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by Keyword: transport

Pankratov, Dmitrii, Martinez, Silvia Hidalgo, Karman, Cheryl, Gerzhik, Anastasia, Gomila, Gabriel, Trashin, Stanislav, Boschker, Henricus T S, Geelhoed, Jeanine S, Mayer, Dirk, De Wael, Karolien, Meysman, Filip J R, (2024). The organo-metal-like nature of long-range conduction in cable bacteria Bioelectrochemistry 157, 108675

Cable bacteria are filamentous, multicellular microorganisms that display an exceptional form of biological electron transport across centimeter-scale distances. Currents are guided through a network of nickel-containing protein fibers within the cell envelope. Still, the mechanism of long-range conduction remains unresolved. Here, we characterize the conductance of the fiber network under dry and wet, physiologically relevant, conditions. Our data reveal that the fiber conductivity is high (median value: 27 S cm-1; range: 2 to 564 S cm-1), does not show any redox signature, has a low thermal activation energy (Ea = 69 +/- 23 meV), and is not affected by humidity or the presence of ions. These features set the nickel-based conduction mechanism in cable bacteria apart from other known forms of biological electron transport. As such, conduction resembles that of an organic semi-metal with a high charge carrier density. Our observation that biochemistry can synthesize an organometal-like structure opens the way for novel bio-based electronic technologies.

JTD Keywords: 'current, Activation energy, Bacteria, Bioelectronic, Bioelectronics, Cable bacteria, Cable bacteria, long -distance electron transport, protein conductivity, electrochemical impedance spectroscopy, bioelectronic, Cables, Centimeter-scale, Electrochemical impedance spectroscopy, Electrochemical-impedance spectroscopies, Electron transport, Electron transport properties, Electron-transport, microbial nanowires, proteins, sulfu, Long-distance electron transport, Nickel, Nickel containing, Protein conductivity, Protein fibers, Proteins


Rae, CD, Baur, JA, Borges, K, Dienel, G, Díaz-García, CM, Douglass, SR, Drew, K, Duarte, JMN, Duran, J, Kann, O, Kristian, T, Lee-Liu, D, Lindquist, BE, Mcnay, EC, Robinson, MB, Rothman, DL, Rowlands, BD, Ryan, TA, Scafidi, J, Scafidi, S, Shuttleworth, CW, Swanson, RA, Uruk, G, Vardjan, N, Zorec, R, Mckenna, MC, (2024). Brain energy metabolism: A roadmap for future research Journal Of Neurochemistry 168, 910-954

Although we have learned much about how the brain fuels its functions over the last decades, there remains much still to discover in an organ that is so complex. This article lays out major gaps in our knowledge of interrelationships between brain metabolism and brain function, including biochemical, cellular, and subcellular aspects of functional metabolism and its imaging in adult brain, as well as during development, aging, and disease. The focus is on unknowns in metabolism of major brain substrates and associated transporters, the roles of insulin and of lipid droplets, the emerging role of metabolism in microglia, mysteries about the major brain cofactor and signaling molecule NAD+, as well as unsolved problems underlying brain metabolism in pathologies such as traumatic brain injury, epilepsy, and metabolic downregulation during hibernation. It describes our current level of understanding of these facets of brain energy metabolism as well as a roadmap for future research. This article details current knowledge and major unknowns in brain energy metabolism and lays out a roadmap for future research.image

JTD Keywords: Acetate, Acetyl-coa, Aerobic glycolysis, Atp-citrate lyase, Extracellular glutamate concentration, Fatty-acid transport, Glucose-metabolism, Glut4, In-vivo, Insulin, Lipid droplet accumulation, Nicotinamide adenine-dinucleotide, Noradrenaline, Obese zucker rats, Rat cerebral-cortex


Molina, BG, Arnau, M, Sánchez, M, Alemán, C, (2024). Controlled dopamine release from cellulose-based conducting hydrogel European Polymer Journal 202, 112635

Very recently, the controlled release of dopamine (DA), a neurotransmitter whose deficiency is associated with Parkinson's disease, has been postulated as a good alternative to the oral administration of levodopa (L-Dopa), a dopamine precursor, to combat the effects of said disease. However, this is still a very little explored field and there are very few carriers that are capable of releasing DA, a small and water-soluble molecule, in an efficient and controlled manner. In this work, we report a carrier based on a conductive hydrogel capable of loading DA and releasing it progressively and efficiently (100 % release) in a period of five days by applying small electrical stimuli (-0.4 V) daily for a short time (1 min). The hydrogel (CMC/PEDOT), which is electrically active, has been prepared from sodium carboxymethylcellulose and poly(3,4-ethylenedioxythiophene) microparticles, using citric acid as a cross-linking agent. Furthermore, the results have shown that when relatively hydrophobic small molecules, such as chloramphenicol, are loaded, the electrostimulated release is significantly less efficient, demonstrating the usefulness of CMC/PEDOT as a carrier for neurotransmitters.

JTD Keywords: Amines, Carboxymethyl cellulose, Carboxymethylcellulose, Conducting hydrogels, Conducting polymers, Controlled release, Crosslinking, Dopamine, Drug-delivery system, Electrostimulation, Hydrogels, Joining, Levodopa, Loading, Molecules, Neurophysiology, Neurotransmitter release, Neurotransmitters release, Oral administration, Parkinson's disease, Parkinsons-disease, Poly(3,4-ethylenedioxythiophene), Release, Sodium, Transport, Water-soluble molecule


Bodrenko, I, Ceccarelli, M, Acosta-Gutierrez, S, (2023). The mechanism of an electrostatic nanofilter: overcoming entropy with electrostatics Physical Chemistry Chemical Physics 25, 26497-26506

General porins are nature's sieving machinery in the outer membrane of Gram-negative bacteria. Their unique hourglass-shaped architecture is highly conserved among different bacterial membrane proteins and other biological channels. These biological nanopores have been designed to protect the interior of the bacterial cell from leakage of toxic compounds while selectively allowing the entry of the molecules needed for cell growth and function. The mechanism of transport through porins is of utmost and direct interest for drug discovery, extending toward nanotechnology applications for blue energy, separations, and sequencing. Here we present a theoretical framework for analysing the filter of general porins in relation to translocating molecules with the aid of enhanced molecular simulations quantitatively. Using different electrostatic probes in the form of a series of related molecules, we describe the nature of this filter and how to finely tune permeability by exploiting electrostatic interactions between the pore and the translocating molecule. Eventually, we show how enhanced simulations constitute today a valid tool for characterising the mechanism and quantifying energetically the transport of molecules through nanopores. General porins are nature's sieving machinery in the outer membrane of Gram-negative bacteria. In the diffusive transport process of molecules, electrostatic interactions can help to decrease the entropic free energy barrier.

JTD Keywords: Channel, Diffusion barrier, Electric-field, Molecular-dynamics, Outer-membrane permeability, Permeation, Porins, Simulations, Translocation, Transport


López-Ortiz, M, Zamora, RA, Giannotti, MI, Gorostiza, P, (2023). The Protein Matrix of Plastocyanin Supports Long-Distance Charge Transport with Photosystem I and the Copper Ion Regulates Its Spatial Span and Conductance Acs Nano 17, 20334-20344

Charge exchange is the fundamental process that sustains cellular respiration and photosynthesis by shuttling electrons in a cascade of electron transfer (ET) steps between redox cofactors. While intraprotein charge exchange is well characterized in protein complexes bearing multiple redox sites, interprotein processes are less understood due to the lack of suitable experimental approaches and the dynamic nature of the interactions. Proteins constrained between electrodes are known to support electron transport (ETp) through the protein matrix even without redox cofactors, as the charges housed by the redox sites in ET are furnished by the electrodes. However, it is unknown whether protein ETp mechanisms apply to the interprotein medium present under physiological conditions. We study interprotein charge exchange between plant photosystem I (PSI) and its soluble redox partner plastocyanin (Pc) and address the role of the Pc copper center. Using electrochemical scanning tunneling spectroscopy (ECSTS) current-distance and blinking measurements, we quantify the spatial span of charge exchange between individual Pc/PSI pairs and ETp through transient Pc/PSI complexes. Pc devoid of the redox center (Pcapo) can exchange charge with PSI at longer distances than with the copper ion (Pcholo). Conductance bursts associated with Pcapo/PSI complex formation are higher than in Pcholo/PSI. Thus, copper ions are not required for long-distance Pc/PSI ETp but regulate its spatial span and conductance. Our results suggest that the redox center that carries the charge in Pc is not necessary to exchange it in interprotein ET through the aqueous solution and question the canonical view of tight complex binding between redox protein partners.

JTD Keywords: azurin, binding, blinking, crystal-structure, cupredoxin, current distance spectroscopy, electrochemical tunneling microscopy, proteinconductance, reduction, single metalloprotein, single molecule measurements, site, spectroscopy, Blinking, Cupredoxin, Current distance spectroscopy, Electrochemical tunneling microscopy, Interprotein electron transfer, Protein conductance, Single molecule measurements, State electron-transport


Macedo, MH, Torras, N, García-Díaz, M, Barrias, C, Sarmento, B, Martínez, E, (2023). The shape of our gut: Dissecting its impact on drug absorption in a 3D bioprinted intestinal model Biomaterials Advances 153, 213564

The small intestine is a complex organ with a characteristic architecture and a major site for drug and nutrient absorption. The three-dimensional (3D) topography organized in finger-like protrusions called villi increases surface area remarkably, granting a more efficient absorption process. The intestinal mucosa, where this process occurs, is a multilayered and multicell-type tissue barrier. In vitro intestinal models are routinely used to study different physiological and pathological processes in the gut, including compound absorption. Still, standard models are typically two-dimensional (2D) and represent only the epithelial barrier, lacking the cues offered by the 3D architecture and the stromal components present in vivo, often leading to inaccurate results. In this work, we studied the impact of the 3D architecture of the gut on drug transport using a bioprinted 3D model of the intestinal mucosa containing both the epithelial and the stromal compartments. Human intestinal fibroblasts were embedded in a previously optimized hydrogel bioink, and enterocytes and goblet cells were seeded on top to mimic the intestinal mucosa. The embedded fibroblasts thrived inside the hydrogel, remodeling the surrounding extracellular matrix. The epithelial cells fully covered the hydrogel scaffolds and formed a uniform cell layer with barrier properties close to in vivo. In particular, the villus-like model revealed overall increased permeability compared to a flat counterpart composed by the same hydrogel and cells. In addition, the efflux activity of the P-glycoprotein (P-gp) transporter was significantly reduced in the villus-like scaffold compared to a flat model, and the genetic expression of other drugs transporters was, in general, more relevant in the villus-like model. Globally, this study corroborates that the presence of the 3D architecture promotes a more physiological differentiation of the epithelial barrier, providing more accurate data on drug absorbance measurements.Copyright © 2023. Published by Elsevier B.V.

JTD Keywords: 3d architecture, alkaline-phosphatase, caco-2 cells, culture, drug development, efflux proteins, gene-expression, human-colon, intestinal absorption, intestinal models, microenvironment, paracellular transport, permeability, photopolymerization, villi, 3d architecture, 3d bioprinting, Drug development, In-vitro, Intestinal absorption, Intestinal models, Photopolymerization, Villi


del Moral, M, Loeck, M, Muntimadugu, E, Vives, G, Pham, V, Pfeifer, P, Battaglia, G, Muro, S, Andrianov, AK, (2023). Role of the Lactide:Glycolide Ratio in PLGA Nanoparticle Stability and Release under Lysosomal Conditions for Enzyme Replacement Therapy of Lysosomal Storage Disorders J Funct Biomater 14, 440

Prior studies demonstrated that encapsulation in poly(lactic-co-glycolic acid) (PLGA) nanoparticles (NPs) enhanced the delivery of enzymes used for replacement therapy (ERT) of lysosomal storage disorders (LSDs). This study examined how the copolymer lactide:glycolide ratio impacts encapsulation, physicochemical characteristics, stability, and release under lysosomal conditions. Hyaluronidase, deficient in mucopolysaccharidosis IX, was encapsulated in NPs synthesized using 50:50, 60:40, or 75:25 lactide:glycolide copolymers. All NPs had diameters compatible with cellular transport (≤168 nm) and polydispersity indexes (≤0.16) and ζ-potentials (≤-35 mV) compatible with colloidal stability. Yet, their encapsulation efficiency varied, with 75:25 NPs and 60:40 NPs having the lowest and highest EE, respectively (15% vs. 28%). Under lysosomal conditions, the 50:50 copolymer degraded fastest (41% in 1 week), as expected, and the presence of a targeting antibody coat did not alter this result. Additionally, 60:40 NPs destabilized fastest (<1 week) because of their smaller diameter, and 75:25 NPs did not destabilize in 4 weeks. All formulations presented burst release under lysosomal conditions (56-78% of the original load within 30 min), with 50:50 and 60:40 NPs releasing an additional small fraction after week 1. This provided 4 weeks of sustained catalytic activity, sufficient to fully degrade a substrate. Altogether, the 60:40 NP formulation is preferred given its higher EE, and 50:50 NPs represent a valid alternative, while the highest stability of 75:25 NPs may impair lysosomes. These results can guide future studies aiming to translate PLGA NP-based ERT for this and other LSDs.

JTD Keywords: biodegradation, copolymer ratio, degradation, drug-delivery, emulsification, enzyme release, enzyme replacement therapy, hyaluronidase, mechanisms, microspheres, nanoparticle stability, poly(lactide-co-glycolide) nanoparticles, size, sphingomyelinase, transport, Central-nervous-system, Copolymer ratio, Enzyme release, Enzyme replacement therapy, Hyaluronidase, Lysosomal storage disorder, Nanoparticle stability, Poly(lactide-co-glycolide) nanoparticles


Javier-Reyna, R, Avalos-Padilla, Y, Marion, S, (2023). Editorial: Vesicular transport, the actin cytoskeleton and their involvement in virulence mechanisms during host-parasite interaction Frontiers In Cellular And Infection Microbiology 13, 1229067

Milenkovic, S, Wang, JJ, Acosta-Gutierrez, S, Winterhalter, M, Ceccarelli, M, Bodrenko, IV, (2023). How the physical properties of bacterial porins match environmental conditions Physical Chemistry Chemical Physics 25, 12712-12722

Despite the high homology of OmpF and OmpC, the internally folded loop responds differently to temperature increase.

JTD Keywords: diffusion, mechanism, molecules, nanopores, permeability, proteins, rules, simulations, transport, Membrane


Garcia, L, Palma-Florez, S, Espinosa, V, Rokni, FS, Lagunas, A, Mir, M, García-Celma, MJ, Samitier, J, Rodríguez-Abreu, C, Grijalvo, S, (2023). Ferulic acid-loaded polymeric nanoparticles prepared from nano-emulsion templates facilitate internalisation across the blood?brain barrier in model membranes Nanoscale 15, 7929-7944

Ferulic acid-loaded PLGA NPs were synthesised via low-energy emulsification methods utilising nano-emulsion templating including permeabilisation efficiency assessed using an in vitro organ-on-a-chip system that simulates the blood-brain barrier.

JTD Keywords: alzheimers-disease, curcumin, energy, nanocarriers, nanoemulsions, plga nanoparticles, polyreactions, release, transport, Drug-delivery-systems


Palma-Florez, Sujey, Lopez-Canosa, Adrian, Moralez-Zavala, Francisco, Castano, Oscar, Kogan, Marcelo J, Samitier, Josep, Lagunas, Anna, Mir, Monica, (2023). BBB-on-a-chip with integrated micro-TEER for permeability evaluation of multi-functionalized gold nanorods against Alzheimer's disease Journal Of Nanobiotechnology 21, 115

The lack of predictive models that mimic the blood-brain barrier (BBB) hinders the development of effective drugs for neurodegenerative diseases. Animal models behave differently from humans, are expensive and have ethical constraints. Organ-on-a-chip (OoC) platforms offer several advantages to resembling physiological and pathological conditions in a versatile, reproducible, and animal-free manner. In addition, OoC give us the possibility to incorporate sensors to determine cell culture features such as trans-endothelial electrical resistance (TEER). Here, we developed a BBB-on-a-chip (BBB-oC) platform with a TEER measurement system in close distance to the barrier used for the first time for the evaluation of the permeability performance of targeted gold nanorods for theranostics of Alzheimer's disease. GNR-PEG-Ang2/D1 is a therapeutic nanosystem previously developed by us consisting of gold nanorods (GNR) functionalized with polyethylene glycol (PEG), angiopep-2 peptide (Ang2) to overcome the BBB and the D1 peptide as beta amyloid fibrillation inhibitor, finally obtaining GNR-PEG-Ang2/D1 which showed to be useful for disaggregation of the amyloid in in vitro and in vivo models. In this work, we evaluated its cytotoxicity, permeability, and some indications of its impact on the brain endothelium by employing an animal-free device based on neurovascular human cells.In this work, we fabricated a BBB-oC with human astrocytes, pericytes and endothelial cells and a TEER measuring system (TEER-BBB-oC) integrated at a micrometric distance of the endothelial barrier. The characterization displayed a neurovascular network and the expression of tight junctions in the endothelium. We produced GNR-PEG-Ang2/D1 and determined its non-cytotoxic range (0.05-0.4 nM) for plated cells included in the BBB-oC and confirmed its harmless effect at the highest concentration (0.4 nM) in the microfluidic device. The permeability assays revealed that GNR-PEG-Ang2/D1 cross the BBB and this entry is facilitated by Ang2 peptide. Parallel to the permeability analysis of GNR-PEG-Ang2/D1, an interesting behavior of the TJs expression was observed after its administration probably related to the ligands on the nanoparticle surface.BBB-oC with a novel TEER integrated setup which allow a correct read-out and cell imaging monitoring was proven as a functional and throughput platform to evaluate the brain permeability performance of nanotherapeutics in a physiological environment with human cells, putting forward a viable alternative to animal experimentation.© 2023. The Author(s).

JTD Keywords: alzheimer disease (ad), cell-culture, cytotoxicity, endothelial-cells, gold nanoparticles, microfluidic platform, model, organ-on-a-chip (ooc), peptide, tight junction, trans-endothelial electrical resistance (teer), transport, Alzheimer disease (ad), Blood-brain barrier (bbb), Blood-brain-barrier, Blood–brain barrier (bbb), Gold nanoparticles, Organ-on-a-chip (ooc), Trans-endothelial electrical resistance (teer)


Jurado, A, Ulldemolins, A, Lluís, H, Gasull, X, Gavara, N, Sunyer, R, Otero, J, Gozal, D, Almendros, I, Farré, R, (2023). Fast cycling of intermittent hypoxia in a physiomimetic 3D environment: A novel tool for the study of the parenchymal effects of sleep apnea Frontiers In Pharmacology 13, 1081345

Background: Patients with obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) experience recurrent hypoxemic events with a frequency sometimes exceeding 60 events/h. These episodic events induce downstream transient hypoxia in the parenchymal tissue of all organs, thereby eliciting the pathological consequences of OSA. Whereas experimental models currently apply intermittent hypoxia to cells conventionally cultured in 2D plates, there is no well-characterized setting that will subject cells to well-controlled intermittent hypoxia in a 3D environment and enable the study of the effects of OSA on the cells of interest while preserving the underlying tissue environment.Aim: To design and characterize an experimental approach that exposes cells to high-frequency intermittent hypoxia mimicking OSA in 3D (hydrogels or tissue slices).Methods: Hydrogels made from lung extracellular matrix (L-ECM) or brain tissue slices (300-800-mu m thickness) were placed on a well whose bottom consisted of a permeable silicone membrane. The chamber beneath the membrane was subjected to a square wave of hypoxic/normoxic air. The oxygen concentration at different depths within the hydrogel/tissue slice was measured with an oxygen microsensor.Results: 3D-seeded cells could be subjected to well-controlled and realistic intermittent hypoxia patterns mimicking 60 apneas/h when cultured in L-ECM hydrogels & AP;500 mu m-thick or ex-vivo in brain slices 300-500 mu m-thick.Conclusion: This novel approach will facilitate the investigation of the effects of intermittent hypoxia simulating OSA in 3D-residing cells within the parenchyma of different tissues/organs.

JTD Keywords: 3d culture, cell culture, diffusion, disease model, hydrogels, hypoxia, model, oxygen diffusion, tissue slice, transport, 3d culture, Cell culture, Disease model, Hydrogels, Hypoxia, Obstructive sleep apnea, Oxygen, Oxygen diffusion, Tissue slice


Lagunas, A, Belloir, C, Briand, L, Gorostiza, P, Samitier, J, (2022). Determination of the nanoscale electrical properties of olfactory receptor hOR1A1 and their dependence on ligand binding: Towards the development of capacitance-operated odorant biosensors Biosensors & Bioelectronics 218, 114755

The transduction of odorant binding into cellular signaling by olfactory receptors (ORs) is not understood and knowing its mechanism would enable developing new pharmacology and biohybrid electronic detectors of volatile organic compounds bearing high sensitivity and selectivity. The electrical characterization of ORs in bulk experiments is subject to microscopic models and assumptions. We have directly determined the nanoscale electrical properties of ORs immobilized in a fixed orientation, and their change upon odorant binding, using electrochemical scanning tunneling microscopy (EC-STM) in near-physiological conditions. Recordings of current versus time, distance, and electrochemical potential allows determining the OR impedance parameters and their dependence with odorant binding. Our results allow validating OR structural-electrostatic models and their functional activation processes, and anticipating a novel macroscopic biosensor based on ORs.Copyright © 2022 The Authors. Published by Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

JTD Keywords: electrochemical scanning tunneling, electrochemical scanning tunneling microscopy (ec-stm), microscopy (ec-stm), neurons, odorant binding, olfactory receptors (ors), open-circuit voltage(voc), Olfactory receptors (ors), Open-circuit voltage (v(oc)), Transport


Blanco-Cabra, N, Movellan, J, Marradi, M, Gracia, R, Salvador, C, Dupin, D, Loinaz, I, Torrents, E, (2022). Neutralization of ionic interactions by dextran-based single-chain nanoparticles improves tobramycin diffusion into a mature biofilm Npj Biofilms And Microbiomes 8, 52

The extracellular matrix protects biofilm cells by reducing diffusion of antimicrobials. Tobramycin is an antibiotic used extensively to treat P. aeruginosa biofilms, but it is sequestered in the biofilm periphery by the extracellular negative charge matrix and loses its efficacy significantly. Dispersal of the biofilm extracellular matrix with enzymes such as DNase I is another promising therapy that enhances antibiotic diffusion into the biofilm. Here, we combine the charge neutralization of tobramycin provided by dextran-based single-chain polymer nanoparticles (SCPNs) together with DNase I to break the biofilm matrix. Our study demonstrates that the SCPNs improve the activity of tobramycin and DNase I by neutralizing the ionic interactions that keep this antibiotic in the biofilm periphery. Moreover, the detailed effects and interactions of nanoformulations with extracellular matrix components were revealed through time-lapse imaging of the P. aeruginosa biofilms by laser scanning confocal microscopy with specific labeling of the different biofilm components.

JTD Keywords: Cystic-fibrosis sputum, Delivery, Extracellular dna, Infections, Pseudomonas-aeruginosa, Transport


Mir, Monica, Palma-Florez, Sujey, Lagunas, Anna, Jose Lopez-Martinez, Maria, Samitier, Josep, (2022). Biosensors Integration in Blood-Brain Barrier-on-a-Chip: Emerging Platform for Monitoring Neurodegenerative Diseases Acs Sensors 7, 1237-1247

Over the most recent decades, the development of new biological platforms to study disease progression and drug efficacy has been of great interest due to the high increase in the rate of neurodegenerative diseases (NDDs). Therefore, blood-brain barrier (BBB) as an organ-on-a-chip (OoC) platform to mimic brain-barrier performance could offer a deeper understanding of NDDs as well as a very valuable tool for drug permeability testing for new treatments. A very attractive improvement of BBB-oC technology is the integration of detection systems to provide continuous monitoring of biomarkers in real time and a fully automated analysis of drug permeably, rendering more efficient platforms for commercialization. In this Perspective, an overview of the main BBB-oC configurations is introduced and a critical vision of the BBB-oC platforms integrating electronic read out systems is detailed, indicating the strengths and weaknesses of current devices, proposing the great potential for biosensors integration in BBB-oC. In this direction, we name potential biomarkers to monitor the evolution of NDDs related to the BBB and/or drug cytotoxicity using biosensor technology in BBB-oC.

JTD Keywords: biosensors, blood−brain barrier (bbb), neurodegenerative diseases (ndds), organ-on-a-chip (ooc), Bbb, Biosensors, Blood-brain barrier (bbb), Electrical-resistance, Electrochemical biosensors, Endothelial-cells, In-vitro model, Matrix metalloproteinases, Mechanisms, Neurodegenerative diseases (ndds), Organ-on-a-chip (ooc), Permeability, Stress, Transendothelial electrical resistance (teer), Transepithelial, Transepithelial/transendothelial electrical resistance (teer), Transport


López-Ortiz, M, Zamora, RA, Giannotti, MI, Hu, C, Croce, R, Gorostiza, P, (2022). Distance and Potential Dependence of Charge Transport Through the Reaction Center of Individual Photosynthetic Complexes Small 18, 2104366

Charge separation and transport through the reaction center of photosystem I (PSI) is an essential part of the photosynthetic electron transport chain. A strategy is developed to immobilize and orient PSI complexes on gold electrodes allowing to probe the complex's electron acceptor side, the chlorophyll special pair P700. Electrochemical scanning tunneling microscopy (ECSTM) imaging and current-distance spectroscopy of single protein complex shows lateral size in agreement with its known dimensions, and a PSI apparent height that depends on the probe potential revealing a gating effect in protein conductance. In current-distance spectroscopy, it is observed that the distance-decay constant of the current between PSI and the ECSTM probe depends on the sample and probe electrode potentials. The longest charge exchange distance (lowest distance-decay constant ?) is observed at sample potential 0 mV/SSC (SSC: reference electrode silver/silver chloride) and probe potential 400 mV/SSC. These potentials correspond to hole injection into an electronic state that is available in the absence of illumination. It is proposed that a pair of tryptophan residues located at the interface between P700 and the solution and known to support the hydrophobic recognition of the PSI redox partner plastocyanin, may have an additional role as hole exchange mediator in charge transport through PSI.© 2021 Wiley-VCH GmbH.

JTD Keywords: azurin, current distance decay spectroscopy, cytochrome c(6), electrochemical scanning tunneling microscopy (ecstm), electrochemistry, photosystem i, photosystem-i, plastocyanin, protein electron transfer, recognition, single metalloprotein, single molecules, structural basis, tunneling spectroscopy, 'current, Amino acids, Charge transfer, Chlorine compounds, Current distance decay spectroscopy, Decay spectroscopies, Distance decay, Electrochemical scanning tunneling microscopy, Electrochemical scanning tunneling microscopy (ecstm), Electrodes, Electron transfer, Electron transport properties, Gold compounds, Photosystem i, Photosystems, Protein electron transfer, Protein electron-transfer, Proteins, Scanning tunneling microscopy, Silver halides, Single molecule, Single molecules


Leite, DM, Seifi, M, Ruiz-Perez, L, Nguemo, F, Plomann, M, Swinny, JD, Battaglia, G, (2022). Syndapin-2 mediated transcytosis of amyloid-beta across the blood brain barrier Brain Commun 4, fcac093

A deficient transport of amyloid-beta across the blood-brain barrier, and its diminished clearance from the brain, contribute to neurodegenerative and vascular pathologies, such as Alzheimer's disease and cerebral amyloid angiopathy, respectively. At the blood-brain barrier, amyloid-beta efflux transport is associated with the low-density lipoprotein receptor-related protein 1. However, the precise mechanisms governing amyloid-beta transport across the blood-brain barrier, in health and disease, remain to be fully understood. Recent evidence indicates that the low-density lipoprotein receptor-related protein 1 transcytosis occurs through a tuhulation-mediated mechanism stabilized by syndapin-2. Here, we show that syndapin-2 is associated with amyloid-beta clearance via low-density lipoprotein receptor-related protein 1 across the blood-brain barrier. We further demonstrate that risk factors for Alzheimer's disease, amyloid-beta expression and ageing, are associated with a decline in the native expression of syndapin-2 within the brain endothelium. Our data reveals that syndapin-2-mediated pathway, and its balance with the endosomal sorting, are important for amyloid-beta clearance proposing a measure to evaluate Alzheimer's disease and ageing, as well as a target for counteracting amyloid-beta build-up. Moreover, we provide evidence for the impact of the avidity of amyloid-beta assemblies in their trafficking across the brain endothelium and in low-density lipoprotein receptor-related protein 1 expression levels, which may affect the overall clearance of amyloid-beta across the blood-brain barrier.

JTD Keywords: alzheimer’s disease, amyloid-β, blood–brain barrier, syndapin-2, Alzheimer's disease, Alzheimers-disease, Amyloid-beta, Apolipoprotein-j, Blood-brain barrier, Clearance, Expression, Membrane invagination, Peptide, Protein, Rab gtpases, Receptor, Syndapin-2, Transport, Tubular transcytosis


Macedo, MH, Barros, AS, Martinez, E, Barrias, CC, Sarmento, B, (2022). All layers matter: Innovative three-dimensional epithelium-stroma-endothelium intestinal model for reliable permeability outcomes Journal Of Controlled Release 341, 414-430

Drug development is an ever-growing field, increasingly requesting reliable in vitro tools to speed up early screening phases, reducing the need for animal experiments. In oral delivery, understanding the absorption pattern of a new drug in the small intestine is paramount. Classical two-dimensional (2D) in vitro models are generally too simplistic and do not accurately represent native tissues. The main goal of this work was to develop an advanced three-dimensional (3D) in vitro intestinal model to test absorption in a more reliable manner, by better mimicking the native environment. The 3D model is composed of a collagen-based stromal layer with embedded fibroblasts mimicking the intestinal lamina propria and providing support for the epithelium, composed of enterocytes and mucus-secreting cells. An endothelial layer, surrogating the absorptive capillary network, is also present. The cellular crosstalk between the different cells present in the model is unveiled, disclosing key players, namely those involved in the contraction of collagen by fibroblasts. The developed 3D model presents lower levels of P-glycoprotein (P-gp) and Multidrug Resistance Protein 2 (MRP2) efflux transporters, which are normally overexpressed in traditional Caco-2 models, and are paramount in the absorption of many compounds. This, allied with transepithelial electrical resistance (TEER) values closer to physiological ranges, leads to improved and more reliable permeability outcomes, which are observed when comparing our results with in vivo data.

JTD Keywords: 3d intestinal model, drug absorption, drug development, endothelium, hydrogel, 3d intestinal model, 3d modeling, 3d models, 3d-modeling, Alkaline-phosphatase, Animal experiments, Biopharmaceutics classification, Caco-2 cells, Cell culture, Collagen, Collagen gel, Drug absorption, Drug development, Endothelium, Fibroblasts, Glycoproteins, Hydrogel, In-vitro, Matrix metalloproteinases, Membrane-permeability, Paracellular transport, Permeability, Single-pass vs., Speed up


Sheehan, F, Sementa, D, Jain, A, Kumar, M, Tayarani-Najjaran, M, Kroiss, D, Ulijn, RV, (2021). Peptide-Based Supramolecular Systems Chemistry Chemical Reviews 121, 13869-13914

Peptide-based supramolecular systems chemistry seeks to mimic the ability of life forms to use conserved sets of building blocks and chemical reactions to achieve a bewildering array of functions. Building on the design principles for short peptide-based nanomaterials with properties, such as self-assembly, recognition, catalysis, and actuation, are increasingly available. Peptide-based supramolecular systems chemistry is starting to address the far greater challenge of systems-level design to access complex functions that emerge when multiple reactions and interactions are coordinated and integrated. We discuss key features relevant to systems-level design, including regulating supramolecular order and disorder, development of active and adaptive systems by considering kinetic and thermodynamic design aspects and combinatorial dynamic covalent and noncovalent interactions. Finally, we discuss how structural and dynamic design concepts, including preorganization and induced fit, are critical to the ability to develop adaptive materials with adaptive and tunable photonic, electronic, and catalytic properties. Finally, we highlight examples where multiple features are combined, resulting in chemical systems and materials that display adaptive properties that cannot be achieved without this level of integration.

JTD Keywords: aromatic peptide, biological-properties, chemical control, conformational-analysis, electronic transport, mechanical-properties, perylene bisimide, pro-hyp sequences, residues determine, Self-assembling peptide


Lozano, H, Millan-Solsona, R, Blanco-Cabra, N, Fabregas, R, Torrents, E, Gomila, G, (2021). Electrical properties of outer membrane extensions from Shewanella oneidensis MR-1 Nanoscale 13, 18754-18762

Outer membrane extensions from the metal-reducing bacterium Shewanella oneidensis MR-1 show an insulating behavior in dry air environment as measured by scanning dielectric microscopy.

JTD Keywords: constant, dielectric polarization, microbial nanowires, nanoscale, transport, Air environment, Bacteria, Bacterial cells, Bacterial nanowires, Dry air, Metal-reducing bacteria, Outer membrane, Phase-minerals, Proteins, Shewanella oneidensis mr-1, Solid phasis, Solid-phase, Space division multiple access, Tubulars


Boschker, HTS, Cook, PLM, Polerecky, L, Eachambadi, RT, Lozano, H, Hidalgo-Martinez, S, Khalenkow, D, Spampinato, V, Claes, N, Kundu, P, Wang, D, Bals, S, Sand, KK, Cavezza, F, Hauffman, T, Bjerg, JT, Skirtach, AG, Kochan, K, McKee, M, Wood, B, Bedolla, D, Gianoncelli, A, Geerlings, NMJ, Van Gerven, N, Remaut, H, Geelhoed, JS, Millan-Solsona, R, Fumagalli, L, Nielsen, LP, Franquet, A, Manca, JV, Gomila, G, Meysman, FJR, (2021). Efficient long-range conduction in cable bacteria through nickel protein wires Nature Communications 12, 3996

Filamentous cable bacteria display long-range electron transport, generating electrical currents over centimeter distances through a highly ordered network of fibers embedded in their cell envelope. The conductivity of these periplasmic wires is exceptionally high for a biological material, but their chemical structure and underlying electron transport mechanism remain unresolved. Here, we combine high-resolution microscopy, spectroscopy, and chemical imaging on individual cable bacterium filaments to demonstrate that the periplasmic wires consist of a conductive protein core surrounded by an insulating protein shell layer. The core proteins contain a sulfur-ligated nickel cofactor, and conductivity decreases when nickel is oxidized or selectively removed. The involvement of nickel as the active metal in biological conduction is remarkable, and suggests a hitherto unknown form of electron transport that enables efficient conduction in centimeter-long protein structures. Filamentous cable bacteria conduct electrical currents over centimeter distances through fibers embedded in their cell envelope. Here, Boschker et al. show that the fibers consist of a conductive core containing nickel proteins that is surrounded by an insulating protein shell.

JTD Keywords: Bacteria (microorganisms), Bacterial protein, Bacterial proteins, Bacterium, Chemistry, Deltaproteobacteria, Electric conductivity, Electricity, Electron, Electron transport, Metabolism, Microscopy, Nanowires, Nickel, Physiology, Protein, Resonance raman, Spectroscopy, Transport electrons


Hortelao, AC, Simó, C, Guix, M, Guallar-Garrido, S, Julián, E, Vilela, D, Rejc, L, Ramos-Cabrer, P, Cossío, U, Gómez-Vallejo, V, Patiño, T, Llop, J, Sánchez, S, (2021). Swarming behavior and in vivo monitoring of enzymatic nanomotors within the bladder Science Robotics 6, eabd2823

Enzyme-powered nanomotors are an exciting technology for biomedical applications due to their ability to navigate within biological environments using endogenous fuels. However, limited studies into their collective behavior and demonstrations of tracking enzyme nanomotors in vivo have hindered progress toward their clinical translation. Here, we report the swarming behavior of urease-powered nanomotors and its tracking using positron emission tomography (PET), both in vitro and in vivo. For that, mesoporous silica nanoparticles containing urease enzymes and gold nanoparticles were used as nanomotors. To image them, nanomotors were radiolabeled with either I on gold nanoparticles or F-labeled prosthetic group to urease. In vitro experiments showed enhanced fluid mixing and collective migration of nanomotors, demonstrating higher capability to swim across complex paths inside microfabricated phantoms, compared with inactive nanomotors. In vivo intravenous administration in mice confirmed their biocompatibility at the administered dose and the suitability of PET to quantitatively track nanomotors in vivo. Furthermore, nanomotors were administered directly into the bladder of mice by intravesical injection. When injected with the fuel, urea, a homogeneous distribution was observed even after the entrance of fresh urine. By contrast, control experiments using nonmotile nanomotors (i.e., without fuel or without urease) resulted in sustained phase separation, indicating that the nanomotors’ self-propulsion promotes convection and mixing in living reservoirs. Active collective dynamics, together with the medical imaging tracking, constitute a key milestone and a step forward in the field of biomedical nanorobotics, paving the way toward their use in theranostic applications. 124 18

JTD Keywords: cell, reversal, silica nanoparticles, size, step, transport, Propelled micromotors


Convertino, D., Fabbri, F., Mishra, N., Mainardi, M., Cappello, V., Testa, G., Capsoni, S., Albertazzi, L., Luin, S., Marchetti, L., Coletti, C., (2020). Graphene promotes axon elongation through local stall of nerve growth factor signaling endosomes Nano Letters 20, (5), 3633-3641

Several works reported increased differentiation of neuronal cells grown on graphene; however, the molecular mechanism driving axon elongation on this material has remained elusive. Here, we study the axonal transport of nerve growth factor (NGF), the neurotrophin supporting development of peripheral neurons, as a key player in the time course of axonal elongation of dorsal root ganglion neurons on graphene. We find that graphene drastically reduces the number of retrogradely transported NGF vesicles in favor of a stalled population in the first 2 days of culture, in which the boost of axon elongation is observed. This correlates with a mutual charge redistribution, observed via Raman spectroscopy and electrophysiological recordings. Furthermore, ultrastructural analysis indicates a reduced microtubule distance and an elongated axonal topology. Thus, both electrophysiological and structural effects can account for graphene action on neuron development. Unraveling the molecular players underneath this interplay may open new avenues for axon regeneration applications.

JTD Keywords: Axon elongation, Graphene, Material-neuron interface, Membrane-associated periodic skeleton, Nerve growth factor retrograde transport, Peripheral dorsal root ganglion neuron


Manthe, Rachel L., Loeck, Maximilian, Bhowmick, Tridib, Solomon, Melani, Muro, Silvia, (2020). Intertwined mechanisms define transport of anti-ICAM nanocarriers across the endothelium and brain delivery of a therapeutic enzyme Journal of Controlled Release 324, 181-193

The interaction of drug delivery systems with tissues is key for their application. An example is drug carriers targeted to endothelial barriers, which can be transported to intra-endothelial compartments (lysosomes) or transcellularly released at the tissue side (transcytosis). Although carrier targeting valency influences this process, the mechanism is unknown. We studied this using polymer nanocarriers (NCs) targeted to intercellular adhesion molecule-1 (ICAM-1), an endothelial-surface glycoprotein whose expression is increased in pathologies characterized by inflammation. A bell-shaped relationship was found between NC targeting valency and the rate of transcytosis, where high and low NC valencies rendered less efficient transcytosis rates than an intermediate valency formulation. In contrast, an inverted bell-shape relationship was found for NC valency and lysosomal trafficking rates. Data suggested a model where NC valency plays an opposing role in the two sub-processes involved in transcytosis: NC binding-uptake depended directly on valency and exocytosis-detachment was inversely related to this parameter. This is because the greater the avidity of the NC-receptor interaction the more efficient uptake becomes, but NC-receptor detachment post-transport is more compromised. Cleavage of the receptor at the basolateral side of endothelial cells facilitated NC transcytosis, likely by helping NC detachment post-transport. Since transcytosis encompasses both sets of events, the full process finds an optimum at the intersection of these inverted relationships, explaining the bell-shaped behavior. NCs also trafficked to lysosomes from the apical side and, additionally, from the basolateral side in the case of high valency NCs which are slower at detaching from the receptor. This explains the opposite behavior of NC valency for transcytosis vs. lysosomal transport. Anti-ICAM NCs were verified to traffic into the brain after intravenous injection in mice, and both cellular and in vivo data showed that intermediate valency NCs resulted in higher delivery of a therapeutic enzyme, acid sphingomyelinase, required for types A and B Niemann-Pick disease.

JTD Keywords: Blood-brain barrier, ICAM-1-targeted nanocarriers, Targeting valency, Receptor-mediated transport, Lysosomal transcytosis destinations


Xu, D., Wang, Y., Liang, C., You, Y., Sanchez, S., Ma, X., (2020). Self-propelled micro/nanomotors for on-demand biomedical cargo transportation Small 16, (27), 1902464

Micro/nanomotors (MNMs) are miniaturized machines that can perform assigned tasks at the micro/nanoscale. Over the past decade, significant progress has been made in the design, preparation, and applications of MNMs that are powered by converting different sources of energy into mechanical force, to realize active movement and fulfill on-demand tasks. MNMs can be navigated to desired locations with precise controllability based on different guidance mechanisms. A considerable research effort has gone into demonstrating that MNMs possess the potential of biomedical cargo loading, transportation, and targeted release to achieve therapeutic functions. Herein, the recent advances of self-propelled MNMs for on-demand biomedical cargo transportation, including their self-propulsion mechanisms, guidance strategies, as well as proof-of-concept studies for biological applications are presented. In addition, some of the major challenges and possible opportunities of MNMs are identified for future biomedical applications in the hope that it may inspire future research.

JTD Keywords: Biomedical applications, Cargo transportation, Guidance strategies, Micro/nanomotors, Self-propulsion


Elosegui-Artola, A., Andreu, I., Beedle, A. E. M., Lezamiz, A., Uroz, M., Kosmalska, A. J., Oria, R., Kechagia, J. Z., Rico-Lastres, P., Le Roux, A. L., Shanahan, C. M., Trepat, X., Navajas, D., Garcia-Manyes, S., Roca-Cusachs, P., (2017). Force triggers YAP nuclear entry by regulating transport across nuclear pores Cell 171, (6), 1397-1410

YAP is a mechanosensitive transcriptional activator with a critical role in cancer, regeneration, and organ size control. Here, we show that force applied to the nucleus directly drives YAP nuclear translocation by decreasing the mechanical restriction of nuclear pores to molecular transport. Exposure to a stiff environment leads cells to establish a mechanical connection between the nucleus and the cytoskeleton, allowing forces exerted through focal adhesions to reach the nucleus. Force transmission then leads to nuclear flattening, which stretches nuclear pores, reduces their mechanical resistance to molecular transport, and increases YAP nuclear import. The restriction to transport is further regulated by the mechanical stability of the transported protein, which determines both active nuclear transport of YAP and passive transport of small proteins. Our results unveil a mechanosensing mechanism mediated directly by nuclear pores, demonstrated for YAP but with potential general applicability in transcriptional regulation. Force-dependent changes in nuclear pores control protein access to the nucleus.

JTD Keywords: Atomic force microscopy, Hippo pathway, Mechanosensing, Mechanotransduction, Molecular mechanical stability, Nuclear mechanics, Nuclear pores, Nuclear transport, Rigidity sensing, Transcription regulation


López-Martínez, Montserrat, Artés, Juan Manuel, Sarasso, Veronica, Carminati, Marco, Díez-Pérez, Ismael, Sanz, Fausto, Gorostiza, Pau, (2017). Differential electrochemical conductance imaging at the nanoscale Small 13, (36), 1700958

Electron transfer in proteins is essential in crucial biological processes. Although the fundamental aspects of biological electron transfer are well characterized, currently there are no experimental tools to determine the atomic-scale electronic pathways in redox proteins, and thus to fully understand their outstanding efficiency and environmental adaptability. This knowledge is also required to design and optimize biomolecular electronic devices. In order to measure the local conductance of an electrode surface immersed in an electrolyte, this study builds upon the current–potential spectroscopic capacity of electrochemical scanning tunneling microscopy, by adding an alternating current modulation technique. With this setup, spatially resolved, differential electrochemical conductance images under bipotentiostatic control are recorded. Differential electrochemical conductance imaging allows visualizing the reversible oxidation of an iron electrode in borate buffer and individual azurin proteins immobilized on atomically flat gold surfaces. In particular, this method reveals submolecular regions with high conductance within the protein. The direct observation of nanoscale conduction pathways in redox proteins and complexes enables important advances in biochemistry and bionanotechnology.

JTD Keywords: Differential electrochemical conductance, ECSTM, Electron transport pathway, Iron passivation, Redox metalloproteins


Aragonès, Albert C., Medina, Ernesto, Ferrer-Huerta, Miriam, Gimeno, Nuria, Teixidó, Meritxell, Palma, Julio L., Tao, Nongjian, Ugalde, Jesus M., Giralt, Ernest, Díez-Pérez, Ismael, Mujica, Vladimiro, (2017). Measuring the spin-polarization power of a single chiral molecule Small 13, (2), 1602519

The electronic spin filtering capability of a single chiral helical peptide is measured. A ferromagnetic electrode source is employed to inject spin-polarized electrons in an asymmetric single-molecule junction bridging an α-helical peptide sequence of known chirality. The conductance comparison between both isomers allows the direct determination of the polarization power of an individual chiral molecule.

JTD Keywords: Alpha-helical peptides, Chiral transport, Single-molecule wires, Spin-polarization power, Spin-polarized transmission


Urrea, Laura, Ferrer, Isidro, Gavín, Rosalina, del Río, José Antonio, (2017). The cellular prion protein (PrPC) as neuronal receptor for α-synuclein Prion , 11, (4), 226-233

The term ‘prion-like’ is used to define some misfolded protein species that propagate intercellularly, triggering protein aggregation in recipient cells. For cell binding, both direct plasma membrane interaction and membrane receptors have been described for particular amyloids. In this respect, emerging evidence demonstrates that several β-sheet enriched proteins can bind to the cellular prion protein (PrPC). Among other interactions, the physiological relevance of the binding between β-amyloid and PrPC has been a relevant focus of numerous studies. At the molecular level, published data point to the second charged cluster domain of the PrPC molecule as the relevant binding domain of the β-amyloid/PrPC interaction. In addition to β-amyloid, participation of PrPC in binding α-synuclein, responsible for neurodegenerative synucleopathies, has been reported. Although results indicate relevant participation of PrPC in the spreading of α-synuclein in living mice, the physiological relevance of the interaction remains elusive. In this comment, we focus our attention on summarizing current knowledge of PrPC as a receptor for amyloid proteins and its physiological significance, with particular focus on α-synuclein.

JTD Keywords: α-synuclein, Charged cluster domain, Interneuronal transport, LAG3, Neurodegeneration, PrPC, Parkinson disease


Ansoleaga, B., Garcia-Esparcia, Paula, Llorens, Franc, Hernández-Ortega, Karina, Carmona Tech, Margarita, Antonio del Rio, José, Zerr, Inga, Ferrer, Isidro, (2016). Altered mitochondria, protein synthesis machinery, and purine metabolism are molecular contributors to the pathogenesis of Creutzfeldt–Jakob disease Journal of Neuropathology & Experimental Neurology , 75, (8), 755-769

Neuron loss, synaptic decline, and spongiform change are the hallmarks of sporadic Creutzfeldt–Jakob disease (sCJD), and may be related to deficiencies in mitochondria, energy metabolism, and protein synthesis. To investigate these relationships, we determined the expression levels of genes encoding subunits of the 5 protein complexes of the electron transport chain, proteins involved in energy metabolism, nucleolar and ribosomal proteins, and enzymes of purine metabolism in frontal cortex samples from 15 cases of sCJD MM1 and age-matched controls. We also assessed the protein expression levels of subunits of the respiratory chain, initiation and elongation translation factors of protein synthesis, and localization of selected mitochondrial components. We identified marked, generalized alterations of mRNA and protein expression of most subunits of all 5 mitochondrial respiratory chain complexes in sCJD cases. Expression of molecules involved in protein synthesis and purine metabolism were also altered in sCJD. These findings point to altered mRNA and protein expression of components of mitochondria, protein synthesis machinery, and purine metabolism as components of the pathogenesis of CJD.

JTD Keywords: Creutzfeldt–Jakob disease, Electron transport chain, Mitochondria, Oxidative phosphorylation, Protein synthesis, Purine.


Tajes, M., Ramos-Fernández, E., Weng-Jiang, X., Bosch-Morató, M., Guivernau, B., Eraso-Pichot, A., Salvador, B., Fernàndez-Busquets, X., Roquer, J., Muñoz, F. J., (2014). The blood-brain barrier: Structure, function and therapeutic approaches to cross it Molecular Membrane Biology , 31, (5), 152-167

The blood-brain barrier (BBB) is constituted by a specialized vascular endothelium that interacts directly with astrocytes, neurons and pericytes. It protects the brain from the molecules of the systemic circulation but it has to be overcome for the proper treatment of brain cancer, psychiatric disorders or neurodegenerative diseases, which are dramatically increasing as the population ages. In the present work we have revised the current knowledge on the cellular structure of the BBB and the different procedures utilized currently and those proposed to cross it. Chemical modifications of the drugs, such as increasing their lipophilicity, turn them more prone to be internalized in the brain. Other mechanisms are the use of molecular tools to bind the drugs such as small immunoglobulins, liposomes or nanoparticles that will act as Trojan Horses favoring the drug delivery in brain. This fusion of the classical pharmacology with nanotechnology has opened a wide field to many different approaches with promising results to hypothesize that BBB will not be a major problem for the new generation of neuroactive drugs. The present review provides an overview of all state-of-the-art of the BBB structure and function, as well as of the classic strategies and these appeared in recent years to deliver drugs into the brain for the treatment of Central Nervous System (CNS) diseases.

JTD Keywords: Blood brain barrier, Drug delivery, Membrane transport


Diez-Perez, Ismael, Hihath, Joshua, Hines, Thomas, Wang, Zhong-Sheng, Zhou, Gang, Mullen, Klaus, Tao, Nongjian, (2011). Controlling single-molecule conductance through lateral coupling of [pi] orbitals Nature Nanotechnology , 6, (4), 226-231

In recent years, various single-molecule electronic components have been demonstrated(1). However, it remains difficult to predict accurately the conductance of a single molecule and to control the lateral coupling between the pi orbitals of the molecule and the orbitals of the electrodes attached to it. This lateral coupling is well known to cause broadening and shifting of the energy levels of the molecule; this, in turn, is expected to greatly modify the conductance of an electrodemolecule- electrode junction(2-6). Here, we demonstrate a new method, based on lateral coupling, to mechanically and reversibly control the conductance of a single-molecule junction by mechanically modulating the angle between a single pentaphenylene molecule bridged between two metal electrodes. Changing the angle of the molecule from a highly tilted state to an orientation nearly perpendicular to the electrodes changes the conductance by an order of magnitude, which is in qualitative agreement with theoretical models of molecular pi-orbital coupling to a metal electrode. The lateral coupling is also directly measured by applying a fast mechanical perturbation in the horizontal plane, thus ruling out changes in the contact geometry or molecular conformation as the source for the conductance change.

JTD Keywords: Junction conductance, Electron-transport, Interface, Dependence, Mechanism, Length


Malandrino, Andrea, Noailly, Jerome, Lacroix, Damien, (2011). The effect of sustained compression on oxygen metabolic transport in the intervertebral disc decreases with degenerative changes PLoS Computational Biology Plos Computational Biology , 7, (8), 1-12

Intervertebral disc metabolic transport is essential to the functional spine and provides the cells with the nutrients necessary to tissue maintenance. Disc degenerative changes alter the tissue mechanics, but interactions between mechanical loading and disc transport are still an open issue. A poromechanical finite element model of the human disc was coupled with oxygen and lactate transport models. Deformations and fluid flow were linked to transport predictions by including strain-dependent diffusion and advection. The two solute transport models were also coupled to account for cell metabolism. With this approach, the relevance of metabolic and mechano-transport couplings were assessed in the healthy disc under loading-recovery daily compression. Disc height, cell density and material degenerative changes were parametrically simulated to study their influence on the calculated solute concentrations. The effects of load frequency and amplitude were also studied in the healthy disc by considering short periods of cyclic compression. Results indicate that external loads influence the oxygen and lactate regional distributions within the disc when large volume changes modify diffusion distances and diffusivities, especially when healthy disc properties are simulated. Advection was negligible under both sustained and cyclic compression. Simulating degeneration, mechanical changes inhibited the mechanical effect on transport while disc height, fluid content, nucleus pressure and overall cell density reductions affected significantly transport predictions. For the healthy disc, nutrient concentration patterns depended mostly on the time of sustained compression and recovery. The relevant effect of cell density on the metabolic transport indicates the disturbance of cell number as a possible onset for disc degeneration via alteration of the metabolic balance. Results also suggest that healthy disc properties have a positive effect of loading on metabolic transport. Such relation, relevant to the maintenance of the tissue functional composition, would therefore link disc function with disc nutrition.

JTD Keywords: Bovine nucleus pulposus, Human anulus fibrosus, Finite-element, Fluid-flow, Hydraulic permeability, Confined compression, Coupled diffusion, Solute transport, Water-content, Lumbar spine