by Keyword: mass

Tantai, Xinxing, Liu, Yi, Yeo, Yee Hui, Praktiknjo, Michael, Mauro, Ezequiel, Hamaguchi, Yuhei, Engelmann, Cornelius, Zhang, Peng, Jeong, Jae Yoon, van Vugt, Jeroen Laurens Ad, Xiao, Huijuan, Deng, Huan, Gao, Xu, Ye, Qing, Zhang, Jiayuan, Yang, Longbao, Cai, Yaqin, Liu, Yixin, Liu, Na, Li, Zongfang, Han, Tao, Kaido, Toshimi, Sohn, Joo Hyun, Strassburg, Christian, Berg, Thomas, Trebicka, Jonel, Hsu, Yao-Chun, IJzermans, Jan Nicolaas Maria, Wang, Jinhai, Su, Grace L., Ji, Fanpu, Nguyen, Mindie H., (2022). Effect of sarcopenia on survival of patients with cirrhosis: A meta-analysis Journal Of Hepatology 76, 588-599

The association between sarcopenia and prognosis in patients with cirrhosis remains to be determined. In this study, we aimed to quantify the association between sarcopenia and the risk of mortality in patients with cirrhosis, by sex, underlying liver disease etiology, and severity of hepatic dysfunction.PubMed, Web of Science, EMBASE, and major scientific conference sessions were searched without language restriction through 13 January 2021 with additional manual search of bibliographies of relevant articles. Cohort studies of ?100 patients with cirrhosis and ?12 months of follow-up that evaluated the association between sarcopenia, muscle mass and the risk of mortality were included.22 studies with 6965 patients with cirrhosis were included. The pooled prevalence of sarcopenia in patients with cirrhosis was 37.5% overall (95% CI 32.4%-42.8%), higher in male patients, patients with alcohol associated liver disease (ALD), patients with CTP grade C, and when sarcopenia was defined in patients by lumbar 3- skeletal muscle index (L3-SMI). Sarcopenia was associated with the increased risk of mortality in patients with cirrhosis (adjusted-hazard ratio [aHR] 2.30, 95% CI 2.01-2.63), with similar findings in sensitivity analysis of cirrhosis patients without HCC (aHR 2.35, 95% CI 1.95-2.83) and in subgroup analysis by sex, liver disease etiology, and severity of hepatic dysfunction. The association between quantitative muscle mass index and mortality further supports the poor prognosis for patients with sarcopenia (aHR 0.95, 95% CI 0.93-0.98). There was no significant heterogeneity in all analyses.Sarcopenia was highly and independently associated with higher risk of mortality in patients with cirrhosis.The prevalence of sarcopenia and its association with death in patients with cirrhosis remain unclear. This meta-analysis indicated that sarcopenia affected about one-third of patients with cirrhosis and up to 50% in patients with ALD or Child's class C cirrhosis. Sarcopenia was independently associated with about 2-fold higher risk of mortality in patients with cirrhosis. The mortality rate increased with greater severity or longer period of having sarcopenia. Increasing awareness about the importance of sarcopenia in patients with cirrhosis among stakeholders must be prioritized.Copyright © 2021. Published by Elsevier B.V.

JTD Keywords: alcohol associated liver disease, alcohol-associated liver disease, cirrhosis, failure, frailty, impact, list, mass, model, mortality, prognosis, prognostic value, sarcopenia, severe muscle depletion, skeletal muscle index, Alcohol-associated liver disease, Cirrhosis, Liver-transplant candidates, Prognosis, Sarcopenia, Skeletal muscle index

Chacon, DS, Santos, MDM, Bonilauri, B, Vilasboa, J, da Costa, CT, da Silva, IB, Torres, TD, de Araujo, TF, Roque, AD, Pilon, AC, Selegatto, DM, Freire, RT, Reginaldo, FPS, Voigt, EL, Zuanazzi, JAS, Scortecci, KC, Cavalheiro, AJ, Lopes, NP, Ferreira, LD, Santos, LVD, Fontes, W, de Sousa, MV, Carvalho, PC, Fett-Neto, AG, Giordani, RB, (2022). Non-target molecular network and putative genes of flavonoid biosynthesis in Erythrina velutina Willd., a Brazilian semiarid native woody plant Frontiers In Plant Science 13, 947558

Erythrina velutina is a Brazilian native tree of the Caatinga (a unique semiarid biome). It is widely used in traditional medicine showing anti-inflammatory and central nervous system modulating activities. The species is a rich source of specialized metabolites, mostly alkaloids and flavonoids. To date, genomic information, biosynthesis, and regulation of flavonoids remain unknown in this woody plant. As part of a larger ongoing research goal to better understand specialized metabolism in plants inhabiting the harsh conditions of the Caatinga, the present study focused on this important class of bioactive phenolics. Leaves and seeds of plants growing in their natural habitat had their metabolic and proteomic profiles analyzed and integrated with transcriptome data. As a result, 96 metabolites (including 43 flavonoids) were annotated. Transcripts of the flavonoid pathway totaled 27, of which EvCHI, EvCHR, EvCHS, EvCYP75A and EvCYP75B1 were identified as putative main targets for modulating the accumulation of these metabolites. The highest correspondence of mRNA vs. protein was observed in the differentially expressed transcripts. In addition, 394 candidate transcripts encoding for transcription factors distributed among the bHLH, ERF, and MYB families were annotated. Based on interaction network analyses, several putative genes of the flavonoid pathway and transcription factors were related, particularly TFs of the MYB family. Expression patterns of transcripts involved in flavonoid biosynthesis and those involved in responses to biotic and abiotic stresses were discussed in detail. Overall, these findings provide a base for the understanding of molecular and metabolic responses in this medicinally important species. Moreover, the identification of key regulatory targets for future studies aiming at bioactive metabolite production will be facilitated.

JTD Keywords: caatinga, erythrina velutina, flavonoids, molecular network, Arabidopsis, Caatinga, Classification, Discovery, Erythrina velutina, Flavonoids, Identification, Mass-spectrometry, Messenger-rna, Metabolism, Molecular network, Natural-products, Protein abundance, Transcriptome

Chacon DS, Torres TM, da Silva IB, de Araújo TF, Roque AdA, Pinheiro FASD, Selegato D, Pilon A, Reginaldo FPS, da Costa CT, Vilasboa J, Freire RT, Voigt EL, Zuanazzi JAS, Libonati R, Rodrigues JA, Santos FLM, Scortecci KC, Lopes NP, Ferreira LDS, dos Santos LV, Cavalheiro AJ, Fett-Neto AG, Giordani RB, (2021). Erythrina velutina Willd. alkaloids: Piecing biosynthesis together from transcriptome analysis and metabolite profiling of seeds and leaves Journal Of Advanced Research 34, 123-136

© 2021 Introduction: Natural products of pharmaceutical interest often do not reach the drug market due to the associated low yields and difficult extraction. Knowledge of biosynthetic pathways is a key element in the development of biotechnological strategies for plant specialized metabolite production. The scarce studies regarding non-model plants impair advances in this field. Erythrina spp. are mainly used as central nervous system depressants in folk medicine and are important sources of bioactive tetracyclic benzylisoquinoline alkaloids, which can act on several pathology-related biological targets. Objective: Herein the purpose is to employ combined transcriptome and metabolome analyses (seeds and leaves) of a non-model medicinal Fabaceae species grown in its unique arid natural habitat. The study tries to propose a putative biosynthetic pathway for the bioactive alkaloids by using an omic integrated approach. Methods: The Next Generation Sequencing-based transcriptome (de novo RNA sequencing) was carried out in a Illumina NextSeq 500 platform. Regarding the targeted metabolite profiling, Nuclear Magnetic Resonance and the High-Performance Liquid Chromatography coupled to a micrOTOF-QII, High Resolution Mass Spectrometer, were used. Results: This detailed macro and micromolecular approach applied to seeds and leaves of E. velutina revealed 42 alkaloids by metabolome tools. Based on the combined evidence, 24 gene candidates were put together in a putative pathway leading to the singular alkaloid diversity of this species. Conclusion: These results contribute by indicating potential biotechnological targets Erythrina alkaloids biosynthesis as well as to improve molecular databases with omic data from a non-model medicinal plant. Furthermore, they reveal an interesting chemical diversity in Erythrina velutina harvested in Caatinga. Last, but not least, this data may also contribute to tap Brazilian biodiversity in a rational and sustainable fashion, promoting adequate public policies for preservation and protection of sensitive areas within the Caatinga.

JTD Keywords: benzylisoquinoline alkaloids, caatinga, codeinone reductase, erythrina velutina, expression, mass-spectrometry, molecular-cloning, morphine biosynthesis, natural-products, opium poppy, papaver-somniferum, plant-metabolism, targeted metabolite profile, transcriptome, Benzylisoquinoline alkaloids, Berberine bridge enzyme, Caatinga, Erythrina velutina, Targeted metabolite profile, Transcriptome

de Oliveira LF, Braga SCGN, Augusto F, Poppi RJ, (2021). Correlating comprehensive two-dimensional gas chromatography volatile profiles of chocolate with sensory analysis Brazilian Journal Of Analytical Chemistry 8, 131-140

The identification of key components relevant to sensory perception of quality from commercial chocolate samples was accomplished after chemometric processing of GC×GC-MS (Comprehensive Two-dimensional Gas Chromatography with Mass Spectrometric Detection) profiles corresponding to HS-SPME (Headspace Solid Phase Microextraction) extracts of the samples. Descriptive sensory evaluation of samples was carried out using Optimized Descriptive Profile (ODP) procedures, where sensory attributes of 24 commercial chocolate samples were used to classify them in two classes (low and high chocolate flavor). 2D Fisher Ratio analysis was applied to four-way chromatographic data tensors (1st dimension retention time 1tR × 2nd dimension retention time 2tR × m/z × sample), to identify the crucial areas on the chromatograms that resulted on ODP class separation on Principal Component Analysis (PCA) scores plot. Comparing the relevant sections of the chromatograms to the analysis of the corresponding mass spectra, it was possible to assess that most of the information regarding the sample main sensory attributes can be related to only 14 compounds (2,5-dimethylpyrazine, 2,6-dimethyl-4-heptanol, 1-octen-3-ol, trimethylpyrazine, β-pinene, o-cimene, 2-ethyl-3,5-dimethylpyrazine, tetramethylpyrazine, benzaldehyde, 1,3,5-trimethylbenzene, 6-methyl-5-hepten-2-one, limonene, benzeneethanol and 1,1-dimethylbutylbenzene) among the complex blend of volatiles found on these extremely complex samples.

JTD Keywords: classification, cocoa, dark chocolate, feature-selection, fisher ratio, gcxgc-ms, impact, olfactometry, principal component analysis, sensorial analysis, Chocolate flavor, Fisher ratio, Flight mass-spectrometry, Gc×gc-ms, Principal component analysis, Sensorial analysis

Rodríguez-Pérez, R., Fernández, L., Marco, S., (2018). Overoptimism in cross-validation when using partial least squares-discriminant analysis for omics data: a systematic study Analytical and Bioanalytical Chemistry 410, (23), 5981-5992

Advances in analytical instrumentation have provided the possibility of examining thousands of genes, peptides, or metabolites in parallel. However, the cost and time-consuming data acquisition process causes a generalized lack of samples. From a data analysis perspective, omics data are characterized by high dimensionality and small sample counts. In many scenarios, the analytical aim is to differentiate between two different conditions or classes combining an analytical method plus a tailored qualitative predictive model using available examples collected in a dataset. For this purpose, partial least squares-discriminant analysis (PLS-DA) is frequently employed in omics research. Recently, there has been growing concern about the uncritical use of this method, since it is prone to overfitting and may aggravate problems of false discoveries. In many applications involving a small number of subjects or samples, predictive model performance estimation is only based on cross-validation (CV) results with a strong preference for reporting results using leave one out (LOO). The combination of PLS-DA for high dimensionality data and small sample conditions, together with a weak validation methodology is a recipe for unreliable estimations of model performance. In this work, we present a systematic study about the impact of the dataset size, the dimensionality, and the CV technique used on PLS-DA overoptimism when performance estimation is done in cross-validation. Firstly, by using synthetic data generated from a same probability distribution and with assigned random binary labels, we have obtained a dataset where the true classification rate (CR) is 50%. As expected, our results confirm that internal validation provides overoptimistic estimations of the classification accuracy (i.e., overfitting). We have characterized the CR estimator in terms of bias and variance depending on the internal CV technique used and sample to dimensionality ratio. In small sample conditions, due to the large bias and variance of the estimator, the occurrence of extremely good CRs is common. We have found that overfitting peaks when the sample size in the training subset approaches the feature vector dimensionality minus one. In these conditions, the models are neither under- or overdetermined with a unique solution. This effect is particularly intense for LOO and peaks higher in small sample conditions. Overoptimism is decreased beyond this point where the abundance of noisy produces a regularization effect leading to less complex models. In terms of overfitting, our study ranks CV methods as follows: Bootstrap produces the most accurate estimator of the CR, followed by bootstrapped Latin partitions, random subsampling, K-Fold, and finally, the very popular LOO provides the worst results. Simulation results are further confirmed in real datasets from mass spectrometry and microarrays.

JTD Keywords: Metabolomics, Mass spectrometry, Microarrays, Chemometrics, Data analysis, Classification, Method validation

Taghadomi-Saberi, S., Garcia, S. M., Masoumi, A. A., Sadeghi, M., Marco, S., (2018). Classification of bitter orange essential oils according to fruit ripening stage by untargeted chemical profiling and machine learning Sensors 18, (6), 1922

The quality and composition of bitter orange essential oils (EOs) strongly depend on the ripening stage of the citrus fruit. The concentration of volatile compounds and consequently its organoleptic perception varies. While this can be detected by trained humans, we propose an objective approach for assessing the bitter orange from the volatile composition of their EO. The method is based on the combined use of headspace gas chromatography–mass spectrometry (HS-GC-MS) and artificial neural networks (ANN) for predictive modeling. Data obtained from the analysis of HS-GC-MS were preprocessed to select relevant peaks in the total ion chromatogram as input features for ANN. Results showed that key volatile compounds have enough predictive power to accurately classify the EO, according to their ripening stage for different applications. A sensitivity analysis detected the key compounds to identify the ripening stage. This study provides a novel strategy for the quality control of bitter orange EO without subjective methods.

JTD Keywords: Bitter orange essential oil, Headspace gas chromatography–mass spectrometry, Artificial neural network, Foodomics, Chemometrics, Feature selection

Oller-Moreno, Sergio, Cominetti, Ornella, Galindo, Antonio Núñez, Irincheeva, Irina, Corthésy, John, Astrup, Arne, Saris, Wim H. M., Hager, Jörg, Kussmann, Martin, Dayon, Loïc, (2018). The differential plasma proteome of obese and overweight individuals undergoing a nutritional weight loss and maintenance intervention PROTEOMICS - Clinical Applications 12, (1), 1600150

Purpose : The nutritional intervention program “DiOGenes” focuses on how obesity can be prevented and treated from a dietary perspective. We generated differential plasma proteome profiles in the DiOGenes cohort to identify proteins associated with weight loss and maintenance and explore their relation to body mass index, fat mass, insulin resistance and sensitivity. Experimental Design : Relative protein quantification was obtained at baseline and after combined weight loss/maintenance phases using isobaric tagging and MS/MS. A Welch t-test determined proteins differentially present after intervention. Protein relationships with clinical variables were explored using univariate linear models, considering collection center, gender and age as confounding factors. Results : 473 subjects were measured at baseline and end of the intervention; 39 proteins were longitudinally differential. Proteins with largest changes were sex hormone-binding globulin, adiponectin, C-reactive protein, calprotectin, serum amyloid A, and proteoglycan 4 (PRG4), whose association with obesity and weight loss is known. We identified new putative biomarkers for weight loss/maintenance. Correlation between PRG4 and proline-rich acidic protein 1 (PRAP1) variation and Matsuda insulin sensitivity increment was showed. Conclusions and Clinical Relevance : MS-based proteomic analysis of a large cohort of non-diabetic overweight and obese individuals concomitantly identified known and novel proteins associated with weight loss and maintenance.

JTD Keywords: Biomarker, Diabetes, Large-scale study, Mass spectrometry, Obesity, Proteomics

Moles, E., Marcos, J., Imperial, S., Pozo, O. J., Fernàndez-Busquets, X., (2017). 2-picolylamine derivatization for high sensitivity detection of abscisic acid in apicomplexan blood-infecting parasites Talanta 168, 130-135

We have developed a new liquid chromatography-electrospray ionization tandem mass spectrometry methodology based on 2-picolylamine derivatization and positive ion mode detection for abscisic acid (ABA) identification. The selected reaction leads to the formation of an amide derivative which contains a highly active pyridyl group. The enhanced ionization allows for a 700-fold increase over commonly monitored unmodified ABA, which in turn leads to excellent limits of detection and quantification values of 0.03 and 0.15 ng mL-1, respectively. This method has been validated in the highly complex matrix of a red blood cell extract. In spite of the high sensitivity achieved, ABA could not be detected in Plasmodium falciparum-infected red blood cells, suggesting that, if present, it will be found either in ultratrace amounts or as brief bursts at defined time points within the intraerythrocytic cycle and/or in the form of a biosynthetic analogue.

JTD Keywords: Abscisic acid, Apicomplexa, Liquid chromatography-electrospray ionization tandem mass spectrometry, Malaria, Picolylamine, Plasmodium falciparum

Blanchard, R., Morin, C., Malandrino, A., Vella, A., Sant, Z., Hellmich, C., (2016). Patient-specific fracture risk assessment of vertebrae: A multiscale approach coupling X-ray physics and continuum micromechanics International Journal for Numerical Methods in Biomedical Engineering , 32, (9), e02760

Summary: While in clinical settings, bone mineral density measured by computed tomography (CT) remains the key indicator for bone fracture risk, there is an ongoing quest for more engineering mechanics-based approaches for safety analyses of the skeleton. This calls for determination of suitable material properties from respective CT data, where the traditional approach consists of regression analyses between attenuation-related grey values and mechanical properties. We here present a physics-oriented approach, considering that elasticity and strength of bone tissue originate from the material microstructure and the mechanical properties of its elementary components. Firstly, we reconstruct the linear relation between the clinically accessible grey values making up a CT, and the X-ray attenuation coefficients quantifying the intensity losses from which the image is actually reconstructed. Therefore, we combine X-ray attenuation averaging at different length scales and over different tissues, with recently identified 'universal' composition characteristics of the latter. This gives access to both the normally non-disclosed X-ray energy employed in the CT-device and to in vivo patient-specific and location-specific bone composition variables, such as voxel-specific mass density, as well as collagen and mineral contents. The latter feed an experimentally validated multiscale elastoplastic model based on the hierarchical organization of bone. Corresponding elasticity maps across the organ enter a finite element simulation of a typical load case, and the resulting stress states are increased in a proportional fashion, so as to check the safety against ultimate material failure. In the young patient investigated, even normal physiological loading is probable to already imply plastic events associated with the hydrated mineral crystals in the bone ultrastructure, while the safety factor against failure is still as high as five.

JTD Keywords: Bone, Bone mass density, Continuum micromechanics, Elastoplasticity, Spine, Strength, X-ray physics

Oller-Moreno, S., Pardo, A., Jimenez-Soto, J. M., Samitier, J., Marco, S., (2014). Adaptive Asymmetric Least Squares baseline estimation for analytical instruments SSD 2014 Proceedings 11th International Multi-Conference on Systems, Signals & Devices (SSD) , IEEE (Castelldefels-Barcelona, Spain) , 1569846703

Automated signal processing in analytical instrumentation is today required for the analysis of highly complex biomedical samples. Baseline estimation techniques are often used to correct long term instrument contamination or degradation. They are essential for accurate peak area integration. Some methods approach the baseline estimation iteratively, trying to ignore peaks which do not belong to the baseline. The proposed method in this work consists of a modification of the Asymmetric Least Squares (ALS) baseline removal technique developed by Eilers and Boelens. The ALS technique suffers from bias in the presence of intense peaks (in relation to the noise level). This is typical of diverse instrumental techniques such as Gas Chromatography-Mass Spectrometry (GC-MS) or Gas Chromatography-Ion Mobility Spectrometry (GC-IMS). In this work, we propose a modification (named psalsa) to the asymmetry weights of the original ALS method in order to better reject large peaks above the baseline. Our method will be compared to several versions of the ALS algorithm using synthetic and real GC signals. Results show that our proposal improves previous versions being more robust to parameter variations and providing more accurate peak areas.

JTD Keywords: Gas chromatography, Instruments, Radioactivity measurement, Signal processing, Analytical instrument, Analytical Instrumentation, Asymmetric least squares, Baseline estimation, Baseline removal, Gas chromatography-mass spectrometries (GC-MS), Instrumental techniques, Noise levels, Iterative methods

Penon, O., Novo, S., Duran, S., Ibanez, E., Nogues, C., Samitier, J., Duch, M., Plaza, J. A., Perez-Garcia, L., (2012). Efficient biofunctionalization of polysilicon barcodes for adhesion to the zona pellucida of mouse embryos Bioconjugate Chemistry , 23, (12), 2392-2402

Cell tracking is an emergent area in nano-biotechnology, promising the study of individual cells or the identification of populations of cultured cells. In our approach, microtools designed for extracellular tagging are prepared, because using biofunctionalized polysilicon barcodes to tag cell membranes externally avoids the inconveniences of cell internalization. The crucial covalent biofunctionalization process determining the ultimate functionality was studied in order to find the optimum conditions to link a biomolecule to a polysilicon barcode surface using a self-assembled monolayer (SAM) as the connector. Specifically, a lectin (wheat germ agglutinin, WGA) was used because of its capacity to recognize some specific carbohydrates present on the surface of most mammalian cells. Self-assembled monolayers were prepared on polysilicon surfaces including aldehyde groups as terminal functions to study the suitability of their covalent chemical bonding to WGA. Some parameters, such as the polysilicon surface roughness or the concentration of WGA, proved to be crucial for successful biofunctionalization and bioactivity. The SAMs were characterized by contact angle measurements, time-of-flight secondary ion mass spectrometry (TOF-SIMS), laser desorption/ionization time-of-flight mass spectrometry (LDI-TOF MS), and atomic force microscopy (AFM). The biofunctionalization step was also characterized by fluorescence microscopy and, in the case of barcodes, by adhesion experiments to the zona pellucida of mouse embryos. These experiments showed high barcode retention rates after 96 h of culture as well as high embryo viability to the blastocyst stage, indicating the robustness of the biofunctionalization and, therefore, the potential of these new microtools to be used for cell tagging.

JTD Keywords: Self-assembled monolayers, Wheat-germ-agglutinin, Protein immobilization strategies, Mass-spectrometry, Cell-surface, Petide, Binding, Identifications, Nanoparticles, Recognition

Arimon, M., Sanz, F., Giralt, E., Carulla, N., (2012). Template-assisted lateral growth of amyloid-β42 fibrils studied by differential labeling with gold nanoparticles Bioconjugate Chemistry , 23, (1), 27-32

Amyloid-β protein (Aβ) aggregation into amyloid fibrils is central to the origin and development of Alzheimer’s disease (AD), yet this highly complex process is poorly understood at the molecular level. Extensive studies have shown that Aβ fibril growth occurs through fibril elongation, whereby soluble molecules add to the fibril ends. Nevertheless, fibril morphology strongly depends on aggregation conditions. For example, at high ionic strength, Aβ fibrils laterally associate into bundles. To further study the mechanisms leading to fibril growth, we developed a single-fibril growth assay based on differential labeling of two Aβ42 variants with gold nanoparticles. We used this assay to study Aβ42 fibril growth under different conditions and observed that bundle formation is preceded by lateral interaction of soluble Aβ42 molecules with pre-existing fibrils. Based on this data, we propose template-assisted lateral fibril growth as an additional mechanism to elongation for Aβ42 fibril growth.

JTD Keywords: AFM, Beta-Amyloid Fibrils, Polymorphism, Association, Elongation, Dynamics, State

Gimenez-Oya, V., Villacanas, O., Fernàndez-Busquets, X., Rubio-Martinez, J., Imperial, S., (2009). Mimicking direct protein-protein and solvent-mediated interactions in the CDP-methylerythritol kinase homodimer: a pharmacophore-directed virtual screening approach Journal of Molecular Modeling , 15, (8), 997-1007

The 2C-methylerythritol 4-phosphate (MEP) pathway for the biosynthesis of isopentenyl pyrophosphate and its isomer dimethylallyl pyrophosphate, which are the precursors of isoprenoids, is present in plants, in the malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum and in most eubacteria, including pathogenic agents. However, the MEP pathway is absent from fungi and animals, which have exclusively the mevalonic acid pathway. Given the characteristics of the MEP pathway, its enzymes represent potential targets for the generation of selective antibacterial, antimalarial and herbicidal molecules. We have focussed on the enzyme 4-(cytidine 5'-diphospho)-2-C-methyl-D: -erythritol kinase (CMK), which catalyses the fourth reaction step of the MEP pathway. A molecular dynamics simulation was carried out on the CMK dimer complex, and protein-protein interactions analysed, considering also water-mediated interactions between monomers. In order to find small molecules that bind to CMK and disrupt dimer formation, interactions observed in the dynamics trajectory were used to model a pharmacophore used in database searches. Using an intensity-fading matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionisation time-of-flight mass spectrometry approach, one compound was found to interact with CMK. The data presented here indicate that a virtual screening approach can be used to identify candidate molecules that disrupt the CMK-CMK complex. This strategy can contribute to speeding up the discovery of new antimalarial, antibacterial, and herbicidal compounds.

JTD Keywords: Solvent-mediated interactions, Protein-protein interactions, Molecular dynamics, Drug design, Intensisty-fading MALDI-TOF mass spectrometry

Navarro, M., Benetti, E. M., Zapotoczny, S., Planell, J. A., Vancso, G. J., (2008). Buried, covalently attached RGD peptide motifs in poly(methacrylic acid) brush layers: The effect of brush structure on cell adhesion Langmuir 24, (19), 10996-11002

Iniferter-mediated surface-initiated photopolymerization was used to graft poly(methacrylic acid) (PMAA) brush layers obtained from surface-attached iniferters in self-assembled monolayers to a gold surface. The tethered chains were subsequently functionalized with the cell-adhesive arginine-glycine-aspartic acid (RGD) motif. The modified brushes were extended by reinitiating the polymerization to obtain an additional layer of PMAA, thereby burying the peptide-functionalized segments inside the brush structure. Contact angle measurements and Fourier transform infrared (FTIR) spectroscopy were employed to characterize the wettability and the chemical properties of these platforms. Time of flight secondary ion mass spectroscopy (TOF-SIMS) measurements were performed to monitor the chemical composition of the polymer layer as a function of the distance to the gold surface and obtain information concerning the depth of the RGD motifs inside the brush structure. The brush thickness was evaluated as a function of the polymerization (i.e.. UV-irradiation) time with atomic force microscopy (AFM) and ellipsometry. Cell adhesion tests employing human osteoblasts were performed on substrates with the RGD peptides exposed at the surface as well as covered by a PMAA top brush layer. Immunofluorescence studies demonstrated a variation of the cell morphology as a function of the position of the peptide units along the grafted chains.

JTD Keywords: Ion mass-spectrometry, Transfer radical polymerization, Asymmetric diblock copolymers, Arg-gly-asp, Swelling behaviour, Endothelial-cells, Thin-films, fibronectin, Surfaces, SIMS