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1.
Org Biomol Chem ; 18(5): 865-877, 2020 02 07.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-31845697

RESUMO

A series of oligomers containing alternate l-Ala and pGlu (pyroglutamic acid) both in the L and D form have been prepared and conformationally investigated by X-ray, NMR, UV/ECD, IR/VCD and molecular modelling. X-ray diffraction analysis was possible for the shortest oligomers LL-1 and LD-1. Molecular dynamics simulations of the oligomers demonstrated that the energy landscapes of the LL-series are broad. In contrast, the energy landscapes of the LD-series are characterized by well-defined minima corresponding to specific conformational structures. A single well-defined minimum exists in the energy landscape of the largest oligomer LD-8, corresponding to a precise conformation, characterized by i + 5 →i N-HO[double bond, length as m-dash]C hydrogen bonds, typical of a π-helix. ECD and VCD spectra were measured to identify the chiroptical profiles of the oligomers. The most striking element in the ECD spectra of the LD-series is their exceptionally strong intensity, which confirms that these polypeptides attain a high degree of helical order. VCD spectra for the LD-series are well reproduced by frequency calculations when π-helix folds are employed as input structures, suggesting that a symmetrical VCD couplet around 1720 cm-1 can be taken as the VCD signature of π-helices.

2.
Molecules ; 24(23)2019 Nov 28.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-31795090

RESUMO

Supramolecular hydrogels, obtained from small organic molecules, may be advantageous over polymeric ones for several applications, because these materials have some peculiar properties that differentiate them from the traditional polymeric hydrogels, such as elasticity, thixotropy, self-healing propensity, and biocompatibility. We report here the preparation of strong supramolecular pseudopeptide-based hydrogels that owe their strength to the introduction of graphene in the gelling mixture. These materials proved to be strong, stable, thermoreversible and elastic. The concentration of the gelator, the degree of graphene doping, and the nature of the trigger are crucial to get hydrogels with the desired properties, where a high storage modulus coexists with a good thixotropic behavior. Finally, NIH-3T3 cells were used to evaluate the cell response to the presence of the most promising hydrogels. The hydrogels biocompatibility remains good, if a small degree of graphene doping is introduced.

3.
Nanoscale ; 11(41): 19301-19314, 2019 Nov 07.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-31626253

RESUMO

We investigate the photocatalytic performance of composites prepared in a one-step process by liquid-phase exfoliation of graphite in the presence of TiO2 nanoparticles (NPs) at atmospheric pressure and in water, without heating or adding any surfactant, and starting from low-cost commercial reagents. These show enhanced photocatalytic activity, degrading up to 40% more pollutants with respect to the starting TiO2-NPs, in the case of a model dye target, and up to 70% more pollutants in the case of nitrogen oxides. In order to understand the photo-physical mechanisms underlying this enhancement, we investigate the photo-generation of reactive species (trapped holes and electrons) by ultrafast transient absorption spectroscopy. We observe an electron transfer process from TiO2 to the graphite flakes within the first picoseconds of the relaxation dynamics, which causes the decrease of the charge recombination rate, and increases the efficiency of the reactive species photo-production.

4.
J Mater Chem B ; 7(38): 5808-5813, 2019 Oct 14.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-31486471

RESUMO

The controlled release of cell differentiating agents is crucial in many aspects of regenerative medicine. Here we propose the use of hybrid calcite single crystals as micro-carriers for the controlled and localized release of retinoic acid, which is entrapped within the crystalline lattice. The release of retinoic acid occurs only in the proximity of stem cells, upon dissolution of the calcite hybrid crystals that are dispersed in the fibrin scaffold. These hybrid crystals provide a sustained dosage of the entrapped agent. The environment provided by this composite scaffold enables differentiation towards neuronal cells that form a three-dimensional neuronal network.

5.
Front Chem ; 7: 218, 2019.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-31024902

RESUMO

Lanthanide-doped upconversion nanoparticles can convert long wavelength excitation radiation to short wavelength emission. They have great potential in biomedical applications, such as bioimaging, biodetection, drug delivery, and theranostics. However, there is little information available on their bioavailability and biological effects after oral administration. In this study, we systematically investigated the bioavailability, biodistribution, and toxicity of silica-coated upconversion nanoparticles administrated by gavage. Our results demonstrate that these nanoparticles can permeate intestinal barrier and enter blood circulation by microstructure observation of Peyer's patch in the intestine. Comparing the bioavailability and the biodistribution of silica-coated upconversion nanoparticles with oral and intravenous administration routes, we found that the bioavailability and biodistribution are particularly dependent on the administration routes. After consecutive gavage for 14 days, the body weight, pathology, Zn and Cu level, serum biochemical analysis, oxidative stress, and inflammatory cytokines were studied to further evaluate the potential toxicity of the silica-coated upconversion nanoparticles. The results suggest that these nanoparticles do not show overt toxicity in mice even at a high dose of 100 mg/kg body weight.

6.
J Chem Inf Model ; 59(4): 1547-1553, 2019 Apr 22.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-30702292

RESUMO

The 9DB1 DNAzyme follows an addition-elimination (AN+DN) two-step mechanism, involving a phosphorane intermediate, where the 3'-hydroxyl group (nucleophile) of one RNA fragment attacks the 5'-triphosphate of another RNA fragment. This mechanism does not involve a divalent metal cation in agreement with the experimental evidence. The process is assisted by two proton transfers that activate the nucleophile (first step) and the leaving group (second step). The dA13 nucleotide is not directly involved in the reaction. However, it plays an important role in determining the regioselectivity of the process: since the dA13 phosphate forms a strong hydrogen bond with the 2'-hydroxyl, only the 3'-hydroxyl can behave as a nucleophile and form the new 3'-5' bond. In silico mutagenesis, where the dA13 phosphate oxygen involved in the hydrogen contact was replaced by a sulfur atom, causes a significant rearrangement of the A50 ribose position with an increase in the activation barrier and a consequent lower enzymatic activity in agreement with the experimental evidence. A similar effect is determined by the replacement of the 2'-hydroxyl with different groups such as F, H, and OMe.

7.
Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A ; 116(7): 2452-2457, 2019 02 12.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-30683725

RESUMO

Three 819 knots in closed-loop strands of different lengths (∼20, 23, and 26 nm) were used to experimentally assess the consequences of knot tightness at the molecular level. Through the use of 1H NMR, diffusion-ordered spectroscopy (DOSY), circular dichroism (CD), collision-induced dissociation mass spectrometry (CID-MS) and molecular dynamics (MD) simulations on the different-sized knots, we find that the structure, dynamics, and reactivity of the molecular chains are dramatically affected by the tightness of the knotting. The tautness of entanglement causes differences in conformation, enhances the expression of topological chirality, weakens covalent bonds, inhibits decomplexation events, and changes absorption properties. Understanding the effects of tightening nanoscale knots may usefully inform the design of knotted and entangled molecular materials.

8.
Bioconjug Chem ; 30(3): 808-814, 2019 03 20.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-30616344

RESUMO

The lack of solubility in water and the formation of aggregates hamper many opportunities for technological exploitation of C60. Here, different peptides were designed and synthesized with the aim of monomolecular dispersion of C60 in water. Phenylalanines were used as recognizing moieties, able to interact with C60 through π-π stacking, while a varying number of glycines were used as spacers, to connect the two terminal phenylalanines. The best performance in the dispersion of C60 was obtained with the FGGGF peptidic nanotweezer at a pH of 12. A full characterization of this adduct was carried out. The peptides disperse C60 in water with high efficiency, and the solutions are stable for months both in pure water and in physiological environments. NMR measurements demonstrated the ability of the peptides to interact with C60. AFM measurements showed that C60 is monodispersed. Electrospray ionization mass spectrometry determined a stoichiometry of C60@(FGGGF)4. Molecular dynamics simulations showed that the peptides assemble around the C60 cage, like a candy in its paper wrapper, creating a supramolecular host able to accept C60 in the cavity. The peptide-wrapped C60 is fully biocompatible and the C60 "dark toxicity" is eliminated. C60@(FGGGF)4 shows visible light-induced reactive oxygen species (ROS) generation at physiological saline concentrations and reduction of the HeLa cell viability in response to visible light irradiation.


Assuntos
Materiais Biocompatíveis/química , Fulerenos/química , Peptídeos/química , Células HeLa , Humanos , Concentração de Íons de Hidrogênio , Simulação de Dinâmica Molecular , Ressonância Magnética Nuclear Biomolecular , Espécies Reativas de Oxigênio/metabolismo , Água
9.
Org Lett ; 20(12): 3705-3709, 2018 06 15.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-29863889

RESUMO

The graphene oxide (GO) assisted allylic alkylation of thiophenes with alcohols is presented. Mild reaction conditions and a low GO loading enabled the isolation of a range of densely functionalized thienyl and bithienyl compounds in moderate to high yields (up to 90%). The cooperative action of the Brønsted acidity, epoxide moieties, and π-surface of the 2D-promoter is highlighted as crucial in the reaction course of the present Friedel-Crafts-type protocol.

10.
Nanoscale ; 10(21): 9908-9916, 2018 May 31.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-29790558

RESUMO

Hybrid systems have great potential for a wide range of applications in chemistry, physics and materials science. Conjugation of a biosystem to a molecular material can tune the properties of the components or give rise to new properties. As a workhorse, here we take a C60@lysozyme hybrid. We show that lysozyme recognizes and disperses fullerene in water. AFM, cryo-TEM and high resolution X-ray powder diffraction show that the C60 dispersion is monomolecular. The adduct is biocompatible, stable in physiological and technologically-relevant environments, and easy to store. Hybridization with lysozyme preserves the electrochemical properties of C60. EPR spin-trapping experiments show that the C60@lysozyme hybrid produces ROS following both type I and type II mechanisms. Due to the shielding effect of proteins, the adduct generates significant amounts of 1O2 also in aqueous solution. In the case of type I mechanism, the protein residues provide electrons and the hybrid does not require addition of external electron donors. The preparation process and the properties of C60@lysozyme are general and can be expected to be similar to other C60@protein systems. It is envisaged that the properties of the C60@protein hybrids will pave the way for a host of applications in nanomedicine, nanotechnology, and photocatalysis.


Assuntos
Fulerenos/química , Muramidase/química , Água/química , Detecção de Spin
11.
ACS Appl Mater Interfaces ; 10(18): 15487-15493, 2018 May 09.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-29651839

RESUMO

Molecular dynamics, coarse-grained to the level of hydrophobic and hydrophilic interactions, shows that graphene oxide sheets, GOSs, can pierce through the phospholipid membrane and navigate the double layer only if the hydrophilic groups are randomly dispersed in the structure. Their behavior resembles that found in similar calculations for pristine graphene sheets. If the oxidation is located at the edge of the sheets, GOSs hover over the membrane and trigger a major reorganization of the lipids. The reorganization is the largest when the radius of the edge-functionalized sheet is similar to the length of the lipophilic chain of the lipids. In the reorganization, the heads of the lipid chains form dynamical structures that pictorially resemble the swirl of water flowing down a drain. All effects maximize the interaction between hydrophobic moieties on the one hand and lipophilic fragments on the other and are accompanied by a large number of lipid flip-flops. Possible biological consequences are discussed.


Assuntos
Fosfolipídeos/química , Grafite , Interações Hidrofóbicas e Hidrofílicas , Simulação de Dinâmica Molecular
12.
Chemphyschem ; 19(12): 1514-1521, 2018 06 19.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-29665221

RESUMO

We investigated the catalytic mechanism of α-1,4-glucan lyases using a full QM DFT approach based on the M06-2X functional. The reaction profile of the whole catalytic process can be divided into three phases: glycosylation, deglycosylation-elimination and tautomerization. Glycosylation is a highly asynchronous SN 1-like process with an energy barrier of 10.2 kcal mol-1 . A proton moves from the Asp665 residue to the glycosidic oxygen. Asp553 acts as a nucleophile and attacks the anomeric carbon causing the cleavage of the glycosidic bond. Deglycosilation-elimination is the rate-determining step of the entire process with an overall barrier of 18.3 kcal mol-1 . The final step (restoring the catalyst and tautomerization) occurs rather easily, since the Asp553 carboxylate group "assists" the proton transfer in the tautomerization process. Our computations clearly indicate that tautomerization must occur inside the enzyme before leaving the active site rather than in the aqueous solution. Outside of the protein environment the enol-AF→keto-AF process "assisted" by a water molecule has a barrier of 35.8 kcal mol-1 .


Assuntos
Modelos Moleculares , Polissacarídeo-Liase/metabolismo , Teoria Quântica , Biocatálise , Glicosilação , Alga Marinha/enzimologia , Solventes/química , Termodinâmica
13.
Materials (Basel) ; 11(5)2018 Apr 27.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-29702620

RESUMO

The high hydrophobicity of fullerenes and the resulting formation of aggregates in aqueous solutions hamper the possibility of their exploitation in many technological applications. Noncovalent bioconjugation of fullerenes with proteins is an emerging approach for their dispersion in aqueous media. Contrary to covalent functionalization, bioconjugation preserves the physicochemical properties of the carbon nanostructure. The unique photophysical and photochemical properties of fullerenes are then fully accessible for applications in nanomedicine, sensoristic, biocatalysis and materials science fields. However, proteins are not universal carriers. Their stability depends on the biological conditions for which they have evolved. Here we present two model systems based on pepsin and trypsin. These proteins have opposite net charge at physiological pH. They recognize and disperse C60 in water. UV-Vis spectroscopy, zeta-potential and atomic force microscopy analysis demonstrates that the hybrids are well dispersed and stable in a wide range of pH’s and ionic strengths. A previously validated modelling approach identifies the protein-binding pocket involved in the interaction with C60. Computational predictions, combined with experimental investigations, provide powerful tools to design tailor-made C60@proteins bioconjugates for specific applications.

14.
Chem Commun (Camb) ; 54(13): 1635-1638, 2018 Feb 08.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-29376163

RESUMO

Fe-EDDHSA/CaCO3 hybrid crystals are synthesized and tested in vitro to determine their effect in treating iron chlorosis in kiwifruit plants, used as a proof of concept. Under the alkaline conditions provided by the calcareous substrate, plants release protons that dissolve the hybrids and trigger Fe uptake. These CaCO3 hybrids represent a new system for active molecule delivery in agriculture.


Assuntos
Carbonato de Cálcio/uso terapêutico , Quelantes de Ferro/uso terapêutico , Ferro/uso terapêutico , Fenilacetatos/uso terapêutico , Doenças das Plantas/prevenção & controle , Actinidia/metabolismo , Carbonato de Cálcio/síntese química , Carbonato de Cálcio/química , Carbonato de Cálcio/metabolismo , Cristalização , Concentração de Íons de Hidrogênio , Ferro/química , Ferro/deficiência , Ferro/metabolismo , Quelantes de Ferro/química , Quelantes de Ferro/metabolismo , Fenilacetatos/química , Fenilacetatos/metabolismo
15.
Chemistry ; 24(16): 4140-4148, 2018 Mar 15.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-29266436

RESUMO

Ubiquitin-positive protein aggregates are biomarkers of neurodegeneration, but the molecular mechanism responsible for their formation and accumulation is still unclear. Possible aggregation pathways of human ubiquitin (hUb) promoted by both intrinsic and extrinsic factors, are here investigated. By a computational analysis, two different hUb dimers are indicated as possible precursors of amyloid-like structures, but their formation is disfavored by an electrostatic repulsion involving Glu16 and other carboxylate residues present at the dimer interface. Experimental data on the E16V mutant of hUb shows that this single-point mutation, although not affecting the overall protein conformation, promotes protein aggregation. It is sufficient to shift the same mutation by only two residues (E18V) to regain the behavior of wild-type hUb. The neutralization of Glu16 negative charge by a metal ion and a decrease of the dielectric constant of the medium by addition of trifluoroethanol (TFE), also promote hUb aggregation. The outcomes of this research have important implications for the prediction of physiological parameters that favor aggregate formation.


Assuntos
Amiloide/química , Ubiquitina/química , Cristalografia por Raios X , Humanos , Metais , Conformação Molecular , Estrutura Molecular , Mutação , Mutação Puntual , Conformação Proteica , Estrutura Secundária de Proteína , Eletricidade Estática , Trifluoretanol/química , Ubiquitina/genética
16.
ACS Omega ; 3(10): 13782-13789, 2018 Oct 31.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-31458078

RESUMO

Endohedral metallofullerenes (EMFs) have great potential as radioisotope carriers for nuclear medicine and as contrast agents for X-ray and magnetic resonance imaging. EMFs have still important restrictions for their use due to low solubility in physiological environments, low biocompatibility, nonspecific cellular uptake, and a strong dependence of their peculiar properties on physiological parameters, such as pH and salt content. Conjugation of the EMFs with proteins can overcome many of these limitations. Here we investigated the thermodynamics of binding of a model EMF (Gd@C60) with a protein (lysozyme) that is known to act as a host for the empty fullerene. As a rule, even if the shape of an EMF is exactly the same as that of the related fullerene, the interactions with a protein are significantly different. The estimated interaction energy (ΔG binding) between Gd@C60 and lysozyme is -18.7 kcal mol-1, suggesting the possibility of using proteins as supramolecular carriers for EMFs. π-π stacking, hydrophobic interactions, surfactant-like interactions, and electrostatic interactions govern the formation of the hybrid between Gd@C60 and lysozyme. The comparison of the energy contributions to the binding between C60 or Gd@C60 and lysozyme suggests that, although shape complementarity remains the driving force of the binding, the presence of electron transfer from the gadolinium atom to the carbon cage induces a charge distribution on the fullerene cage that strongly affects its interaction with the protein.

17.
ACS Omega ; 3(7): 8122-8128, 2018 Jul 31.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-31458948

RESUMO

Solar light-activated photocatalyst nanoparticles (NPs) are promising environment-friendly low cost tools for water decontamination, but their dispersion in the environment must be minimized. Here, we propose the incorporation of TiO2-NPs (also in combination with graphene platelets) into highly biocompatible hydrogels as a promising approach for the production of photoactive materials for water treatment. We also propose a convenient fluorescence-based method to investigate the hydrogel photocatalytic activity in real time with a conventional fluorimeter. Kinetics analysis of the degradation profile of a target fluorescent model pollutant demonstrates that fast degradation occurs in the matrix bulk. Fluorescence anisotropy proved that small pollutant molecules diffuse freely in the hydrogel. Rheological and scanning electron microscopy characterization showed that the TiO2-NP incorporation does not significantly alter the hydrogel mechanical and morphological properties.

18.
ACS Omega ; 3(8): 8829-8835, 2018 Aug 31.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-31459016

RESUMO

Carboxyl-functionalized graphene platelets (GP) and graphene oxide (GO) sheets were added to a commercial aqueous adhesive dispersion of thermoplastic polyurethane (TP) (Idrotex 200 from FacGB s.r.l.). For both additives, the weight percentage was of industrial interest, 0.01 and 0.1 wt %. The addition of GP/GO was carried out in a simple and scalable-up process that can be applied to other materials and additives. Mechanical, peel tests were applied on polyurethane strips (75 mm long, 15 mm wide, and 1.5 mm thick) prepared cutting extruded sheets obtained using Estane 58091, a 70D aromatic polyester-based TP. The tests with 0.01 wt % of GP showed statistically significant higher forces at first failure and maximum forces with respect to the pristine adhesive. Sample characterization was carried out with scanning electron microscopy, infrared spectroscopy, X-ray diffraction, and thermal analysis. A mechanism is suggested for the improved performance of the low-dose GP adhesive.

19.
Chemphyschem ; 17(23): 3948-3953, 2016 Dec 05.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-27643799

RESUMO

LAC (hydroxylactone (1R,5S)-1-hydroxy-3,6-dioxabicyclo[3.2.1]octan-2-one) is one of the most interesting products of the pyrolysis of cellulose and represents a useful chiral building block in organic synthesis. A computational investigation at the DFT level on the mechanism of formation of LAC shows that this species can be obtained following two reaction paths, path A and path B, starting from a well-known pyrolysis product (ascopyrone P). A series of internal rearrangements involving in all cases a proton transfer leads directly to LAC (path B). An alternative path (path A) can be also followed. From this path, via a "gate" connecting the two reaction channels, it is possible to reach path B and form LAC. In both cases, the rate-determining step of the process is the initial keto-enol isomerization. We found that water, which is present in the reaction mixture, "catalyzes" the reaction by assisting the proton transfers present in all the steps of the process. In particular, water lowers the barrier of the rate-determining step that becomes 40.9 kcal mol-1 (79.4 kcal mol-1 in the absence of water). The corresponding computed rate constant is 4.3×10 s-1 at 500 °C, a value which is consistent with the presence of LAC in the absence of metal catalysts. The results of this study on the non-catalyzed process underpin the important role played by water in the formation of pyrolysis products of cellulose where proton transfer is a key mechanistic step.

20.
Angew Chem Int Ed Engl ; 55(37): 11064-8, 2016 09 05.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-27513299

RESUMO

Photo-switching of the NIR emission of gold nanoparticles (GNP) upon photo-isomerization of azobenzene ligands, bound to the surface, is demonstrated. Photophysical results confirm the occurrence of an excitation energy transfer process from the ligands to the GNP that produces sensitized NIR emission. Because of this process, the excitation efficiency of the gold core, upon excitation of the ligands, is much higher for the trans form than for the cis one, and t→c photo-isomerization causes a relevant decrease of the GNP NIR emission. As a consequence, photo-isomerization can be monitored by ratiometric detection of the NIR emission upon dual excitation. The photo-isomerization process was followed in real-time through the simultaneous detection of absorbance and luminescence changes using a dedicated setup. Surprisingly, the photo-isomerization rate of the ligands, bound to the GNP surface, was the same as measured for the chromophores in solution. This outcome demonstrated that excitation energy transfer to gold assists photo-isomerization, rather than competing with it. These results pave the road to the development of new, NIR-emitting, stimuli-responsive nanomaterials for theranostics.

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