converted to citrulline via a reaction catalyzed [...] Read more.
LL-37, the only member of the mammalian cathelicidin in humans, plays an essential role in innate immunity by killing pathogens and regulating the inflammatory response. However, at an inflammatory focus, arginine residues in LL-37 can be converted to citrulline via a reaction catalyzed by peptidyl-arginine deiminases (PAD2 and PAD4), which are expressed in neutrophils and are highly active during the formation of neutrophil extracellular traps (NETs). Citrullination impairs the bactericidal activity of LL-37 and abrogates its immunomodulatory functions. Therefore, we hypothesized that citrullination-resistant LL-37 variants would retain the functionality of the native peptide in the presence of PADs. To test this hypothesis, we synthetized LL-37 in which arginine residues were substituted by homoarginine (hArg-LL-37). Bactericidal activity of hArg-LL-37 was comparable with that of native LL-37, but neither treatment with PAD4 nor exposure to NETs affected the antibacterial and immunomodulatory activities of hArg-LL-37. Importantly, the susceptibilities of LL-37 and hArg-LL-37 to degradation by proteases did not significantly differ. Collectively, we demonstrated that citrullination-resistant hArg-LL-37 is an attractive lead compound for the generation of new agents to treat bacterial infections and other inflammatory diseases associated with enhanced PAD activity. Moreover, our results provide a proof-of-concept for synthesis of therapeutic peptides using homoarginine. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Peptides for Health Benefits 2020)
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Open AccessArticle
Zinc Binds to RRM2 Peptide of TDP-43
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2020, 21(23), 9080; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijms21239080 - 29 Nov 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 587
Abstract
Transactive response DNA and RNA binding protein 43 kDa (TDP-43) is a highly conserved heterogeneous nuclear ribonucleoprotein (hnRNP), which is involved in several steps of protein production including transcription and splicing. Its aggregates are frequently observed in motor neurons from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis [...] Read more.
Transactive response DNA and RNA binding protein 43 kDa (TDP-43) is a highly conserved heterogeneous nuclear ribonucleoprotein (hnRNP), which is involved in several steps of protein production including transcription and splicing. Its aggregates are frequently observed in motor neurons from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis patients and in the most common variant of frontotemporal lobar degeneration. Recently it was shown that TDP-43 is able to bind Zn2+ by its RRM domain. In this work, we have investigated Zn2+ binding to a short peptide 256–264 from C-terminus of RRM2 domain using isothermal titration calorimetry, electrospray ionization mass spectrometry, QM/MM simulations, and NMR spectroscopy. We have found that this peptide is able to bind zinc ions with a Ka equal to 1.6 × 105 M−1. Our findings suggest the existence of a zinc binding site in the C-terminal region of RRM2 domain. Together with the existing structure of the RRM2 domain of TDP-43 we propose a model of its complex with Zn2+ which illustrates how zinc might regulate DNA/RNA binding. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Peptides for Health Benefits 2020)
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Open AccessArticle
Intracerebroventricular Neuropeptide FF Diminishes the Number of Apneas and Cardiovascular Effects Produced by Opioid Receptors’ Activation
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2020, 21(23), 8931; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijms21238931 - 25 Nov 2020
Viewed by 377
Abstract
The opioid-induced analgesia is associated with a number of side effects such as addiction, tolerance and respiratory depression. The involvement of neuropeptide FF (NPFF) in modulation of pain perception, opioid-induced tolerance and dependence was well documented in contrast to respiratory depression. Therefore, the [...] Read more.
The opioid-induced analgesia is associated with a number of side effects such as addiction, tolerance and respiratory depression. The involvement of neuropeptide FF (NPFF) in modulation of pain perception, opioid-induced tolerance and dependence was well documented in contrast to respiratory depression. Therefore, the aim of the present study was to examine the potency of NPFF to block post-opioid respiratory depression, one of the main adverse effects of opioid therapy. Urethane-chloralose anaesthetized Wistar rats were injected either intravenously (iv) or intracerebroventricularly (icv) with various doses of NPFF prior to iv endomorphin-1 (EM-1) administration. Iv NPFF diminished the number of EM-1-induced apneas without affecting their length and without influence on the EM-1 induced blood pressure decline. Icv pretreatment with NPFF abolished the occurrence of post-EM-1 apneas and reduced also the maximal drop in blood pressure and heart rate. These effects were completely blocked by the NPFF receptor antagonist RF9, which was given as a mixture with NPFF before systemic EM-1 administration. In conclusion, our results showed that centrally administered neuropeptide FF is effective in preventing apnea evoked by stimulation of μ-opioid receptors and the effect was due to activation of central NPFF receptors. Our finding indicates a potential target for reversal of opioid-induced respiratory depression. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Peptides for Health Benefits 2020)
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Open AccessArticle
Toxoplasma gondii GRA9 Regulates the Activation of NLRP3 Inflammasome to Exert Anti-Septic Effects in Mice
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2020, 21(22), 8437; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijms21228437 - 10 Nov 2020
Viewed by 505
Abstract
Dense granule proteins (GRAs) are essential components in Toxoplasma gondii, which are suggested to be promising serodiagnostic markers in toxoplasmosis. In this study, we investigated the function of GRA9 in host response and the associated regulatory mechanism, which were unknown. We found [...] Read more.
Dense granule proteins (GRAs) are essential components in Toxoplasma gondii, which are suggested to be promising serodiagnostic markers in toxoplasmosis. In this study, we investigated the function of GRA9 in host response and the associated regulatory mechanism, which were unknown. We found that GRA9 interacts with NLR family pyrin domain containing 3 (NLRP3) involved in inflammation by forming the NLRP3 inflammasome. The C-terminal of GRA9 (GRA9C) is essential for GRA9–NLRP3 interaction by disrupting the NLRP3 inflammasome through blocking the binding of apoptotic speck-containing (ASC)-NLRP3. Notably, Q200 of GRA9C is essential for the interaction of NLRP3 and blocking the conjugation of ASC. Recombinant GRA9C (rGRA9C) showed an anti-inflammatory effect and the elimination of bacteria by converting M1 to M2 macrophages. In vivo, rGRA9C increased the anti-inflammatory and bactericidal effects and subsequent anti-septic activity in CLP- and E. coli- or P. aeruginosa-induced sepsis model mice by increasing M2 polarization. Taken together, our findings defined a role of T. gondii GRA9 associated with NLRP3 in host macrophages, suggesting its potential as a new candidate therapeutic agent for sepsis. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Peptides for Health Benefits 2020)
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Open AccessArticle
The Loss of HLA-F/KIR3DS1 Ligation Is Mediated by Hemoglobin Peptides
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2020, 21(21), 8012; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijms21218012 - 28 Oct 2020
Viewed by 430
Abstract
The human leukocyte antigen (HLA)-Ib molecule, HLA-F, is known as a CD4+ T-cell protein and mediator of HIV progression. While HLA-Ia molecules do not have the chance to select and present viral peptides for immune recognition due to protein downregulation, HLA-F is [...] Read more.
The human leukocyte antigen (HLA)-Ib molecule, HLA-F, is known as a CD4+ T-cell protein and mediator of HIV progression. While HLA-Ia molecules do not have the chance to select and present viral peptides for immune recognition due to protein downregulation, HLA-F is upregulated. Post HIV infection, HLA-F loses the affinity to its activating receptor KIR3DS1 on NK cells leading to progression of the HIV infection. Several studies aimed to solve the question of the biophysical interface between HLA ligands and their cognate receptors. It became clear that even an invariant HLA molecule can be structurally modified by the variability of the bound peptide. We recently discovered the ability of HLA-F to select and present peptides and the HLA-F allele-specific peptide selection from the proteomic content using soluble HLA (sHLA) technology and a sophisticated MS method. We established recombinant K562 cells that express membrane-bound HLA-F*01:01, 01:03 or 01:04 complexes. While a recombinant soluble form of KIR3DS1 did not bind to the peptide-HLA-F complexes, acid elution of the peptides resulted in the presentation of HLA-F open conformers, and the binding of the soluble KIR3DS1 receptor increased. We used CD4+/HIV and CD4+/HIV+ cells and performed an MS proteome analysis. We could detect hemoglobin as significantly upregulated in CD4+ T-cells post HIV infection. The expression of cellular hemoglobin in nonerythroid cells has been described, yet HLA-Ib presentation of hemoglobin-derived peptides is novel. Peptide sequence analysis from HLA-F allelic variants featured hemoglobin peptides as dominant and shared. The reciprocal experiment of binding hemoglobin peptide fractions to the HLA-F open conformers resulted in significantly diminished receptor recognition. These results underpin the molecular involvement of HLA-F and its designated peptide ligand in HIV immune escape. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Peptides for Health Benefits 2020)
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Open AccessArticle
Optimizing the Profile of [99mTc]Tc–NT(7–13) Tracers in Pancreatic Cancer Models by Means of Protease Inhibitors
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2020, 21(21), 7926; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijms21217926 - 26 Oct 2020
Viewed by 364
Abstract
Background: The overexpression of neurotensin subtype 1 receptors (NTS1Rs) in human tumors may be elegantly exploited for directing neurotensin (NT)-based radionuclide carriers specifically to cancer sites for theranostic purposes. We have recently shown that [99mTc]Tc–DT1 ([99mTc]Tc–[N4–Gly7 [...] Read more.
Background: The overexpression of neurotensin subtype 1 receptors (NTS1Rs) in human tumors may be elegantly exploited for directing neurotensin (NT)-based radionuclide carriers specifically to cancer sites for theranostic purposes. We have recently shown that [99mTc]Tc–DT1 ([99mTc]Tc–[N4–Gly7]NT(7–13)) and [99mTc]Tc–DT5 ([99mTc]Tc–[N4βAla7,Dab9]NT(7–13)) show notably improved uptake in human colon adenocarcinoma WiDr xenografts in mice treated with neprilysin (NEP) inhibitors and/or angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors compared with untreated controls. Aiming toward translation of this promising approach in NTS1R-positive pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) patients, we now report on the impact of registered NEP/ACE inhibitors on the performance of [99mTc]Tc–DT1 and [99mTc]Tc–DT5 in pancreatic cancer models. Methods: The cellular uptake of [99mTc]Tc–DT1 and [99mTc]Tc–DT5 was tested in a panel of pancreatic cell lines, and their stability was assessed in mice treated or not treated with Entresto, lisinopril, or their combinations. Biodistribution was conducted in severe combined immunodeficiency (SCID) mice bearing pancreatic AsPC-1 xenografts. Results: The Entresto + lisinopril combination maximized the metabolic stability of the fast-internalizing [99mTc]Tc–DT1 in mice, resulting in notably enhanced tumor uptake (7.05 ± 0.80% injected activity (IA)/g vs. 1.25 ± 0.80% IA/g in non-treated controls at 4 h post-injection; p < 0.0001). Conclusions: This study has shown the feasibility of optimizing the uptake of [99mTc]Tc–DT1 in pancreatic cancer models with the aid of clinically established NEP/ACE inhibitors, in favor of clinical translation prospects. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Peptides for Health Benefits 2020)
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Open AccessArticle
Identification of NPB, NPW and Their Receptor in the Rat Heart
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2020, 21(21), 7827; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijms21217827 - 22 Oct 2020
Viewed by 522
Abstract
Members of neuropeptide B/W signaling system have been predominantly detected and mapped within the CNS. In the rat, this system includes neuropeptide B (NPB), neuropeptide W (NPW) and their specific receptor NPBWR1. This signaling system has a wide spectrum of functions including a [...] Read more.
Members of neuropeptide B/W signaling system have been predominantly detected and mapped within the CNS. In the rat, this system includes neuropeptide B (NPB), neuropeptide W (NPW) and their specific receptor NPBWR1. This signaling system has a wide spectrum of functions including a role in modulation of inflammatory pain and neuroendocrine functions. Expression of NPB, NPW and NPBWR1 in separate heart compartments, dorsal root ganglia (DRG) and stellate ganglia was proven by RT-qPCR, Western blot (WB) and immunofluorescence. Presence of mRNA for all tested genes was detected within all heart compartments and ganglia. The presence of proteins preproNPB, preproNPW and NPBWR1 was confirmed in all the chambers of heart by WB. Expression of preproNPW and preproNPB was proven in cardiac ganglionic cells obtained by laser capture microdissection. In immunofluorescence analysis, NPB immunoreactivity was detected in nerve fibers, some nerve cell bodies and smooth muscle within heart and both ganglia. NPW immunoreactivity was present in the nerve cell bodies and nerve fibers of heart ganglia. Weak nonhomogenous staining of cardiomyocytes was present within heart ventricles. NPBWR1 immunoreactivity was detected on cardiomyocytes and some nerve fibers. We confirmed the presence of NPB/W signaling system in heart, DRG and stellate ganglia by proteomic and genomic analyses. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Peptides for Health Benefits 2020)
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Open AccessArticle
Identification, Characterization and Synthesis of Walterospermin, a Sperm Motility Activator from the Egyptian Black Snake Walterinnesia aegyptia Venom
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2020, 21(20), 7786; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijms21207786 - 21 Oct 2020
Viewed by 755
Abstract
Animal venoms are small natural mixtures highly enriched in bioactive components. They are known to target at least two important pharmacological classes of cell surface receptors: ion channels and G protein coupled receptors. Since sperm cells express a wide variety of ion channels [...] Read more.
Animal venoms are small natural mixtures highly enriched in bioactive components. They are known to target at least two important pharmacological classes of cell surface receptors: ion channels and G protein coupled receptors. Since sperm cells express a wide variety of ion channels and membrane receptors, required for the control of cell motility and acrosome reaction, two functions that are defective in infertility issues, animal venoms should contain interesting compounds capable of modulating these two essential physiological functions. Herein, we screened for bioactive compounds from the venom of the Egyptian black snake Walterinnesia aegyptia (Wa) that possess the property to activate sperm motility in vitro from male mice OF1. Using RP-HPLC and cation exchange chromatography, we identified a new toxin of 6389.89 Da (termed walterospermin) that activates sperm motility. Walterospermin was de novo sequenced using a combination of matrix assisted laser desorption ionization time of flight mass spectrometry (MALDI-TOF/TOF MS/MS) and liquid chromatography electrospray ionization quadrupole time-of-flight mass spectrometry (LC-ESI-QTOF MS/MS) following reduction, alkylation, and enzymatic proteolytic digestion with trypsin, chymotrypsin or V8 protease. The peptide is 57 amino acid residues long and contains three disulfide bridges and was found to be identical to the previously cloned Wa Kunitz-type protease inhibitor II (Wa Kln-II) sequence. Moreover, it has strong homology with several other hitherto cloned Elapidae and Viperidae snake toxins suggesting that it belongs to a family of compounds able to regulate sperm function. The synthetic peptide shows promising activation of sperm motility from a variety of species, including humans. Its fluorescently-labelled analog predominantly marks the flagellum, a localization in agreement with a receptor that controls motility function. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Peptides for Health Benefits 2020)
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Open AccessArticle
Functional Impact of BeKm-1, a High-Affinity hERG Blocker, on Cardiomyocytes Derived from Human-Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2020, 21(19), 7167; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijms21197167 - 28 Sep 2020
Viewed by 568
Abstract
IKr current, a major component of cardiac repolarization, is mediated by human Ether-à-go-go-Related Gene (hERG, Kv11.1) potassium channels. The blockage of these channels by pharmacological compounds is associated to drug-induced long QT syndrome (LQTS), which is a life-threatening disorder [...] Read more.
IKr current, a major component of cardiac repolarization, is mediated by human Ether-à-go-go-Related Gene (hERG, Kv11.1) potassium channels. The blockage of these channels by pharmacological compounds is associated to drug-induced long QT syndrome (LQTS), which is a life-threatening disorder characterized by ventricular arrhythmias and defects in cardiac repolarization that can be illustrated using cardiomyocytes derived from human-induced pluripotent stem cells (hiPS-CMs). This study was meant to assess the modification in hiPS-CMs excitability and contractile properties by BeKm-1, a natural scorpion venom peptide that selectively interacts with the extracellular face of hERG, by opposition to reference compounds that act onto the intracellular face. Using an automated patch-clamp system, we compared the affinity of BeKm-1 for hERG channels with some reference compounds. We fully assessed its effects on the electrophysiological, calcium handling, and beating properties of hiPS-CMs. By delaying cardiomyocyte repolarization, the peptide induces early afterdepolarizations and reduces spontaneous action potentials, calcium transients, and contraction frequencies, therefore recapitulating several of the critical phenotype features associated with arrhythmic risk in drug-induced LQTS. BeKm-1 exemplifies an interesting reference compound in the integrated hiPS-CMs cell model for all drugs that may block the hERG channel from the outer face. Being a peptide that is easily modifiable, it will serve as an ideal molecular platform for the design of new hERG modulators displaying additional functionalities. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Peptides for Health Benefits 2020)
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Open AccessArticle
Antimicrobial Peptides as New Combination Agents in Cancer Therapeutics: A Promising Protocol against HT-29 Tumoral Spheroids
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2020, 21(18), 6964; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijms21186964 - 22 Sep 2020
Viewed by 669
Abstract
Antimicrobial peptides are molecules synthetized by a large variety of organisms as an innate defense against pathogens. These natural compounds have been identified as promising alternatives to widely used molecules to treat infections and cancer cells. Antimicrobial peptides could be viewed as future [...] Read more.
Antimicrobial peptides are molecules synthetized by a large variety of organisms as an innate defense against pathogens. These natural compounds have been identified as promising alternatives to widely used molecules to treat infections and cancer cells. Antimicrobial peptides could be viewed as future chemotherapeutic alternatives, having the advantage of low propensity to drug resistance. In this study, we evaluated the efficiency of the antimicrobial peptide gramicidin A (GA) and the anticancer drug, doxorubicin (Doxo) against the spheroids from colorectal cancer cells (HT-29). The two drugs were applied separately against HT-29 spheroids as well as together to determine if they can act synergistically. The spheroid evolution, cell viability, and ATP levels were monitored at 24 and 48 h after the applied treatments. The results show significant drops in cell viability and cellular ATP levels for all the experimental treatments. The simultaneous use of the two compounds (GA and Doxo) seems to cause a synergistic effect against the spheroids. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Peptides for Health Benefits 2020)
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Open AccessArticle
Surface Design of Antifouling Vascular Constructs Bearing Biofunctional Peptides for Tissue Regeneration Applications
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2020, 21(18), 6800; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijms21186800 - 16 Sep 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 614
Abstract
Antifouling polymer layers containing extracellular matrix-derived peptide motifs offer promising new options for biomimetic surface engineering. In this contribution, we report the design of antifouling vascular grafts bearing biofunctional peptide motifs for tissue regeneration applications based on hierarchical polymer brushes. Hierarchical diblock poly(methyl [...] Read more.
Antifouling polymer layers containing extracellular matrix-derived peptide motifs offer promising new options for biomimetic surface engineering. In this contribution, we report the design of antifouling vascular grafts bearing biofunctional peptide motifs for tissue regeneration applications based on hierarchical polymer brushes. Hierarchical diblock poly(methyl ether oligo(ethylene glycol) methacrylate-block-glycidyl methacrylate) brushes bearing azide groups (poly(MeOEGMA-block-GMA-N3)) were grown by surface-initiated atom transfer radical polymerization (SI-ATRP) and functionalized with biomimetic RGD peptide sequences. Varying the conditions of copper-catalyzed alkyne-azide “click” reaction allowed for the immobilization of RGD peptides in a wide surface concentration range. The synthesized hierarchical polymer brushes bearing peptide motifs were characterized in detail using various surface sensitive physicochemical methods. The hierarchical brushes presenting the RGD sequences provided excellent cell adhesion properties and at the same time remained resistant to fouling from blood plasma. The synthesis of anti-fouling hierarchical brushes bearing 1.2 × 103 nmol/cm2 RGD biomimetic sequences has been adapted for the surface modification of commercially available grafts of woven polyethylene terephthalate (PET) fibers. The fiber mesh was endowed with polymerization initiator groups via aminolysis and acylation reactions optimized for the material. The obtained bioactive antifouling vascular grafts promoted the specific adhesion and growth of endothelial cells, thus providing a potential avenue for endothelialization of artificial conduits. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Peptides for Health Benefits 2020)
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Open AccessArticle
Erythropoietin Mimetic Peptide (pHBSP) Corrects Endothelial Dysfunction in a Rat Model of Preeclampsia
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2020, 21(18), 6759; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijms21186759 - 15 Sep 2020
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 621
Abstract
Preeclampsia is a severe disease of late pregnancy. Etiological factors and a pathogenetic pattern of events still require significant clarification, but it is now recognized that a large role is played by placentation disorders and emerging endothelial dysfunction. The administration of short-chain peptides [...] Read more.
Preeclampsia is a severe disease of late pregnancy. Etiological factors and a pathogenetic pattern of events still require significant clarification, but it is now recognized that a large role is played by placentation disorders and emerging endothelial dysfunction. The administration of short-chain peptides mimicking the spatial structure of the B erythropoietin chain may become one of the directions of searching for new drugs for preeclampsia prevention and therapy. Simulation of ADMA-like preeclampsia in Wistar rats was performed by the administration of a non-selective NOS blocker L-NAME from the 14th to 20th day of pregnancy. The administration of the pHBSP at the doses of 10 µg/kg and 250 µg/kg corrected the established morphofunctional disorders. The greatest effect was observed at a dose of 250 µg/kg. There was a decrease in systolic and diastolic blood pressure by 31.2 and 32.8%, respectively (p < 0.0001), a decrease in the coefficient of endothelial dysfunction by 48.6% (p = 0.0006), placental microcirculation increased by 82.8% (p < 0.0001), the NOx concentration was increased by 42,6% (p = 0.0003), the greater omentum edema decreased by 11.7% (p = 0.0005) and proteinuria decreased by 76.1% (p < 0.0002). In addition, there was an improvement in the morphological pattern of the fetoplacental complex and the ratio of BAX to Bcl-2 expression which characterizes the apoptotic orientation of the cells. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Peptides for Health Benefits 2020)
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Open AccessArticle
Increase in Toxicity of Anticancer Drugs by PMTPV, a Claudin-1-Binding Peptide, Mediated via Down-Regulation of Claudin-1 in Human Lung Adenocarcinoma A549 Cells
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2020, 21(16), 5909; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijms21165909 - 17 Aug 2020
Viewed by 665
Abstract
Claudin-1 (CLDN1), a tight junctional protein, is highly expressed in lung cancer cells and may contribute to chemoresistance. A drug which decreases CLDN1 expression could be a chemosensitizer for enhancing the efficacy of anticancer drugs, but there is no such drug known. We [...] Read more.
Claudin-1 (CLDN1), a tight junctional protein, is highly expressed in lung cancer cells and may contribute to chemoresistance. A drug which decreases CLDN1 expression could be a chemosensitizer for enhancing the efficacy of anticancer drugs, but there is no such drug known. We found that PMTPV, a short peptide, which mimics the structure of second extracellular loop (ECL2) of CLDN1, can reduce the protein level of CLDN1 without affecting the mRNA level in A549 cells derived from human lung adenocarcinoma. The PMTPV-induced decrease in CLDN1 expression was inhibited by monodansylcadaverine, a clathrin-mediated endocytosis inhibitor, and chloroquine, a lysosome inhibitor. Quartz crystal microbalance assay showed that PMTPV can directly bind to the ECL2 of CLDN1. In transwell assay, PMTPV increased fluxes of Lucifer yellow (LY), a paracellular flux marker, and doxorubicin (DXR), an anthracycline anticancer drug, without affecting transepithelial electrical resistance. In three-dimensional spheroid culture, the size and cell viability were unchanged by short peptides, but the fluorescence intensity of hypoxia probe LOX-1 was decreased by PMTPV. PMTPV elevated the accumulation and cytotoxicity of DXR in the spheroids. Similar results were observed by knockdown of CLDN1. Furthermore, the sensitivities to cisplatin (CDDP), docetaxel, and gefitinib were enhanced by PMTPV. The level of CLDN1 expression in CDDP-resistant cells was higher than that in parental A549 cells, which was reduced by PMTPV. PMTPV restored the toxicity to DXR in the CDDP-resistant cells. Our data suggest that PMTPV may become a novel chemosensitizer for lung adenocarcinoma. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Peptides for Health Benefits 2020)
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Open AccessArticle
Resolution-Associated Lactoferrin Peptides Limit LPS Signaling and Cytokine Secretion from Human Macrophages
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2020, 21(14), 5166; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijms21145166 - 21 Jul 2020
Viewed by 604
Abstract
The neutrophil granule protein lactoferrin is cleaved and accumulates in efferocytic macrophages as inflammation is resolved. Two peptides present within a resolution-associated 17 kDa fragment of lactoferrin promote the termination of inflammation in vivo by enhancing murine macrophage reprogramming. Here, we report that [...] Read more.
The neutrophil granule protein lactoferrin is cleaved and accumulates in efferocytic macrophages as inflammation is resolved. Two peptides present within a resolution-associated 17 kDa fragment of lactoferrin promote the termination of inflammation in vivo by enhancing murine macrophage reprogramming. Here, we report that these two bioactive tripeptides, phenylalanine-lysine-aspartic acid and phenylalanine-lysine-glutamic acid (FKD and FKE, respectively), inhibit ERK and cJun activation following human macrophage exposure to LPS. In addition, these peptides at low concentrations (1–10 μM) modulate human macrophage reprogramming to an anti-inflammatory/pro-resolving phenotype. This was reflected by inhibition of LPS-induced TNF-α and IL-6 secretion and increased IL-10 levels. Moreover, we found naturally occurring FKE analogs (FKECH and FKECHLA) can recapitulate the activity of the short peptide in regulating macrophage cytokine secretion, whereas a reversed EKF peptide was inert in this respect. Curiously, FKD and FKE also regulated cytokine production by bone marrow-derived mouse macrophages, but in a very different fashion than their effect on human macrophages. Thus, lactoferrin peptides limit pro-inflammatory signaling and cytokine production by LPS-activated human macrophages and thereby enhance the resolution of inflammation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Peptides for Health Benefits 2020)
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Open AccessArticle
Functional Recognition by CD8+ T Cells of Epitopes with Amino Acid Variations Outside Known MHC Anchor or T Cell Receptor Recognition Residues
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2020, 21(13), 4700; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijms21134700 - 01 Jul 2020
Viewed by 610
Abstract
Peptide-based vaccines can be safer and more cost effective than whole organism vaccines. Previous studies have shown that inorganic polystyrene nanoparticles (PSNPs) covalently conjugated to the minimal immunodominant peptide epitope from murine liver stage malaria (SYIPSAEKI) induced potent CD8+ T cell responses. Many [...] Read more.
Peptide-based vaccines can be safer and more cost effective than whole organism vaccines. Previous studies have shown that inorganic polystyrene nanoparticles (PSNPs) covalently conjugated to the minimal immunodominant peptide epitope from murine liver stage malaria (SYIPSAEKI) induced potent CD8+ T cell responses. Many pathogens, including malaria, have polymorphic T cell epitope regions. Amino acid changes in positions that are contact residues for the T cell receptor (TCR) often alter the specific cross-reactivity induced by the peptide antigen, and it is largely assumed that changes outside of these residues have little impact. Herein, each amino acid residue (except major histocompatibility complex (MHC) anchors) was systematically changed to an alanine. Peptide epitopes with altered amino acids outside T cell contact residues were still recognized by T cells induced by PSNPs-SYIPSAEKI (KI) vaccines, albeit at lower levels, except for the variant SYIPSAAKI (A7). PSNPs-SYIPSAAKI vaccines further elicited high responses to the index KI peptide. None of the epitopes displayed altered peptide ligand (APL) antagonism in vitro, and re-stimulating SYIPSAEKI and SYIPSAAKI together synergistically enhanced IFN-γ production by the T cells. These results show epitope variation in non-TCR recognition residues can have effects on T cell reactivity, suggesting that such natural variation may also be driven by immune pressure. Additionally, when re-modelling peptides to enhance the cross-reactivity of vaccines, both TCR recognition and non-recognition residues should be considered. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Peptides for Health Benefits 2020)
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Open AccessArticle
Peptides Derived from (RRWQWRMKKLG)2-K-Ahx Induce Selective Cellular Death in Breast Cancer Cell Lines through Apoptotic Pathway
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2020, 21(12), 4550; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijms21124550 - 26 Jun 2020
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 697
Abstract
The effect on the cytotoxicity against breast cancer cell lines of the substitution of 26Met residue in the sequence of the Bovine Lactoferricin-derived dimeric peptide LfcinB (20-30)2: (20RRWQWRMKKLG30)2-K-Ahx with amino acids of different [...] Read more.
The effect on the cytotoxicity against breast cancer cell lines of the substitution of 26Met residue in the sequence of the Bovine Lactoferricin-derived dimeric peptide LfcinB (20-30)2: (20RRWQWRMKKLG30)2-K-Ahx with amino acids of different polarity was evaluated. The process of the synthesis of the LfcinB (20-30)2 analog peptides was similar to the original peptide. The cytotoxic assays showed that some analog peptides exhibited a significant cytotoxic effect against breast cancer cell lines HTB-132 and MCF-7, suggesting that the substitution of the Met with amino acids of a hydrophobic nature drastically enhances its cytotoxicity against HTB-132 and MCF-7 cells, reaching IC50 values up to 6 µM. In addition, these peptides have a selective effect, since they exhibit a lower cytotoxic effect on the non-tumorigenic cell line MCF-12. Interestingly, the cytotoxic effect is fast (90 min) and is maintained for up to 48 h. Additionally, through flow cytometry, it was found that the obtained dimeric peptides generate cell death through the apoptosis pathway and do not compromise the integrity of the cytoplasmic membrane, and there are intrinsic apoptotic events involved. These results show that the obtained peptides are extremely promising molecules for the future development of drugs for use against breast cancer. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Peptides for Health Benefits 2020)
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Review

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Open AccessReview
Bacterial Persister-Cells and Spores in the Food Chain: Their Potential Inactivation by Antimicrobial Peptides (AMPs)
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2020, 21(23), 8967; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijms21238967 - 27 Nov 2020
Viewed by 597
Abstract
The occurrence of bacterial pathogens in the food chain has caused a severe impact on public health and welfare in both developing and developed countries. Moreover, the existence of antimicrobial-tolerant persisting morphotypes of these pathogens including both persister-cells as well as bacterial spores [...] Read more.
The occurrence of bacterial pathogens in the food chain has caused a severe impact on public health and welfare in both developing and developed countries. Moreover, the existence of antimicrobial-tolerant persisting morphotypes of these pathogens including both persister-cells as well as bacterial spores contributes to difficulty in elimination and in recurrent infection. Therefore, comprehensive understanding of the behavior of these persisting bacterial forms in their environmental niche and upon infection of humans is necessary. Since traditional antimicrobials fail to kill persisters and spores due to their (extremely) low metabolic activities, antimicrobial peptides (AMPs) have been intensively investigated as one of the most promising strategies against these persisting bacterial forms, showing high efficacy of inactivation. In addition, AMP-based foodborne pathogen detection and prevention of infection has made significant progress. This review focuses on recent research on common bacterial pathogens in the food chain, their persisting morphotypes, and on AMP-based solutions. Challenges in research and application of AMPs are described. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Peptides for Health Benefits 2020)
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Open AccessReview
Role of Bioactive Peptide Sequences in the Potential Impact of Dairy Protein Intake on Metabolic Health
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2020, 21(22), 8881; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijms21228881 - 23 Nov 2020
Viewed by 783
Abstract
For years, there has been an increasing move towards elucidating the complexities of how food can interplay with the signalling networks underlying energy homeostasis and glycaemic control. Dairy foods can be regarded as the greatest source of proteins and peptides with various health [...] Read more.
For years, there has been an increasing move towards elucidating the complexities of how food can interplay with the signalling networks underlying energy homeostasis and glycaemic control. Dairy foods can be regarded as the greatest source of proteins and peptides with various health benefits and are a well-recognized source of bioactive compounds. A number of dairy protein-derived peptide sequences with the ability to modulate functions related to the control of food intake, body weight gain and glucose homeostasis have been isolated and characterized. Their being active in vivo may be questionable mainly due to expected low bioavailability after ingestion, and hence their real contribution to the metabolic impact of dairy protein intake needs to be discussed. Some reports suggest that the differential effects of dairy proteins—in particular whey proteins—on mechanisms underlying energy balance and glucose-homeostasis may be attributed to their unique amino acid composition and hence the release of free amino acid mixtures enriched in essential amino acids (i.e., branched-chain-amino acids) upon digestion. Actually, the research reports reviewed in this article suggest that, among a number of dairy protein-derived peptides isolated and characterized as bioactive compounds in vitro, some peptides can be active in vivo post-oral administration through a local action in the gut, or, alternatively, a systemic action on specific molecular targets after entering the systemic circulation. Moreover, these studies highlight the importance of the enteroendocrine system in the cross talk between food proteins and the neuroendocrine network regulating energy balance. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Peptides for Health Benefits 2020)
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Open AccessReview
Food-Derived Opioid Peptides in Human Health: A Review
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2020, 21(22), 8825; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijms21228825 - 21 Nov 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1327
Abstract
World Health Organization data suggest that stress, depression, and anxiety have a noticeable prevalence and are becoming some of the most common causes of disability in the Western world. Stress-related disorders are considered to be a challenge for the healthcare system with their [...] Read more.
World Health Organization data suggest that stress, depression, and anxiety have a noticeable prevalence and are becoming some of the most common causes of disability in the Western world. Stress-related disorders are considered to be a challenge for the healthcare system with their great economic and social impact. The knowledge on these conditions is not very clear among many people, as a high proportion of patients do not respond to the currently available medications for targeting the monoaminergic system. In addition, the use of clinical drugs is also associated with various side effects such as vomiting, dizziness, sedation, nausea, constipation, and many more, which prevents their effective use. Therefore, opioid peptides derived from food sources are becoming one of the safe and natural alternatives because of their production from natural sources such as animals and plant proteins. The requirement for screening and considering dietary proteins as a source of bioactive peptides is highlighted to understand their potential roles in stress-related disorders as a part of a diet or as a drug complementing therapeutic prescription. In this review, we discussed current knowledge on opioid endogenous and exogenous peptides concentrating on their production, purification, and related studies. To fully understand their potential in stress-related conditions, either as a drug or as a therapeutic part of a diet prescription, the need to screen more dietary proteins as a source of novel opioid peptides is emphasized. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Peptides for Health Benefits 2020)
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Open AccessReview
Phoenixin: More than Reproductive Peptide
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2020, 21(21), 8378; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijms21218378 - 08 Nov 2020
Viewed by 668
Abstract
Phoenixin (PNX) neuropeptide is a cleaved product of the Smim20 protein. Its most common isoforms are the 14- and 20-amino acid peptides. The biological functions of PNX are mediated via the activation of the GPR173 receptor. PNX plays an important role in the [...] Read more.
Phoenixin (PNX) neuropeptide is a cleaved product of the Smim20 protein. Its most common isoforms are the 14- and 20-amino acid peptides. The biological functions of PNX are mediated via the activation of the GPR173 receptor. PNX plays an important role in the central nervous system (CNS) and in the female reproductive system where it potentiates LH secretion and controls the estrus cycle. Moreover, it stimulates oocyte maturation and increases the number of ovulated oocytes. Nevertheless, PNX not only regulates the reproduction system but also exerts anxiolytic, anti-inflammatory, and cell-protective effects. Furthermore, it is involved in behavior, food intake, sensory perception, memory, and energy metabolism. Outside the CNS, PNX exerts its effects on the heart, ovaries, adipose tissue, and pancreatic islets. This review presents all the currently available studies demonstrating the pleiotropic effects of PNX. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Peptides for Health Benefits 2020)
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Open AccessReview
Perspectives on the Potential Benefits of Antihypertensive Peptides towards Metabolic Syndrome
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2020, 21(6), 2192; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijms21062192 - 22 Mar 2020
Cited by 7 | Viewed by 1015
Abstract
In addition to the regulation of blood pressure, the renin-angiotensin system (RAS) also plays a key role in the onset and development of insulin resistance, which is central to metabolic syndrome (MetS). Due to the interplay between RAS and insulin resistance, antihypertensive compounds [...] Read more.
In addition to the regulation of blood pressure, the renin-angiotensin system (RAS) also plays a key role in the onset and development of insulin resistance, which is central to metabolic syndrome (MetS). Due to the interplay between RAS and insulin resistance, antihypertensive compounds may exert beneficial effects in the management of MetS. Food-derived bioactive peptides with RAS blocking properties can potentially improve adipose tissue dysfunction, glucose intolerance, and insulin resistance involved in the pathogenesis of MetS. This review discusses the pathophysiology of hypertension and the association between RAS and pathogenesis of the MetS. The effects of bioactive peptides with RAS modulating effects on other components of the MetS are discussed. While the in vivo reports on the effectiveness of antihypertensive peptides against MetS are encouraging, the exact mechanism by which these peptides infer their effects on glucose and lipid handling is mostly unknown. Therefore, careful design of experiments along with standardized physiological models to study the effect of antihypertensive peptides on insulin resistance and obesity could help to clarify this relationship. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Peptides for Health Benefits 2020)
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