Commenced in January 2007
Frequency: Monthly
Edition: International
Paper Count: 30

Search results for: kinases

30 Signaling of Leucine-Rich-Repeat Receptor-Like Kinases in Higher Plants

Authors: Man-Ho Oh


Membrane localized Leucine-Rich-Repeat Receptor-Like Kinases (LRR-RLKs) play crucial roles in plant growth and abiotic/biotic stress responses in higher plants including Arabidopsis and Brassica species. Among several Receptor-Like Kinases (RLKs), Leucine-Rich-Repeat Receptor-Like-Kinases (LRR-RLKs) are the major group of genes that play crucial roles related to growth, development and stress conditions in plant system. Since it is involved in several functional roles, it seems to be very important to investigate their roles in higher plants. We are particularly interested in brassinosteroid (BR) signaling, which is mediated by the BRASSINOSTEROID INSENSITIVE 1 (BRI1) receptor kinase and its co-receptor, BRI1-ASSOCIATED KINASE 1 (BAK1). Autophosphorylation of receptor kinases is recognized to be an important process in activation of signaling in higher plants. Although the plant receptors are generally classified as Ser/Thr protein kinases, many other receptor kinases including BRI1 and BAK1 are shown to autophosphorylate on Tyr residues in addition to Ser/Thr. As an interesting result, we determined that several 14-3-3 regulatory proteins bind to BRI1-CD and are phosphorylated by several receptor kinases in vitro, suggesting that BRI1 is critical for diverse signaling.

Keywords: autophosphorylation, brassinosteroid, BRASSINOSTEROID INSENSITIVE 1, BRI1-ASSOCIATED KINASE 1, Leucine-Rich-Repeat Receptor-Like Kinases (LRR-RLKs)

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29 Systematic Identification and Quantification of Substrate Specificity Determinants in Human Protein Kinases

Authors: Manuel A. Alonso-Tarajano, Roberto Mosca, Patrick Aloy


Protein kinases participate in a myriad of cellular processes of major biomedical interest. The in vivo substrate specificity of these enzymes is a process determined by several factors, and despite several years of research on the topic, is still far from being totally understood. In the present work, we have quantified the contributions to the kinase substrate specificity of i) the phosphorylation sites and their surrounding residues in the sequence and of ii) the association of kinases to adaptor or scaffold proteins. We have used position-specific scoring matrices (PSSMs), to represent the stretches of sequences phosphorylated by 93 families of kinases. We have found negative correlations between the number of sequences from which a PSSM is generated and the statistical significance and the performance of that PSSM. Using a subset of 22 statistically significant PSSMs, we have identified specificity determinant residues (SDRs) for 86% of the corresponding kinase families. Our results suggest that different SDRs can function as positive or negative elements of substrate recognition by the different families of kinases. Additionally, we have found that human proteins with known function as adaptors or scaffolds (kAS) tend to interact with a significantly large fraction of the substrates of the kinases to which they associate. Based on this characteristic we have identified a set of 279 potential adaptors/scaffolds (pAS) for human kinases, which is enriched in Pfam domains and functional terms tightly related to the proposed function. Moreover, our results show that for 74.6% of the kinase– pAS association found, the pAS colocalize with the substrates of the kinases they are associated to. Finally, we have found evidence suggesting that the association of kinases to adaptors and scaffolds, may contribute significantly to diminish the in vivo substrate crossed- specificity of protein kinases. In general, our results indicate the relevance of several SDRs for both the positive and negative selection of phosphorylation sites by kinase families and also suggest that the association of kinases to pAS proteins may be an important factor for the localization of the enzymes with their set of substrates.

Keywords: kinase, phosphorylation, substrate specificity, adaptors, scaffolds, cellular colocalization

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28 Effect of Serine/Threonine Kinases on Autophagy Mechanism

Authors: Ozlem Oral, Seval Kilic, Ozlem Yedier, Serap Dokmeci, Devrim Gozuacik


Autophagy is a degradation pathway, activating under stress conditions. It digests macromolecules, such as abnormal proteins and long-lived organelles by engulfing them and by subsequent delivery of the cargo to lysosomes. The members of the phospholipid-dependent serine/threonine kinases, involved in many signaling pathways, which are necessary for the regulation of cellular metabolic activation. Previous studies implicate that, serine/threonine kinases have crucial roles in the mechanism of many diseases depend on the activated and/or inactivated signaling pathway. Data indicates, the signaling pathways activated by serine/threonine kinases are also involved in activation of autophagy mechanism. However, the information about the effect of serine/threonine kinases on autophagy mechanism and the roles of these effects in disease formation is limited. In this study, we investigated the effect of activated serine/threonine kinases on autophagic pathway. We performed a commonly used autophagy technique, GFP-LC3 dot formation and by using microscopy analyses, we evaluated promotion and/or inhibition of autophagy in serine/threonine kinase-overexpressed fibroblasts as well as cancer cells. In addition, we carried out confocal microscopy analyses and examined autophagic flux by utilizing the differential pH sensitivities of RFP and GFP in mRFP-GFP-LC3 probe. Based on the shRNA-library based screening, we identified autophagy-related proteins affected by serine/threonine kinases. We further studied the involvement of serine/threonine kinases on the molecular mechanism of newly identified autophagy proteins and found that, autophagic pathway is indirectly controlled by serine/threonine kinases via specific autophagic proteins. Our data indicate the molecular connection between two critical cellular mechanisms, which have important roles in the formation of many disease pathologies, particularly cancer. This project is supported by TUBITAK-1001-Scientific and Technological Research Projects Funding Program, Project No: 114Z836.

Keywords: autophagy, GFP-LC3 dot formation assay, serine/threonine kinases, shRNA-library screening

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27 Synthesis of Quinazoline Derivatives as Selective Inhibitors of Cyclooxygenase-1 Enzyme

Authors: Marcela Dvorakova, Lenka Langhansova, Premysl Landa


A series of quinazoline derivatives bearing aromatic rings in 2- and 4-positions were prepared and tested for their biological activity. Firstly, the compounds were evaluated for their potential to inhibit various kinases, such as autophagy activating kinase ULK1, 3-Phosphoinositide-dependent kinase 1, and TANK-binding kinase 1. None of the compounds displayed any activity on these kinases. Secondly, the compounds were tested for their anti-inflammatory activity expressed as cyclooxygenase (COX) isoforms and 5-lipoxygenase (5-LOX) inhibition. Three of the compounds showed significant selectivity towards COX-1 isoform (COX-2/COX-1 SI = 20-30). They inhibited COX-1 in a single-digit µM range. There was also one compound that exhibited inhibitory activity towards all three tested enzymes in µM range (IC50COX-1 = 1.9 µM; IC50COX-2 and 5-LOX = 10.1µM. COX-1 inhibition was until recently considered undesirable due to COX-1 constitutive expression in most cell types and tissues. Thus, there are not many compounds known with selective COX-1 activity. However, it is now believed that COX-1 plays an important role in the pathophysiology of several acute and chronic disorders, including cancer or neurodegenerative diseases. Thus, the discovery of effective COX-1 selective inhibitors is desirable and important.

Keywords: cyclooxygenases, kinases, lipoxygenases, quinazolines

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26 Evaluation of Important Transcription Factors and Kinases in Regulating the Signaling Pathways of Cancer Stem Cells With Low and High Proliferation Rate Derived From Colorectal Cancer

Authors: Mohammad Hossein Habibi, Atena Sadat Hosseini


Colorectal cancer is the third leading cause of cancer-related death in the world. Colorectal cancer screening, early detection, and treatment programs could benefit from the most up-to-date information on the disease's burden, given the present worldwide trend of increasing colorectal cancer incidence. Tumor recurrence and resistance are exacerbated by the presence of chemotherapy-resistant cancer stem cells that can generate rapidly proliferating tumor cells. In addition, tumor cells can evolve chemoresistance through adaptation mechanisms. In this work, we used in silico analysis to select suitable GEO datasets. In this study, we compared slow-growing cancer stem cells with high-growth colorectal cancer-derived cancer stem cells. We then evaluated the signal pathways, transcription factors, and kinases associated with these two types of cancer stem cells. A total of 980 upregulated genes and 870 downregulated genes were clustered. MAPK signaling pathway, AGE-RAGE signaling pathway in diabetic complications, Fc gamma R-mediated phagocytosis, and Steroid biosynthesis signaling pathways were observed in upregulated genes. Also, caffeine metabolism, amino sugar and nucleotide sugar metabolism, TNF signaling pathway, and cytosolic DNA-sensing pathway were involved in downregulated genes. In the next step, we evaluated the best transcription factors and kinases in two types of cancer stem cells. In this regard, NR2F2, ZEB2, HEY1, and HDGF as transcription factors and PRDM5, SMAD, CBP, and KDM2B as critical kinases in upregulated genes. On the other hand, IRF1, SPDEF, NCOA1, and STAT1 transcription factors and CTNNB1 and CDH7 kinases were regulated low expression genes. Using bioinformatics analysis in the present study, we conducted an in-depth study of colorectal cancer stem cells at low and high growth rates so that we could take further steps to detect and even target these cells. Naturally, more additional tests are needed in this direction.

Keywords: colorectal cancer, bioinformatics analysis, transcription factor, kinases, cancer stem cells

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25 Investigation of Possible Behavioural and Molecular Effects of Mobile Phone Exposure on Rats

Authors: Ç. Gökçek-Saraç, Ş. Özen, N. Derin


The N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA)-dependent pathway is the major intracellular signaling pathway implemented in both short- and long-term memory formation in the hippocampus which is the most studied brain structure because of its well documented role in learning and memory. However, little is known about the effects of RF-EMR exposure on NMDA receptor signaling pathway including activation of protein kinases, notably Ca2+/calmodulin-dependent protein kinase II alpha (CaMKIIα). The aim of the present study was to investigate the effects of acute and chronic 900 MHz RF-EMR exposure on both passive avoidance behaviour and hippocampal levels of CaMKIIα and its phosphorylated form (pCaMKIIα). Rats were divided into the following groups: Sham rats, and rats exposed to 900 MHz RF-EMR for 2 h/day for 1 week (acute group) or 10 weeks (chronic group), respectively. Passive avoidance task was used as a behavioural method. The hippocampal levels of selected kinases were measured using Western Blotting technique. The results of passive avoidance task showed that both acute and chronic exposure to 900 MHz RF-EMR can impair passive avoidance behaviour with minor effects on chronic group of rats. The analysis of western blot data of selected protein kinases demonstrated that hippocampal levels of CaMKIIα and pCaMKIIα were significantly higher in chronic group of rats as compared to acute groups. Taken together, these findings demonstrated that different duration times (1 week vs 10 weeks) of 900 MHz RF-EMR exposure have different effects on both passive avoidance behaviour of rats and hippocampal levels of selected protein kinases.

Keywords: hippocampus, protein kinase, rat, RF-EMR

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24 Isolation and Identification of Cytotoxic Compounds from Fruticose Lichen Roccella montagnei, and It’s in Silico Docking Study against CDK-10

Authors: Tripti Mishra, Shipra Shukla, Sanjeev Meena, , Ruchi Singh, Mahesh Pal, D. K. Upreti, Dipak Datta


Roccella montagnei belongs to lichen family Roccelleceae growing luxuriantly along the coastal regions of India. As Roccella has been shown to be bioactive, we prepared methanolic extract and assessed its anticancer potential. The methanolic extract showed significant in vitro cytotoxic activity against four human cancer cell lines such as Colon (DLD-1, SW-620), Breast (MCF-7), Head and Neck (FaDu). This prompted us to isolate bioactive compounds through column chromatography. Two compounds Roccellic acid and Everninic acid have been isolated, out of which Everninic acid is reported for the first time. Both the compounds have been tested for in vitro cytotoxic activity in which Roccellic acid showed strong anticancer activity as compared to the Everninic acid. CDK-10 (Cyclin-dependent kinase) contributes to proliferation of cancer cells, and aberrant activity of these kinases has been reported in a wide variety of human cancers. These kinases, therefore, constitute biomarkers of proliferation and attractive pharmacological targets for the development of anticancer therapeutics. Therefore both the isolated compounds were tested for in silico molecular docking study against CDK-10 isomer enzyme to support the cytotoxic activity.

Keywords: cytotoxic activity, everninic acid, roccellic acid, R. montagnei

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23 Identifying Potential Insights for COVID-19 Pathogenesis and Therapeutics Using an Integrated Bioinformatics Analysis of Host Transcriptome

Authors: Salem El-Aarag, Amal Mahmoud, Mahmoud El Hefnawi


The molecular mechanisms underlying the pathogenesis of COVID-19 have not been fully discovered. This study aims to decipher potentially hidden parts of the pathogenesis of COVID-19, potential novel drug targets, and identify potential drug candidates. Two gene expression profiles were analyzed, and overlapping differentially expressed genes (DEGs) were selected for which top enriched transcription factors and kinases were identified, and pathway analysis was performed. Protein-protein interaction (PPI) of DEGs was constructed, hub genes were identified, and module analysis was also performed. DGIdb database was used to identify drugs for the potential targets (hub genes and the most enriched transcription factors and kinases for DEGs). A drug-potential target network was constructed, and drugs were ranked according to the degree. L1000FDW was used to identify drugs that can reverse transcriptional profiles of COVID-19. We identified drugs currently in clinical trials, others predicted by different methods, and novel potential drug candidates Entrectinib, Omeprazole, and Exemestane for combating COVID-19. Besides the well-known pathogenic pathways, it was found that axon guidance is a potential pathogenic pathway. Sema7A, which may exacerbate hypercytokinemia, is considered a potential novel drug target. Another potential novel pathway is related to TINF2 overexpression, which may induce potential telomere dysfunction and damage DNA that may exacerbate lung fibrosis. This study identified new potential insights regarding COVID-19 pathogenesis and treatment, which might help us improve our understanding of the mechanisms of COVID-19.

Keywords: COVID-19, systems biology, differentially expressed genes, functional module analysis, protein-protein interaction network, enrichment analysis, host transcriptome and drug repurposing

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22 Canthin-6-One Alkaloid Inhibits NF-κB and AP-1 Activity: An Inhibitory Action At Transcriptional Level

Authors: Fadia Gafri, Kathryn Mckintosh, Louise Young, Alan Harvey, Simon Mackay, Andrew Paul, Robin Plevin


Nuclear factor-kappa B (NF-κB) is a ubiquitous transcription factor found originally to play a key role in regulating inflammation. However considerable evidence links this pathway to the suppression of apoptosis, cellular transformation, proliferation and invasion (Aggarwal et al., 2006). Moreover, recent studies have also linked inflammation to cancer progression making NF-κB overall a promising therapeutic target for drug discovery (Dobrovolskaia & Kozlov, 2005). In this study we examined the effect of the natural product canthin-6-one (SU182) as part of a CRUK small molecule drug discovery programme for effects upon the NF-κB pathway. Initial studies demonstrated that SU182 was found to have good potency against the inhibitory kappa B kinases (IKKs) at 30M in vitro. However, at concentrations up to 30M, SU182 had no effect upon TNFα stimulated loss in cellular IκBα or p65 phosphorylation in the keratinocyte cell line NCTC2544. Nevertheless, 30M SU182 reduced TNF-α / PMA-induced NF-κB-linked luciferase reporter activity to (22.9 ± 5%) and (34.6± 3 %, P<0.001) respectively, suggesting an action downstream of IKK signalling. Indeed, SU182 neither decreased NF-κB-DNA binding as assayed by EMSA nor prevented the translocation of p65 (NF-κB) to the nucleus assessed by immunofluorescence and subcellular fractionation. In addition to the inhibition of transcriptional activity of TNFα-induced NF-κB reporter activity SU182 significantly reduced PMA-induced AP-1-linked luciferase reporter activity to about (48± 9% at 30M, P<0.001) . This mode of inhibition was not sufficient to prevent the activation of NF-κB dependent induction of other proteins such as COX-2 and iNOS, or activated MAP kinases (p38, JNK and ERK1/2) in LPS stimulated RAW 264.7 macrophages. Taken together these data indicate the potential for SU182 to interfere with the transcription factors NF-κB and AP-1 at transcriptional level. However, no potential anti-inflammatory effect was indicated, further investigation for other NF-κB dependent proteins linked to survival are also required to identify the exact mechanism of action.

Keywords: Canthin-6-one, NF-κB, AP-1, phosphorylation, Nuclear translocation, DNA-binding activity, inflammatory proteins.

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21 Characterization of WNK2 Role on Glioma Cells Vesicular Traffic

Authors: Viviane A. O. Silva, Angela M. Costa, Glaucia N. M. Hajj, Ana Preto, Aline Tansini, Martin Roffé, Peter Jordan, Rui M. Reis


Autophagy is a recycling and degradative system suggested to be a major cell death pathway in cancer cells. Autophagy pathway is interconnected with the endocytosis pathways sharing the same ultimate lysosomal destination. Lysosomes are crucial regulators of cell homeostasis, responsible to downregulate receptor signalling and turnover. It seems highly likely that derailed endocytosis can make major contributions to several hallmarks of cancer. WNK2, a member of the WNK (with-no-lysine [K]) subfamily of protein kinases, had been found downregulated by its promoter hypermethylation, and has been proposed to act as a specific tumour-suppressor gene in brain tumors. Although some contradictory studies indicated WNK2 as an autophagy modulator, its role in cancer cell death is largely unknown. There is also growing evidence for additional roles of WNK kinases in vesicular traffic. Aim: To evaluate the role of WNK2 in autophagy and endocytosis on glioma context. Methods: Wild-type (wt) A172 cells (WNK2 promoter-methylated), and A172 transfected either with an empty vector (Ev) or with a WNK2 expression vector, were used to assess the cellular basal capacities to promote autophagy, through western blot and flow-cytometry analysis. Additionally, we evaluated the effect of WNK2 on general endocytosis trafficking routes by immunofluorescence. Results: The re-expression of ectopic WNK2 did not interfere with autophagy-related protein light chain 3 (LC3-II) expression levels as well as did not promote mTOR signaling pathway alteration when compared with Ev or wt A172 cells. However, the restoration of WNK2 resulted in a marked increase (8 to 92,4%) of Acidic Vesicular Organelles formation (AVOs). Moreover, our results also suggest that WNK2 cells promotes delay in uptake and internalization rate of cholera toxin B and transferrin ligands. Conclusions: The restoration of WNK2 interferes in vesicular traffic during endocytosis pathway and increase AVOs formation. This results also suggest the role of WNK2 in growth factor receptor turnover related to cell growth and homeostasis and associates one more time, WNK2 silencing contribution in genesis of gliomas.

Keywords: autophagy, endocytosis, glioma, WNK2

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20 Germline Mutations of Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinases Pathway Signaling Pathway Genes in Children

Authors: Nouha Bouayed Abdelmoula, Rim Louati, Nawel Abdellaoui, Balkiss Abdelmoula, Oldez Kaabi, Walid Smaoui, Samir Aloulou


Background and Aims: Cardiofaciocutaneous syndrome (CFC) is an autosomal dominant disorder with the vast majority of cases arising by a new mutation of BRAF, MEK1, MEK2, or rarely, KRAS genes. Here, we report a rare Tunisian case of CFC syndrome for whom we identify SOS1 mutation. Methods: Genomic DNA was obtained from peripheral blood collected in an EDTA tube and extracted from leukocytes using the phenol/chloroform method according to standard protocols. High resolution melting (HRM) analysis for screening of mutations in the entire coding sequence of PTPN11 was conducted first. Then, HRM assays to look for hot spot mutations coding regions of the other genes of the RAS-MAPK pathway (RAt Sarcoma viral oncogene homolog Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinases Pathway): SOS1, SHOC2, KRAS, RAF1, KRAS, NRAS, CBL, BRAF, MEK1, MEK2, HRAS, and RIT1, were applied. Results: Heterozygous SOS1 point mutation clustered in exon 10, which encodes for the PH domain of SOS1, was identified: c.1655 G > A. The patient was a 9-year-old female born from a consanguineous couple. She exhibited pulmonic valvular stenosis as congenital heart disease. She had facial features and other malformations of Noonan syndrome, including macrocephaly, hypertelorism, ptosis, downslanting palpebral fissures, sparse eyebrows, a short and broad nose with upturned tip, low-set ears, high forehead commonly associated with bitemporal narrowing and prominent supraorbital ridges, short and/or webbed neck and short stature. However, the phenotype is also suggestive of CFC syndrome with the presence of more severe ectodermal abnormalities, including curly hair, keloid scars, hyperkeratotic skin, deep plantar creases, and delayed permanent dentition with agenesis of the right maxillary first molar. Moreover, the familial history of the patient revealed recurrent brain malignancies in the paternal family and epileptic disease in the maternal family. Conclusions: This case report of an overlapping RASopathy associated with SOS1 mutation and familial history of brain tumorigenesis is exceptional. The evidence suggests that RASopathies are truly cancer-prone syndromes, but the magnitude of the cancer risk and the types of cancer partially overlap.

Keywords: cardiofaciocutaneous syndrome, CFC, SOS1, brain cancer, germline mutation

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19 Tenofovir-Amino Acid Conjugates Act as Polymerase Substrates: Implications for Avoiding Cellular Phosphorylation in the Discovery of Nucleotide Analogs

Authors: Weijie Gu, Sergio Martinez, Hoai Nguyen, Hongtao Xu, Piet Herdewijn, Steven De Jonghe, Kalyan Das


Nucleotide analogs are used for treating viral infections such as HIV, hepatitis B, hepatitis C, influenza, and SARS-CoV-2. To become polymerase substrates, a nucleotide analog must be phosphorylated by cellular kinases, which are rate-limiting. The goal of this study is to develop dNTP/NTP analogs directly from nucleotides. Tenofovir (TFV) analogs were synthesized by conjugating with natural or unnatural amino acids. It demonstrates that some conjugates act as dNTP analogs, and HIV-1 reverse transcriptase (RT) catalytically incorporates the TFV part as the chain terminator. X-ray structures in complex with HIV-1 RT/dsDNA showed binding of the conjugates at the polymerase active site, however, in different modes in the presence of Mg²⁺ vs. Mn²⁺ ions. The adaptability of the compounds is seemingly essential for catalytic incorporation of TFV by RT. 4d with a carboxyl sidechain demonstrated the highest incorporation. 4e showed weak incorporation and rather behaved as a dNTP-competitive inhibitor. This result advocates the feasibility of designing NTP/dNTP analogs by chemical substitutions to nucleotide analogs.

Keywords: dNTP analogs, nucleotide analogs, polymerase, tenofovir, X-ray structure

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18 The Overexpression of Horsegram MURLK Improves Regulation of Cell Death and Defense Responses to Microbial Pathogens

Authors: Shikha Masand, Sudesh Kumar Yadav


Certain protein kinases have been shown to be crucial for plant cell signaling pathways associated with plant immune responses. Here we identified a horsegram [Macrotyloma uniflorum (Lam.) Verdc.] malectin-like leucine rich receptor-like protein kinase (RLK) gene MuRLK. The functional MuRLK protein preferentially binds to mannose and N-acetyl glucosamine residues. MuRLK exists in the cytoplasm and also localizes to the plasma membrane of plant cells via its N-terminus. Over-expression of MuRLK in Arabidopsis enhances the basal resistance to infection with Pseudomonas syringae pv. tomato, Alternaria brassicicola and Hyaloperonospora arabidopsidis, are associated with elevated ROS bursts, MAPK activation, thus ultimately leading to hypersensitive cell death. Moreover, salicylic acid-dependent and jasmonic acid-dependent defense responses are also enhanced in the MuRLK-overexpressed plants that lead to HR-induced cell death. Together, these results suggest that MuRLK plays a key role in the regulation of plant cell death, early and late defense responses after the recognition of microbial pathogens.

Keywords: horsegram, Pseudomonas syringae pv. tomato, MuRLK, ROS burst, cell death, plant defense

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17 Regulation of RON-Receptor Tyrosine Kinase Functions by Epstein-Barr-Virus (EBV) Nuclear Antigen 3C

Authors: Roshika Tyagi, Shuvomoy Banerjee


Among various diseases, cancer has become a huge threat to human beings globally. In the context of viral infection, Epstein–Barr virus (EBV) infection is ubiquitous in nature world-wide as well as in India. Recepteur d’Origine Nantais (RON) receptor tyrosine kinase is overexpressed in Lymphoblastoid cell lines (LCLs) but undetectable in primary B-cells. Biologically, RON expression was found to be essential for EBV transformed LCLs proliferation. In our study, we investigated whether EBV latent antigen EBNA3C is playing a crucial role in regulating RON receptor tyrosine kinase function in EBV-induced malignancies. Interestingly, we observed that expression pattern of RON was modulated by EBNA3C in EBV transformed LCLs compared with EBV negative BJAB cell line by PCR and western blot analysis. Moreover, in the absence of EBNA3C, RON expression was found low in western blot and immunofluorescence analysis and cell proliferation rate was significantly reduced in LCLs by cell viability assays. Therefore, our study clearly indicating the potential role of EBNA3C expressed in EBV-infected B-cells for modulating the functions of oncogenic kinases that leads to EBV induced B-cell transformation.

Keywords: apoptosis, cell proliferation, Epstein–barr virus, receptor tyrosine kinase

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16 Exploring Time-Series Phosphoproteomic Datasets in the Context of Network Models

Authors: Sandeep Kaur, Jenny Vuong, Marcel Julliard, Sean O'Donoghue


Time-series data are useful for modelling as they can enable model-evaluation. However, when reconstructing models from phosphoproteomic data, often non-exact methods are utilised, as the knowledge regarding the network structure, such as, which kinases and phosphatases lead to the observed phosphorylation state, is incomplete. Thus, such reactions are often hypothesised, which gives rise to uncertainty. Here, we propose a framework, implemented via a web-based tool (as an extension to Minardo), which given time-series phosphoproteomic datasets, can generate κ models. The incompleteness and uncertainty in the generated model and reactions are clearly presented to the user via the visual method. Furthermore, we demonstrate, via a toy EGF signalling model, the use of algorithmic verification to verify κ models. Manually formulated requirements were evaluated with regards to the model, leading to the highlighting of the nodes causing unsatisfiability (i.e. error causing nodes). We aim to integrate such methods into our web-based tool and demonstrate how the identified erroneous nodes can be presented to the user via the visual method. Thus, in this research we present a framework, to enable a user to explore phosphorylation proteomic time-series data in the context of models. The observer can visualise which reactions in the model are highly uncertain, and which nodes cause incorrect simulation outputs. A tool such as this enables an end-user to determine the empirical analysis to perform, to reduce uncertainty in the presented model - thus enabling a better understanding of the underlying system.

Keywords: κ-models, model verification, time-series phosphoproteomic datasets, uncertainty and error visualisation

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15 Design and Synthesis of Some Oxadiazole Bearing Benzimidazole Derivatives as Potential Epidermal Growth Factor Receptor Inhibitors

Authors: Ismail Celik, Gulgun Ayhan Kilcigil, Berna Guven, Zumra Kara, Arzu Onay-Besikci


Epidermal Growth Factor Receptor is the cell-surface receptor of the ErbB (erythroblastic leukemia viral oncogene homologue receptors) family of tyrosine kinases. It plays a vital role in regulating the proliferation and differentiation of cells. However, a variety of mechanisms, such as EGFR expression, mutation, and ligand-dependent receptor dimerization, are associated with the development of various activated EGFR tumors. EGFR is highly expressed in most solid tumors, including breast, head and neck cancer, non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), renal, ovarian, and colon cancers. Thus, specific EGFR inhibition plays one of the key roles in cancer treatment. The compounds used in the treatment as tyrosine kinase inhibitors are known to contain the benzimidazole isosterium indole, pazopanib, and axitinibin indazole rings. In addition, benzimidazoles have been shown to exhibit protein kinase inhibitory activity in addition to their different biological activities.Based on these data, it was planned and synthesized of some oxadiazole bearing benzimidazole derivatives [N-cyclohexyl-5-((2-phenyl/substitutedphenyl-1H-benzo[d]imidazole-1-yl) methyl)-1,3,4-oxadiazole-2-amine]. EGFR kinase inhibitory efficiency of the synthesized compounds was determined by comparing them with a known kinase inhibitor erlotinib in vitro, and two of the compounds bearing phenyl (19a) and 3,4-dibenzyloxyphenyl (21a) ring exhibited significant activities.

Keywords: benzimidazole, EGFR kinase inhibitory, oxadiazole, synthesis

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14 Application of Computational Chemistry for Searching Anticancer Derivatives of 2-Phenazinamines as Bcr-Abl Tyrosine Kinase Inhibitors

Authors: Gajanan M. Sonwane


The computational studies on 2-phenazinamines with their protein targets have been carried out to design compounds with potential anticancer activity. This strategy of designing compounds possessing selectivity over specific tyrosine kinase has been achieved through G-QSAR and molecular docking studies. The objective of this research has been to design newer 2-phenazinamine derivatives as Bcr-Abl tyrosine kinase inhibitors by G-QSAR, molecular docking studies followed by wet-lab studies along with evaluation of their anticancer potential. Computational chemistry was done by using VLife MDS 4.3 and Autodock 4.2 followed by wet-lab experiments for synthesizing 2-phenazinamine derivatives. The chemical structures of ligands in 2D were drawn by employing Chemdraw 2D Ultra 8.0 and were converted into 3D. These were optimized by using a semi-empirical method called MOPAC. The protein structure was retrieved from RCSC protein data bank as a PDB file. The binding interactions of protein and ligands were done by using PYMOL. The molecular properties of the designed compounds were predicted in silico by using Osiris property explorer. The parent compound 2-phenazinamine was synthesized by reduction of 2, 4-dinitro-N-phenyl-benzenamine in the presence of tin chloride followed by cyclization in the presence of nitrobenzene and magnesium sulfate. The derivatization at the amino function of 2-phenazinamine was performed by treating parent compound with various aldehydes in the presence of dicyclohexylcarbodiimide (DCC) and urea to afford 2-(2-chlorophenyl)-3-(phenazine-2-yl) thiazolidine-4-one. Synthesized 39 novel derivatives of 2-phenazinamine and performed antioxidant activity, anti antiproliferative on the bulb of onion and anticancer activity on cell line showing significant competition with marked blockbuster drug imatinib.

Keywords: computer-aided drug design, tyrosin kinases, anticancer, docking

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13 Acupoint Injection of High Concentration of Glucose Attenuates Mice Chronic Pain and Depression Comorbidity

Authors: Chanya Inprasit, Yi-Wen Lin


Inflammation causes changes of peripheral and central nervous system properties, affecting both neuronal and non-neuronal cells, resulting in inflammatory pain. Acupoint injection (AI) was developed in the 1950s and has been widely used for relieving pain. It is an acupoint-stimulating technique that utilizes anatomically based meridians derived from Chinese medicine theory. AI has been accepted as an effective treatment and is thought to display superior results when compared to traditional acupuncture methods. However, the mechanism of AI needs to be ratified by more scientific evidence in order to support the theory and its therapeutic development. In this study, we explored the effect of AI on the comorbidity of chronic pain and depression. Mice hindpaw was injected by complete Freund’s adjuvant (CFA) to induce the condition of chronic pain. Measurements of mechanical and thermal hyperalgesia and depression-like behavior were analyzed. The results indicated a positive tendency to AI treatment. The comorbidity of chronic pain and depression was investigated with relation to transient receptor potential V1 (TRPV1) mechanism through the use of TRPV1 gene deletion. The expression of nociceptors such as voltage-gated sodium channels (Navs) or TRPV1, was significantly down-regulated by AI. The expression of inflammation-activated molecules: astrocytic marker glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP), the microglial marker Iba-1, S100B, and related kinases, were reversed by AI in both the peripheral and central nervous system. Taken together, these data provided a detailed molecular mechanism of AI-induced analgesia and anti-inflammatory properties. This finding may be utilized for clinical practice to treat chronic pain and depression comorbidity.

Keywords: inflammatory pain, acupoint injection, TRPV1, GFAP, S100B

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12 Design, Synthesis and Pharmacological Investigation of Novel 2-Phenazinamine Derivatives as a Mutant BCR-ABL (T315I) Inhibitor

Authors: Gajanan M. Sonwane


Nowadays, the entire pharmaceutical industry is facing the challenge of increasing efficiency and innovation. The major hurdles are the growing cost of research and development and a concurrent stagnating number of new chemical entities (NCEs). Hence, the challenge is to select the most druggable targets and to search the equivalent drug-like compounds, which also possess specific pharmacokinetic and toxicological properties that allow them to be developed as drugs. The present research work includes the studies of developing new anticancer heterocycles by using molecular modeling techniques. The heterocycles synthesized through such methodology are much effective as various physicochemical parameters have been already studied and the structure has been optimized for its best fit in the receptor. Hence, on the basis of the literature survey and considering the need to develop newer anticancer agents, new phenazinamine derivatives were designed by subjecting the nucleus to molecular modeling, viz., GQSAR analysis and docking studies. Simultaneously, these designed derivatives were subjected to in silico prediction of biological activity through PASS studies and then in silico toxicity risk assessment studies. In PASS studies, it was found that all the derivatives exhibited a good spectrum of biological activities confirming its anticancer potential. The toxicity risk assessment studies revealed that all the derivatives obey Lipinski’s rule. Amongst these series, compounds 4c, 5b and 6c were found to possess logP and drug-likeness values comparable with the standard Imatinib (used for anticancer activity studies) and also with the standard drug methotrexate (used for antimitotic activity studies). One of the most notable mutations is the threonine to isoleucine mutation at codon 315 (T315I), which is known to be resistant to all currently available TKI. Enzyme assay planned for confirmation of target selective activity.

Keywords: drug design, tyrosine kinases, anticancer, Phenazinamine

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11 Acanthopanax koreanum and Major Ingredient, Impressic Acid, Possess Matrix Metalloproteinase-13 Down-Regulating Capacity and Protect Cartilage Destruction

Authors: Hyun Lim, Dong Sook Min, Han Eul Yun, Kil Tae Kim, Ya Nan Sun, Young Ho Kim, Hyun Pyo Kim


Matrix metalloproteinase (MMP)-13 has an important role for degrading cartilage materials under inflammatory conditions such as arthritis. Since the 70% ethanol extract of Acanthopanax koreanum inhibited MMP-13 expression in IL-1β-treated human chondrocyte cell line, SW1353, two major constituents including acanthoic acid and impressic acid were initially isolated from the same plant materials and their MMP-13 down-regulating capacity was examined. In IL-1β-treated SW1353 cells, acanthoic acid and impressic acid significantly and concentration-dependently inhibited MMP-13 expression at 10 – 100 μM and 0.5 – 10 μM, respectively. The potent one, impressic acid, was found to inhibit MMP-13 expression by blocking the phosphorylation of signal transducer and activator of transcription-1/-2 (STAT-1/-2) and activation of c-Jun and c-Fos among cellular signaling pathway involved, but did not affect the activation of mitogen-activated protein kinases (MAPKs) and nuclear transcription factor-κB (NF-κB). Further, impressic acid was also found to inhibit the expression of MMP-13 mRNA (47.7% inhibition at 10 μM), the glycosaminoglycan release (42.2% reduction at 10 μM) and proteoglycan loss in IL-1-treated rabbit cartilage explants culture. For a further study, 21 impressic acid derivatives were isolated from the same plant materials and their suppressive activities against MMP-13 expression were examined. Among the derivatives, 3α-hydroxy-lup-20(29)-en-23-oxo,28-oic acid, (20R)-3α-hydroxy-29-dimethoxylupan-23,28-dioic acid, acankoreoside F and acantrifoside A clearly down-regulated MMP-13 expression, but impressic acid being most potent. All these results suggest that impressic acid, 3α-hydroxy-lup-20(29)-en-23-oxo,28-oic acid, (20R)-3α-hydroxy-29-dimethoxylupan-23,28-dioic acid, acankoreoside F, acantrifoside A and A. koreanum may have a potential for therapeutic agents to prevent cartilage degradation possibly by inhibiting matrix protein degradation.

Keywords: acanthoic acid, Acanthopanax koreanum, cartilage, impressic acid, matrix metalloproteinase

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10 Protective Effect of Vitamin D on Cardiac Apoptosis in Obese Rats

Authors: Kadeejah Alsolami, Zainab Alrefay, Husaam Awad


Obesity and vitamin D deficiency have both been related to cardiovascular disease. The present work aimed to investigate the possible protective effect of vitamin D on cardiac apoptosis in a rat model of dietary-induced obesity. Methods: 30 male Wistar rats included in this study. They were allocated into 4 groups: Control (n=5), animal were fed standard diet for 3 months: Control + vitamin D (VD) (n=5),animals were fed a standard diet with 400IU VD/kg for 3 months: hypercaloric diets group (n=10), animals were fed a high fat diet for 3 months: hypercaloric diet with VD group (n=10), animals were fed a high fat diet with 400IU VD/kg for 3 months. At the beginning of the experiment, the weight and length were measured to assess body mass index (BMI) and repeated every 45 days. Food intake and body weight were monitored throughout the study period. Then rats were sacrificed and heart tissues collected for Quantitative Real-time polymerase chain reaction (qRT-PCR). qRT-PCR used to detect different genetic markers of apoptosis (anti-apoptotic gene (BCL2), a pro-apoptotic gene(BAX), pro-apoptotic genes (FAS, FAS-L), tumour necrosis factor (TNF), mitogen-activated protein kinases (MAPK). Results: FAS and FAS-L gene expression were significantly upregulated in rats fed with high fat diet. And FAS-L gene expression was significantly upregulated in all groups on comparison with control. Whereas Bax gene expression was significantly downregulated in rats fed with high-fat diet supplied with vitamin D. TNF was significantly upregulated in rats fed with high-fat diet treated with vitamin D. MAPK was significantly upregulated in rats fed with high fat diet group, and in rats fed with high-fat diet supplied with vitamin D. Conclusion: The cardiac apoptotic pathways were more activated in rats fed with high-fat than lean rats. And vitamin D protect the heart from the cardiac mitochondrial-dependent apoptotic pathway.

Keywords: apoptosis, heart, obesity, Vitamin D

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9 Reduction of Transient Receptor Potential Vanilloid 1 for Chronic Pain and Depression Co-Morbidity through Electroacupuncture and Gene Deletion in Mice Brain

Authors: Bernice Lottering, Yi-Wen Lin


Chronic pain and depression have an estimated 80% rate of comorbidity with unsatisfactory treatment interventions signifying the importance of developing effective therapeutic interventions for a serious chronic condition affecting a large majority of the global population. Chronic pain is defined as persistent pain presenting for over 3 months. This disease state increases the risk of developing depression in comparison to healthy individuals. In the current study, complete Freund’s adjuvant (CFA) was used to induce cell-mediated chronic inflammatory pain in a murine model. Significant mechanical and thermal hyperalgesia was induced, alongside observable depression-like behaviors. These conditions were attenuated through the use of electroacupuncture (EA). Similarly, these effects were also investigated with respect to the transient receptor potential vanilloid 1 (TRPV1), by analyzing the effects of TRPV1 gene deletion on the comorbidity of chronic pain and depression. The expression of the TRPV1 inflammatory response, and related downstream molecules, including protein kinases (PKs), mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPKs), and transcriptional factors, were significantly reduced in the thalamus, prefrontal cortex (PFC), hippocampus, and periaqueductal gray (PAG) of CFA-treated mice. In addition, phosphorylated N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) receptor 1 was also found to be reduced in the aforementioned areas, suggesting potential application and validity in a clinical setting. Our study determined the prospective therapeutic effects of EA in the treatment of chronic inflammatory pain and depression comorbidity and provides a novel and detailed mechanism underlying EA-mediated analgesia. These findings may be relevant in the utilization of clinical intervention approaches related to chronic pain and depression comorbidity.

Keywords: chronic pain, depression, NMDA, prefrontal cortex, TRPV1

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8 Gene Expression Signature-Based Chemical Genomic to Identify Potential Therapeutic Compounds for Colorectal Cancer

Authors: Yen-Hao Su, Wan-Chun Tang, Ya-Wen Cheng, Peik Sia, Chi-Chen Huang, Yi-Chao Lee, Hsin-Yi Jiang, Ming-Heng Wu, I-Lu Lai, Jun-Wei Lee, Kuen-Haur Lee


There is a wide range of drugs and combinations under investigation and/or approved over the last decade to treat colorectal cancer (CRC), but the 5-year survival rate remains poor at stages II–IV. Therefore, new, more efficient drugs still need to be developed that will hopefully be included in first-line therapy or overcome resistance when it appears, as part of second- or third-line treatments in the near future. In this study, we revealed that heat shock protein 90 (Hsp90) inhibitors have high therapeutic potential in CRC according to combinative analysis of NCBI's Gene Expression Omnibus (GEO) repository and chemical genomic database of Connectivity Map (CMap). We found that second generation Hsp90 inhibitor, NVP-AUY922, significantly down regulated the activities of a broad spectrum of kinases involved in regulating cell growth arrest and death of NVPAUY922-sensitive CRC cells. To overcome NVP-AUY922-induced upregulation of survivin expression which causes drug insensitivity, we found that combining berberine (BBR), a herbal medicine with potency in inhibiting survivin expression, with NVP-AUY922 resulted in synergistic antiproliferative effects for NVP-AUY922-sensitive and -insensitive CRC cells. Furthermore, we demonstrated that treatment of NVP-AUY922-insensitive CRC cells with the combination of NVP-AUY922 and BBR caused cell growth arrest through inhibiting CDK4 expression and induction of microRNA-296-5p (miR-296-5p)-mediated suppression of Pin1–β-catenin–cyclin D1 signaling pathway. Finally, we found that the expression level of Hsp90 in tumor tissues of CRC was positively correlated with CDK4 and Pin1 expression levels. Taken together, these results indicate that combination of NVP-AUY922 and BBR therapy can inhibit multiple oncogenic signaling pathways of CRC.

Keywords: berberine, colorectal cancer, connectivity map, heat shock protein 90 inhibitor

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7 Results of the Safety Evaluation of Cancer Vaccines Dealing with Novel Targets for Cancer Immunotherapy

Authors: Axel Mancebo, Ana M. Bada, Angel Casacó, Bárbara González, Avelina León, María E. Arteaga, Consuelo González, Belinda Sánchez, Adriana Carr, Nuris Ledón, Arianna Iglesias


Despite the many preventive and therapeutic modalities aimed at curing cancer, it remains as a serious world health problem. Promising recent developments suggest that cancer immunotherapy may be the next great hope for cancer treatment. EGFRs are receptor tyrosine kinases and it is considered an important therapeutic target related with tumor progression, and several types of molecular therapies, including monoclonal antibodies, small molecules, and vaccines, have been developed to target the HER family of receptors. On the other hand, gangliosides are membrane glycosphingolipids that contain two variants of sialic acid, the N-acetylated (NeuAc) and the N-glycolylated (NeuGc) variant. The high expression of this antigen-specific molecule has been associated with malignant tumor progression and immunosuppressive mechanisms, so ganglioside could be considered as the target for cancer immunotherapy. We have been working for several years in the safety evaluation of cancer vaccines targeting these two systems, the EGF receptor and ganglioside. We presented in this work results of repeated dose toxicity studies performed in Sprague Dawley rats and Cynomolgus monkeys, including clinical observations, body weight and rectal temperature measuring, clinical pathology analysis, gross necropsy and histological examination in rodent studies, and immunological evaluation. Immunizations were capable of inducing mainly inflammatory effects at the injection site, with findings largely attributable to the adjuvants used and probably enhanced by the immunological properties of the antigens. In general, these vaccines were shown to be well tolerated, and these studies in relevant species allow treating cancer patients with tumors during long periods with relative weight safety margin.

Keywords: cancer vaccines, safety, toxicology, rats, non human primates

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6 Curative Role of Bromoenol Lactone, an Inhibitor of Phospholipase A2 Enzyme, during Cigarette Smoke Condensate Induced Anomalies in Lung Epithelium

Authors: Subodh Kumar, Sanjeev Kumar Sharma, Gaurav Kaushik, Pramod Avti, Phulen Sarma, Bikash Medhi, Krishan Lal Khanduja


Background: It is well known that cigarette smoke is one of the causative factors in various lung diseases especially cancer. Carcinogens and oxidant molecules present in cigarette smoke not only damage the cellular constituents (lipids, proteins, DNA) but may also regulate the molecular pathways involved in inflammation and cancer. Continuous oxidative stress caused by the constituents of cigarette smoke leads to higher PhospholipaseA₂ (PLA₂) activity, resulting in elevated levels of secondary metabolites whose role is well defined in cancer. To reduce the burden of chronic inflammation as well as oxidative stress, and higher levels of secondary metabolites, we checked the curative potential of PLA₂ inhibitor Bromoenol Lactone (BEL) during continuous exposure of cigarette smoke condensate (CSC). Aim: To check the therapeutic potential of Bromoenol Lactone (BEL), an inhibitor of PhospholipaseA₂s, in pathways of CSC-induced changes in type I and type II alveolar epithelial cells. Methods: Effect of BEL on CSC-induced PLA2 activity were checked using colorimetric assay, cellular toxicity using cell viability assay, membrane integrity using fluorescein di-acetate (FDA) uptake assay, reactive oxygen species (ROS) levels and apoptosis markers through flow cytometry, and cellular regulation using MAPKinases levels, in lung epithelium. Results: BEL significantly mimicked CSC-induced PLA₂ activity, ROS levels, apoptosis, and kinases level whereas improved cellular viability and membrane integrity. Conclusions: Current observations revealed that BEL may be a potential therapeutic agent during Cigarette smoke-induced anomalies in lung epithelium.

Keywords: cigarette smoke condensate, phospholipase A₂, oxidative stress, alveolar epithelium, bromoenol lactone

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5 Hierarchical Zeolites as Potential Carriers of Curcumin

Authors: Ewelina Musielak, Agnieszka Feliczak-Guzik, Izabela Nowak


Based on the latest data, it is expected that the substances of therapeutic interest used will be as natural as possible. Therefore, active substances with the highest possible efficacy and low toxicity are sought. Among natural substances with therapeutic effects, those of plant origin stand out. Curcumin isolated from the Curcuma longa plant has proven to be particularly important from a medical point of view. Due to its ability to regulate many important transcription factors, cytokines, and protein kinases, curcumin has found use as an anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, antiproliferative, antiangiogenic, and anticancer agent. The unfavorable properties of curcumin, such as low solubility, poor bioavailability, and rapid degradation under neutral or alkaline pH conditions, limit its clinical application. These problems can be solved by combining curcumin with suitable carriers such as hierarchical zeolites. This is a new class of materials that exhibit several advantages. Hierarchical zeolites used as drug carriers enable delayed release of the active ingredient and promote drug transport to the desired tissues and organs. In addition, hierarchical zeolites play an important role in regulating micronutrient levels in the body and have been used successfully in cancer diagnosis and therapy. To apply curcumin to hierarchical zeolites synthesized from commercial FAU zeolite, solutions containing curcumin, carrier and acetone were prepared. The prepared mixtures were then stirred on a magnetic stirrer for 24 h at room temperature. The curcumin-filled hierarchical zeolites were drained into a glass funnel, where they were washed three times with acetone and distilled water, after which the obtained material was air-dried until completely dry. In addition, the effect of piperine addition to zeolite carrier containing a sufficient amount of curcumin was studied. The resulting products were weighed and the percentage of pure curcumin in the hierarchical zeolite was calculated. All the synthesized materials were characterized by several techniques: elemental analysis, transmission electron microscopy (TEM), Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy, Fourier transform infrared (FT-IR), N2 adsorption, and X-ray diffraction (XRD) and thermogravimetric analysis (TGA). The aim of the presented study was to improve the biological activity of curcumin by applying it to hierarchical zeolites based on FAU zeolite. The results showed that the loading efficiency of curcumin into hierarchical zeolites based on commercial FAU-type zeolite is enhanced by modifying the zeolite carrier itself. The hierarchical zeolites proved to be very good and efficient carriers of plant-derived active ingredients such as curcumin.

Keywords: carriers of active substances, curcumin, hierarchical zeolites, incorporation

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4 Profiling of the Cell-Cycle Related Genes in Response to Efavirenz, a Non-Nucleoside Reverse Transcriptase Inhibitor in Human Lung Cancer

Authors: Rahaba Marima, Clement Penny


The Health-related quality of life (HRQoL) for HIV positive patients has improved since the introduction of the highly active antiretroviral treatment (HAART). However, in the present HAART era, HIV co-morbidities such as lung cancer, a non-AIDS (NAIDS) defining cancer have been documented to be on the rise. Under normal physiological conditions, cells grow, repair and proliferate through the cell-cycle as cellular homeostasis is important in the maintenance and proper regulation of tissues and organs. Contrarily, the deregulation of the cell-cycle is a hallmark of cancer, including lung cancer. The association between lung cancer and the use of HAART components such as Efavirenz (EFV) is poorly understood. This study aimed at elucidating the effects of EFV on the cell-cycle genes’ expression in lung cancer. For this purpose, the human cell-cycle gene array composed of 84 genes was evaluated on both normal lung fibroblasts (MRC-5) cells and adenocarcinoma (A549) lung cells, in response to 13µM EFV or 0.01% vehicle. The ±2 up or down fold change was used as a basis of target selection, with p < 0.05. Additionally, RT-qPCR was done to validate the gene array results. Next, In-silico bio-informatics tools, Search Tool for the Retrieval of Interacting Genes/Proteins (STRING), Reactome, Kyoto Encyclopedia of Genes and Genomes (KEGG) pathway and Ingenuity Pathway Analysis (IPA) were used for gene/gene interaction studies as well as to map the molecular and biological pathways influenced by the identified targets. Interestingly, the DNA damage response (DDR) pathway genes such as p53, Ataxia telangiectasia mutated and Rad3 related (ATR), Growth arrest and DNA damage inducible alpha (GADD45A), HUS1 checkpoint homolog (HUS1) and Role of radiation (RAD) genes were shown to be upregulated following EFV treatment, as revealed by STRING analysis. Additionally, functional enrichment analysis by the KEGG pathway revealed that most of the differentially expressed gene targets function at the cell-cycle checkpoint such as p21, Aurora kinase B (AURKB) and Mitotic Arrest Deficient-Like 2 (MAD2L2). Core analysis by IPA revealed that p53 downstream targets such as survivin, Bcl2, and cyclin/cyclin dependent kinases (CDKs) complexes are down-regulated, following exposure to EFV. Furthermore, Reactome analysis showed a significant increase in cellular response to stress genes, DNA repair genes, and apoptosis genes, as observed in both normal and cancerous cells. These findings implicate the genotoxic effects of EFV on lung cells, provoking the DDR pathway. Notably, the constitutive expression of this pathway (DDR) often leads to uncontrolled cell proliferation and eventually tumourigenesis, which could be the attribute of HAART components’ (such as EFV) effect on human cancers. Targeting the cell-cycle and its regulation holds a promising therapeutic intervention to the potential HAART associated carcinogenesis, particularly lung cancer.

Keywords: cell-cycle, DNA damage response, Efavirenz, lung cancer

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3 Capability of a Single Antigen to Induce Both Protective and Disease Enhancing Antibody: An Obstacle in the Creation of Vaccines and Passive Immunotherapies

Authors: Parul Kulshreshtha, Subrata Sinha, Rakesh Bhatnagar


This study was conducted by taking B. anthracis as a model pathogen. On infecting a host, B. anthracis secretes three proteins, namely, protective antigen (PA, 83kDa), edema factor (EF, 89 kDa) and lethal factor (LF, 90 kDa). These three proteins are the components of two anthrax toxins. PA binds to the cell surface receptors, namely, tumor endothelial marker (TEM) 8 and capillary morphogenesis protein (CMG) 2. TEM8 and CMG2 interact with LDL-receptor related protein (LRP) 6 for endocytosis of EF and LF. On entering the cell, EF acts as a calmodulin-dependent adenylate cyclase that causes a prolonged increase of cytosolic cyclic adenosine monophosphate (cAMP). LF is a metalloprotease that cleaves most isoforms of mitogen-activated protein kinase kinases (MAPKK/MEK) close to their N-terminus. By secreting these two toxins, B.anthracis ascertains death of the host. Once the systemic levels of the toxins rise, antibiotics alone cannot save the host. Therefore, toxin-specific inhibitors have to be developed. In this wake, monoclonal antibodies have been developed for the neutralization of toxic effects of anthrax toxins. We created hybridomas by using spleen of mice that were actively immunized with rLFn (recombinant N-terminal domain of lethal factor of B. anthracis) to obtain anti-toxin antibodies. Later on, separate group of mice were immunized with rLFn to obtain a polyclonal control for passive immunization studies of monoclonal antibodies. This led to the identification of one cohort of rLFn-immunized mice that harboured disease-enhancing polyclonal antibodies. At the same time, the monoclonal antibodies from all the hybridomas were being tested. Two hybridomas secreted monoclonal antibodies (H8 and H10) that were cross-reactive with EF (edema factor) and LF (lethal factor), while the other two hybridomas secreted LF-specific antibodies (H7 and H11). The protective efficacy of H7, H8, H10 and H11 was investigated. H7, H8 and H10 were found to be protective. H11 was found to have disease enhancing characteristics in-vitro and in mouse model of challenge with B. anthracis. In this study the disease enhancing character of H11 monoclonal antibody and anti-rLFn polyclonal sera was investigated. Combination of H11 with protective monoclonal antibodies (H8 and H10) reduced its disease enhancing nature both in-vitro and in-vivo. But combination of H11 with LETscFv (an scFv with VH and VL identical to H10 but lacking Fc region) could not abrogate the disease-enhancing character of H11 mAb. Therefore it was concluded that for suppression of disease enhancement, Fc portion was absolutely essential for interaction of H10 with H11. Our study indicates that the protective potential of an antibody depends equally on its idiotype/ antigen specificity and its isotype. A number of monoclonal and engineered antibodies are being explored as immunotherapeutics but it is absolutely essential to characterize each one for their individual and combined protective potential. Although new in the sphere of toxin-based diseases, it is extremely important to characterize the disease-enhancing nature of polyclonal as well as monoclonal antibodies. This is because several anti-viral therapeutics and vaccines have failed in the face of this phenomenon. The passive –immunotherapy thus needs to be well formulated to avoid any contraindications.

Keywords: immunotherapy, polyclonal, monoclonal, antibody-dependent disease enhancement

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2 The Role of Cholesterol Oxidase of Mycobacterium tuberculosis in the Down-Regulation of TLR2-Signaling Pathway in Human Macrophages during Infection Process

Authors: Michal Kielbik, Izabela Szulc-Kielbik, Anna Brzostek, Jaroslaw Dziadek, Magdalena Klink


The goal of many research groups in the world is to find new components that are important for survival of mycobacteria in the host cells. Mycobacterium tuberculosis (Mtb) possesses a number of enzymes degrading cholesterol that are considered to be an important factor for its survival and persistence in host macrophages. One of them - cholesterol oxidase (ChoD), although not being essential for cholesterol degradation, is discussed as a virulence compound, however its involvement in macrophages’ response to Mtb is still not sufficiently determined. The recognition of tubercle bacilli antigens by pathogen recognition receptors is crucial for the initiation of the host innate immune response. An important receptor that has been implicated in the recognition and/or uptake of Mtb is Toll-like receptor type 2 (TLR2). Engagement of TLR2 results in the activation and phosphorylation of intracellular signaling proteins including IRAK-1 and -4, TRAF-6, which in turn leads to the activation of target kinases and transcription factors responsible for bactericidal and pro-inflammatory response of macrophages. The aim of these studies was a detailed clarification of the role of Mtb cholesterol oxidase as a virulence factor affecting the TLR2 signaling pathway in human macrophages. As human macrophages the THP-1 differentiated cells were applied. The virulent wild-type Mtb strain (H37Rv), its mutant lacking a functional copy of gene encoding cholesterol oxidase (∆choD), as well as complimented strain (∆choD–choD) were used. We tested the impact of Mtb strains on the expression of TLR2-depended signaling proteins (mRNA level, cytosolic level and phosphorylation status). The cytokine and bactericidal response of THP-1 derived macrophages infected with Mtb strains in relation to TLR2 signaling pathway dependence was also determined. We found that during the 24-hours of infection process the wild-type and complemented Mtb significantly reduced the cytosolic level and phosphorylation status of IRAK-4 and TRAF-6 proteins in macrophages, that was not observed in the case of ΔchoD mutant. Decreasement of TLR2-dependent signaling proteins, induced by wild-type Mtb, was not dependent on the activity of proteasome. Blocking of TLR2 expression, before infection, effectively prevented the induced by wild-type strain reduction of cytosolic level and phosphorylation of IRAK-4. None of the strains affected the surface expression of TLR2. The mRNA level of IRAK-4 and TRAF-6 genes were significantly increased in macrophages 24 hours post-infection with either of tested strains. However, the impact of wild-type Mtb strain on both examined genes was significantly stronger than its ΔchoD mutant. We also found that wild-type strain stimulated macrophages to release high amount of immunosuppressive IL-10, accompanied by low amount of pro-inflammatory IL-8 and bactericidal nitric oxide in comparison to mutant lacking cholesterol oxidase. The influence of wild-type Mtb on this type of macrophages' response strongly dependent on fully active IRAK-1 and IRAK-4 signaling proteins. In conclusion, Mtb using cholesterol oxidase causes the over-activation of TLR2 signaling proteins leading to the reduction of their cytosolic level and activity resulting in the modulation of macrophages response to allow its intracellular survival. Supported by grant: 2014/15/B/NZ6/01565, National Science Center, Poland

Keywords: Mycobacterium tuberculosis, cholesterol oxidase, macrophages, TLR2-dependent signaling pathway

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1 Cardiolipin-Incorporated Liposomes Carrying Curcumin and Nerve Growth Factor to Rescue Neurons from Apoptosis for Alzheimer’s Disease Treatment

Authors: Yung-Chih Kuo, Che-Yu Lin, Jay-Shake Li, Yung-I Lou


Curcumin (CRM) and nerve growth factor (NGF) were entrapped in liposomes (LIP) with cardiolipin (CL) to downregulate the phosphorylation of mitogen-activated protein kinases for Alzheimer’s disease (AD) management. AD belongs to neurodegenerative disorder with a gradual loss of memory, yielding irreversible dementia. CL-conjugated LIP loaded with CRM (CRM-CL/LIP) and that with NGF (NGF-CL/LIP) were applied to AD models of SK-N-MC cells and Wistar rats with an insult of β-amyloid peptide (Aβ). Lipids comprising 1,2-dipalmitoyl-sn-glycero-3- phosphocholine (Avanti Polar Lipids, Alabaster, AL), 1',3'-bis[1,2- dimyristoyl-sn-glycero-3-phospho]-sn-glycerol (CL; Avanti Polar Lipids), 1,2-dipalmitoyl-sn-glycero-3-phosphoethanolamine-N- [methoxy(polyethylene glycol)-2000] (Avanti Polar Lipids), 1,2-distearoyl-sn-glycero-3-phosphoethanolamine-N-[carboxy(polyethylene glycol)-2000] (Avanti Polar Lipids) and CRM (Sigma–Aldrich, St. Louis, MO) were dissolved in chloroform (J. T. Baker, Phillipsburg, NJ) and condensed using a rotary evaporator (Panchum, Kaohsiung, Taiwan). Human β-NGF (Alomone Lab, Jerusalem, Israel) was added in the aqueous phase. Wheat germ agglutinin (WGA; Medicago AB, Uppsala, Sweden) was grafted on LIP loaded with CRM for (WGA-CRM-LIP) and CL-conjugated LIP loaded with CRM (WGA-CRM-CL/LIP) using 1-ethyl-3-(3-dimethylaminopropyl) carbodiimide (Sigma–Aldrich) and N-hydroxysuccinimide (Alfa Aesar, Ward Hill, MA). The protein samples of SK-N-MC cells (American Type Tissue Collection, Rockville, MD) were used for sodium dodecyl sulfate (Sigma–Aldrich) polyacrylamide gel (Sigma–Aldrich) electrophoresis. In animal study, the LIP formulations were administered by intravenous injection via a tail vein of male Wistar rats (250–280 g, 8 weeks, BioLasco, Taipei, Taiwan), which were housed in the Animal Laboratory of National Chung Cheng University in accordance with the institutional guidelines and the guidelines of Animal Protection Committee under the Council of Agriculture of the Republic of China. We found that CRM-CL/LIP could inhibit the expressions of phosphorylated p38 (p-p38), p-Jun N-terminal kinase (p-JNK), and p-tau protein at serine 202 (p-Ser202) to retard the neuronal apoptosis. Free CRM and released CRM from CRM-LIP and CRM-CL/LIP were not in a straightforward manner to effectively inhibit the expression of p-p38 and p-JNK in the cytoplasm. In addition, NGF-CL/LIP enhanced the quantities of p-neurotrophic tyrosine kinase receptor type 1 (p-TrkA) and p-extracellular-signal-regulated kinase 5 (p-ERK5), preventing the Aβ-induced degeneration of neurons. The membrane fusion of NGF-LIP activated the ERK5 pathway and the targeting capacity of NGF-CL/LIP enhanced the possibility of released NGF to affect the TrkA level. Moreover, WGA-CRM-LIP improved the permeation of CRM across the blood–brain barrier (BBB) and significantly reduced the Aβ plaque deposition and malondialdehyde level and increased the percentage of normal neurons and cholinergic function in the hippocampus of AD rats. This was mainly because the encapsulated CRM was protected by LIP against a rapid degradation in the blood. Furthermore, WGA on LIP could target N-acetylglucosamine on endothelia and increased the quantity of CRM transported across the BBB. In addition, WGA-CRM-CL/LIP could be effective in suppressing the synthesis of acetylcholinesterase and reduced the decomposition of acetylcholine for better neurotransmission. Based on the in vitro and in vivo evidences, WGA-CRM-CL/LIP can rescue neurons from apoptosis in the brain and can be a promising drug delivery system for clinical AD therapy.

Keywords: Alzheimer’s disease, β-amyloid, liposome, mitogen-activated protein kinase

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