Amino Acids (v.42, #4)

Amino Acids Glycation Section by Naila Rabbani; Paul J. Thornalley (1085-1086).

Glycation research in amino acids: a place to call home by Naila Rabbani; Paul J. Thornalley (1087-1096).
This is an introduction to a collection of review articles by leading investigators in the field of protein glycation research, see following articles in this issue. With this we launch a section of this journal now established for presentation of research results, reviews and commentaries on protein glycation and related topics. Glycation is the spontaneous, non-enzymatic reaction of protein with saccharides and saccharide derivatives. Although studied in the modern scientific era for over 100 years, its importance in the biology, medicine, food and nutrition, pharmacology and toxicology, and technological processing remains intriguingly undisclosed. In this section of amino acids, research on glycation is a qualifier for publication. Glycation research now has a place to call home.

Physiological relevance of dietary melanoidins by Francisco J. Morales; Veronika Somoza; Vincenzo Fogliano (1097-1109).
Melanoidins are the final products of the Maillard reaction. The main dietary sources of melanoidins are coffee, bread crust, bakery products, black beer and cocoa. Although the chemical structures of melanoidins are widely unknown, data from gravimetric techniques allow to roughly estimate a daily intake in the order of 10 g with a Western diet. Melanoidins contribute to the sensorial properties, modulating texture and flavour of foods. Growing evidence also suggests that melanoidins have health beneficial properties, such as chemopreventive, antioxidant and antimicrobial activities, and the ability to chelate different minerals. In the gastrointestinal tract, melanoidins behave not only as antioxidants, but also as dietary fibre by promoting the growth of bifidobacteria. This array of biological activities suggests the need for analytical techniques to identify the melanoidin structures and to control their formation during thermal food processing.
Keywords: Maillard reaction; Dietary fibre; Coffee; Antimicrobial; Phase I and II enzymes

Infant formulas are milk-based products, which are adapted to the composition of human milk. To ensure microbiological safety and long shelf life, infant formulas usually undergo rigid heat treatment. As a consequence of the special composition and the heat regimen, infant formulas are more prone to thermally induced degradation reactions than regular milk products. Degradation reactions observed during milk processing comprise lactosylation yielding the Amadori product lactulosyllysine, the formation of advanced glycation end products (AGEs), and protein-free sugar degradation products, as well as protein or lipid oxidation. Several methods have been developed to estimate the heat impact applied during the manufacturing of infant formulas, including indirect methods such as fluorescence analysis as well as the analysis of defined reaction products. Most studies confirm a higher degree of damage in infant formulas compared to regular milk products. Differences between various types of infant formulas, such as liquid, powdered or hypoallergenic formulas depend on the analyzed markers and brands. A considerable portion of protein degradation products in infant formulas can be avoided when process parameters and the quality of the ingredients are carefully controlled. The nutritional consequences of thermal degradation products in infant formulas are largely unknown.
Keywords: Advanced glycation end products (AGE); Infant formula; Maillard reaction; Milk

Health effects of dietary Maillard reaction products: the results of ICARE and other studies by Frédéric J. Tessier; Inès Birlouez-Aragon (1119-1131).
In food science the Maillard reaction is well known to cause degradation of amino acids and an overall decrease in the nutritional value of foods that have been subjected to heat in processing. There has been evidence more recently of the endogenous formation of some Maillard reaction products (MRPs) in biological systems and their association with pathophysiological conditions including diabetes, renal disease and cardiovascular disease. Several studies have suggested that dietary MRPs increase the in vivo pool of MRPs after intestinal absorption and contribute to the development of diabetes and related complications. This review focuses on the animal and human studies which have assessed the eventual implications of dietary MRPs on human health, highlighting the different diets tested, the experimental designs and the biomarkers selected to estimate the health effects. The results of these studies are compared to those of the recently published ICARE study. In this latter study an accurate determination of the MRP content of the diets was achieved, allowing the calculation of the contribution of individual food groups to daily MRP intakes in a regular western diet.
Keywords: Maillard reaction; Glycation; Advanced glycation endproducts; N ε -Carboxymethyllysine; Health; Nutrition

Methylglyoxal, glyoxalase 1 and the dicarbonyl proteome by Naila Rabbani; Paul J. Thornalley (1133-1142).
Methylglyoxal (MG) is a potent protein glycating agent. Glycation is directed to guanidino groups of arginine residues forming mainly hydroimidazolone N δ-(5-hydro-5-methyl-4-imidazolon-2-yl)-ornithine (MG-H1) residues. MG-H1 formation is damaging to the proteome as modification is often directed to functionally important arginine residues. MG-H1 content of proteins is quantified by stable isotopic dilution analysis tandem mass spectrometry and also by immunoblotting with specific monoclonal antibodies. MG-glycated proteins undergo cellular proteolysis and release MG-H1 free adduct for excretion. MG-H1 residues have been found in proteins of animals, plants, bacteria, fungi and protoctista. MG-H1 is often the major advanced glycation endproduct in proteins of tissues and body fluids, increasing in diabetes and associated vascular complications, renal failure, cirrhosis, Alzheimer’s disease, arthritis, Parkinson’s disease and ageing. Glyoxalase 1 and aldo–keto reductase 1B1 metabolise >99% MG to innocuous products and thereby protect the proteome, providing an enzymatic defence against MG-mediated glycation. Proteins susceptible to MG modification with related functional impairment are called the “dicarbonyl proteome” (DCP). DCP includes albumin, haemoglobin, transcription factors, mitochondrial proteins, extracellular matrix proteins, lens crystallins and other proteins. DCP component proteins are linked to mitochondrial dysfunction in diabetes and ageing, oxidative stress, dyslipidemia, cell detachment and anoikis and apoptosis. Biochemical and physiological susceptibility of a protein to modification by MG and sensitivity of biochemical pathways and physiological systems to related functional impairment under challenge of physiologically relevant increases in MG exposure are key concepts. Improved understanding of the DCP will likely have profound importance for human health, longevity and treatment of disease.
Keywords: Methylglyoxal; Glycation; Glyoxalase; Proteomics; Oxidative stress; Ageing; Diabetes; Renal failure

Enzymatic repair of Amadori products by Emile Van Schaftingen; François Collard; Elsa Wiame; Maria Veiga-da-Cunha (1143-1150).
Protein deglycation, a new form of protein repair, involves several enzymes. Fructosamine-3-kinase (FN3K), an enzyme found in mammals and birds, phosphorylates fructosamines on the third carbon of their sugar moiety, making them unstable and causing them to detach from proteins. This enzyme acts particularly well on fructose-epsilon-lysine, both in free form and in the accessible regions of proteins. Mice deficient in FN3K accumulate protein-bound fructosamines and free fructoselysine, indicating that the deglycation mechanism initiated by FN3K is operative in vivo. Mammals and birds also have an enzyme designated ‘FN3K-related protein’ (FN3KRP), which shares ≈65% sequence identity with FN3K. Unlike FN3K, FN3KRP does not phosphorylate fructosamines, but acts on ribulosamines and erythrulosamines. As with FN3K, the third carbon is phosphorylated and this leads to destabilization of the ketoamines. Experiments with intact erythrocytes indicate that FN3KRP is also a protein-repair enzyme. Its physiological substrates are most likely formed from ribose 5-phosphate and erythrose 4-phosphate, which give rise to ketoamine 5- or 4-phosphates. The latter are dephosphorylated by ‘low-molecular-weight protein-tyrosine-phosphatase-A’ (LMW-PTP-A) before FN3KRP transfers a phosphate on the third carbon. The specificity of FN3K homologues present in plants and bacteria is similar to that of mammalian FN3KRP, suggesting that deglycation of ribulosamines and/or erythrulosamines is an ancient mechanism. Mammalian cells contain also a phosphatase acting on fructosamine 6-phosphates, which result from the reaction of proteins with glucose 6-phosphate.
Keywords: Deglycation; Fructose-epsilon-lysine; Fructosamine; Ribulosamine; Fructosamine-3-kinase; Protein repair

Advanced glycation endproducts: from precursors to RAGE: round and round we go by Ravichandran Ramasamy; Shi Fang Yan; Ann Marie Schmidt (1151-1161).
The formation of advanced glycation endproducts (AGEs) occurs in diverse settings such as diabetes, aging, renal failure, inflammation and hypoxia. The chief cellular receptor for AGEs, RAGE, transduces the effects of AGEs via signal transduction, at least in part via processes requiring the RAGE cytoplasmic domain binding partner, diaphanous-1 or mDia1. Data suggest that RAGE perpetuates the inflammatory signals initiated by AGEs via multiple mechanisms. AGE–RAGE interaction stimulates generation of reactive oxygen species and inflammation—mechanisms which enhance AGE formation. Further, recent data in type 1 diabetic kidney reveal that deletion of RAGE prevents methylglyoxal accumulation, at least in part via RAGE-dependent regulation of glyoxalase-1, a major enzyme involved in methylglyoxal detoxification. Taken together, these considerations place RAGE in the center of biochemical and molecular stresses that characterize the complications of diabetes and chronic disease. Stopping RAGE-dependent signaling may hold the key to interrupting cycles of cellular perturbation and tissue damage in these disorders.
Keywords: Glycation; Oxidative stress; Receptor for advanced glycation endproduct; Diabetes; Atherosclerosis; Hypoxia

Lipid glycation and protein glycation in diabetes and atherosclerosis by Teruo Miyazawa; Kiyotaka Nakagawa; Satoko Shimasaki; Ryoji Nagai (1163-1170).
Recent instrumental analyses using a hybrid quadrupole/linear ion trap spectrometer in LC-MS/MS have demonstrated that the Maillard reaction progresses not only on proteins but also on amino residues of membrane lipids such as phosphatidylethanolamine (PE), thus forming Amadori-PE (deoxy-d-fructosyl PE) as the principal products. The plasma Amadori-PE level is 0.08 mol% of the total PE in healthy subjects and 0.15–0.29 mol% in diabetic patients. Pyridoxal 5′-phosphate and pyridoxal are the most effective lipid glycation inhibitors, and the PE-pyridoxal 5′-phosphate adduct is detectable in human red blood cells. These findings are beneficial for developing a potential clinical marker for glycemic control as well as potential compounds to prevent the pathogenesis of diabetic complications and atherosclerosis. Glucose and other aldehydes, such as glyoxal, methylglyoxal, and glycolaldehyde, react with the amino residues of proteins to form Amadori products and Heynes rearrangement products. Because several advanced glycation end-product (AGE) inhibitors such as pyridoxamine and benfotiamine inhibit the development of retinopathy and neuropathy in streptozotocin (STZ)-induced diabetic rats, AGEs may play a role in the development of diabetic complications. In the present review, we describe the recent progress and future applications of the Maillard reaction research regarding lipid and protein modifications in diabetes and atherosclerosis.
Keywords: Lipid glycation; Protein glycation; Diabetes; AGE; Aldehydes; Atherosclerosis

Propensity to diabetic nephropathy (DN), retinopathy (DR), and cardiovascular disease (CVD) varies between individuals. Current biomarkers such as indicators of glycemia (HbA1c), retinal examinations, and albuminuria, cannot detect early tissue damage. HbAIc also doesn’t reflect most glycative and oxidative chemical pathways that cause complications, and studies of new biomarkers to measure their end-products are needed. This review proposes the study of advanced glycation end products (AGEs) and oxidation end-products (OPs) in long-term diabetes outcome studies. AGEs integrate the activity of glycation pathways that form dicarbonyls, while OPs reflect superoxides, hydroxyl radicals, and peroxides. We discuss using these biomarkers to predict risk of development and progression of DN, DR, and CVD, and to determine if they confer risk independently of the level of HbA1c. We also discuss methods and guidelines to document sample quality in such studies. These studies have the potential to validate unique biomarkers during the early stages of diabetes in those who are at high risk of diabetic complications. Information on basic mechanisms responsible for complications could also stimulate development of therapeutic approaches to delay or arrest them. The ultimate goal is to predict those requiring aggressive therapies during the earliest stages, when prevention or reversal of complications is still possible.
Keywords: Biomarkers; Diabetic complications; Advanced glycation end-products; Oxidative end-products; Clinical trials

Glycation in diabetic nephropathy by Josephine M. Forbes; Mark E. Cooper (1185-1192).
The kidney is an extremely complex organ with broad ranging functions in the body, including but not restricted to waste excretion, ion and water balance, maintenance of blood pressure, glucose homeostasis, generation of erythropoietin and activation of vitamin D. With diabetes, many of these integral processes are interrupted via a combination of haemodynamic and metabolic changes including increases in the accumulation of proteins modified by advanced glycation, known as advanced glycation end products (AGEs). Indeed, hyperglycaemia and the redox imbalances seen with diabetes are each independent accelerants for the production of AGEs, which synergistically combine in this disorder. In addition, as kidney function declines, characterised by a loss of glomerular filtration, the excretion of AGEs is decreased, possibly exacerbating renal injury by further elevating the body’s tissue and circulating AGE pool. Therefore, it has become apparent that decreasing the accumulation of AGEs or interrupting their downstream effects on the kidney, are desirable therapeutic targets for the treatment of diabetic renal disease.
Keywords: Diabetic nephropathy; Advanced glycation; Haemodynamic; Renal

Cardiovascular disease is a common complication of diabetes and the leading cause of death among people with diabetes. Because of the huge premature morbidity and mortality associated with diabetes, prevention of vascular complications is a key issue. Although the exact mechanism by which vascular damage occurs in diabetes in not fully understood, numerous studies support the hypothesis of a causal relationship of non-enzymatic glycation with vascular complications. In this review, data which point to an important role of Amadori-modified glycated proteins and advanced glycation endproducts in vascular disease are surveyed. Because of the potential role of early- and advanced non-enzymatic glycation in vascular complications, we also described recent developments of pharmacological inhibitors that inhibit the formation of these glycated products or the biological consequences of glycation and thereby retard the development of vascular complications in diabetes.
Keywords: Diabetes; Non-enzymatic glycation; AGEs; Amadori-albumin; Vascular complications

The pathogenic role of Maillard reaction in the aging eye by Ram H. Nagaraj; Mikhail Linetsky; Alan W. Stitt (1205-1220).
The proteins of the human eye are highly susceptible to the formation of advanced glycation end products (AGEs) from the reaction of sugars and carbonyl compounds. AGEs progressively accumulate in the aging lens and retina and accumulate at a higher rate in diseases that adversely affect vision such as, cataract, diabetic retinopathy and age-related macular degeneration. In the lens AGEs induce irreversible changes in structural proteins, which lead to lens protein aggregation and formation of high-molecular-weight aggregates that scatter light and impede vision. In the retina AGEs modify intra- and extracellular proteins that lead to an increase in oxidative stress and formation of pro-inflammatory cytokines, which promote vascular dysfunction. This review outlines recent advances in AGE research focusing on the mechanisms of their formation and their role in cataract and pathologies of the retina. The therapeutic action and pharmacological strategies of anti-AGE agents that can inhibit or prevent AGE formation in the eye are also discussed.
Keywords: Lens; Retina; Aging; Diabetes; Cataract; Diabetic retinopathy; Age-related macular degeneration

Advanced glycation endproducts and their pathogenic roles in neurological disorders by Gerald Münch; Bernadette Westcott; Teresita Menini; Alejandro Gugliucci (1221-1236).
Glycation is implicated in neurological disorders. In some cases it plays a key role in the pathogenesis, in others it plays a co-adjuvant role or it appears as a consequence of degenerative changes and protein accumulation stemming from other pathways. In this work, we attempt to provide a concise, updated review of the major recent findings concerning glycation in neurological diseases. After a short introduction covering advanced glycation endproducts (AGEs) and the receptor for AGEs (RAGE), we will discuss the impact of glycation in central nervous system disorders including Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and Creutzfeldt–Jakob disease, as well as peripheral diabetic polyneuropathies. Therapies directed at lowering the concentrations of RAGE ligands including AGEs, blocking RAGE signaling, preventing oxidative stress or lowering methylglyoxal (MGO) levels may significantly decrease the development of AGE-related pathologies in patients with neurological disorders. Many drugs are on the pipeline and the future clinical trials will reveal if the promising results translate into clinical application.
Keywords: Advanced glycation endproducts; Methylglyoxal; NF-kB; Alzheimer’s disease; Inflammation; Diabetes

The kidney plays a key role in arginine metabolism. Arginine production is controlled by argininosuccinate synthetase (ASS) and argininosuccinate lyase (ASL) which metabolize citrulline and aspartate to arginine and fumarate whereas arginine consumption is dependent on arginine:glycine amidinotransferase (GAT), which mediates creatine and ornithine synthesis. Histological and biochemical techniques have been used to study the distribution and activity of these enzymes in anatomically dissected segments, in isolated fragments of tubules and in whole tissues. ASS and ASL mRNAs and proteins are expressed in the proximal tubule. Within this nephron segment, the proximal convoluted tubule has a higher arginine synthesis capacity than the proximal straight tubules. Furthermore, this arginine-synthesizing portion of the nephron matches perfectly with the site of citrulline reabsorption from the glomerular filtrate. The kidney itself can produce citrulline from methylated arginine, but this capacity is limited. Therefore, intestinal citrulline synthesis is required for renal arginine production. Although the proximal convoluted tubule also expresses a significant amount of GAT, only 10% of renal arginine synthesis is metabolized to guanidinoacetic acid, possibly because GAT has a mitochondrial localization. Kidney arginase (AII) is expressed in the cortical and outer medullary proximal straight tubules and does not degrade significant amounts of newly synthesized arginine. The data presented in this review identify the proximal convoluted tubule as the main site of endogenous arginine biosynthesis.
Keywords: Citrulline; Kidney; Microdissected tubules; Proximal convoluted and straight tubules; Mammals; Argininosuccinate synthetase and lyase; Arginase; Tubular and subcellular localization

Analysis of oligo-arginine cell-permeable peptides uptake by prostate cells by Jian Zhou; Wei Liu; Rey-Chen Pong; Guiyang Hao; Xiankai Sun; Jer-Tsong Hsieh (1253-1260).
Recently, we have shown that oligo-arginine peptide (i.e., R11), a unique cell-permeable peptide (CPP), can be used as an imaging probe for prostate cancer detection. In this study, the mechanism(s) of oligo-arginine peptide in prostate cells was further analyzed. The length of the oligo-arginine peptide appears to be critical for the efficiency of uptake by prostate cells: poly (11)-arginine (R11) > poly (9)-arginine (R9) > poly (13)-arginine peptide (R13). The uptake of R11 peptide by prostate cells is mediated by macropinocytosis as evidenced by the fact that uptake can be blocked by a macropinocytosis inhibitor. However, the use of an inhibitor for carbohydrate chain elongation of glycosaminoglycan or inhibitors for carbohydrate synthesis of glycoprotein via either O-link or N-link showed minimal effects on R11 uptake. Nevertheless, pentosan sulfate (PentS) or dextran sulfate (DS) exhibited the highest inhibitory effect on R11 uptake in several prostate cells treated with various soluble glycosaminoglycans (GAGs) or anionic polymers. It is known that laminin receptor has been characterized as a PentS binding partner. Knocking down 37LRP (laminin receptor precursor) expression in prostate cells showed a reduction in their ability to uptake R11 peptides. In conclusion, laminin receptor is one of the initial binding site(s) responsible for R11 peptide uptake in prostate cells.
Keywords: Oligo-arginine peptide; Cell-permeable peptide; Laminin receptor; Prostate cells

Characterization of the mechanisms involved in the gastric antisecretory effect of TLQP-21, a vgf-derived peptide, in rats by Valeria Sibilia; Francesca Pagani; Ilaria Bulgarelli; Giovanni Tulipano; Roberta Possenti; Francesca Guidobono (1261-1268).
TLQP-21, a vgf-derived peptide modulates gastric emptying and prevents ethanol-induced gastric lesions in rats. However, it remains to be studied whether or not TLQP-21 affects gastric acid secretion. In this study, we evaluated the effects of central (0.8–8 nmol/rat) or peripheral (48–240 nmol/kg, intraperitoneally) TLQP-21 administration on gastric acid secretion in pylorus-ligated rats. The mechanisms involved in such activity were also examined. Central TLQP-21 injection significantly reduced gastric acid volume and dose-dependently inhibited total acid output (ED50 = 2.71 nmol), while peripheral TLQP-21 administration had no effect. The TLQP-21 antisecretory activity was prevented by cysteamine (300 mg/kg, subcutaneously), a depletor of somatostatin, by indomethacin (0.25 mg/rat, intracerebroventricularly), a non-selective cyclooxygenase inhibitor, and by functional ablation of sensory nerves by capsaicin. We conclude that TLQP-21 could be considered a new member of the large group of regulatory peptides affecting gastric acid secretion. The central inhibitory effect of TLQP-21 on gastric acid secretion is mediated by endogenous somatostatin and prostaglandins and requires the integrity of sensory nerve fibres.
Keywords: TLQP-21; Gastric acid secretion; Somatostatin; Prostaglandins; Sensory fibres

A slow, long range electron transfer (SLRET) in human serum albumin (HSA) is observed from an intact tyrosine (Tyr) residue to the neutral tryptophan (Trp) radical (Trp·) generated in pulse radiolysis. This radical is formed, at neutral pH, through oxidation with Br 2 ·− radical anions of the single Trp 214 present. The SLRET rate constant of ~0.2 s−1 determined is independent of HSA concentration and radiation dose, consistent with an intra-molecular process. This is the slowest rate constant so far reported for an intra-molecular LRET. In sharp contrast with the LRET reported for other proteins, the SLRET observed here is insensitive to oxygen, suggesting that the oxidized Trp is inaccessible to—or do not react with radiolytically generated O 2 ·− . In N2O-saturated solutions, the SLRET is inhibited by Cu2+ ions bound to the His 3 residue of the N-terminal group of HSA but it is partially restored in O2-saturated solutions.
Keywords: Protein oxidation; Redox metal ions; Pulse radiolysis; Superoxide radical anion; Transient absorbance spectra; Kinetics

Prey-induced changes in the accumulation of amino acids and phenolic metabolites in the leaves of Drosera capensis L by Jozef Kováčik; Bořivoj Klejdus; František Štork; Josef Hedbavny (1277-1285).
Effect of prey feeding (ants Formica fusca) on the quantitative changes in the accumulation of free amino acids, soluble proteins, phenolic metabolites and mineral nutrients in the leaves of carnivorous plant Drosera capensis was studied. Arginine was the most abundant compound in Drosera leaves, while proline was abundant in ants. The amount of the majority of amino acids and their sum were elevated in the fed leaves after 3 and 21 days, and the same, but with further enhancement after 21 days, was observed in ants. Accumulation of amino acids also increased in young non-fed leaves of fed plants. Soluble proteins decreased in ants, but were not enhanced in fed leaves. This confirms the effectiveness of sundew’s enzymatic machinery in digestion of prey and suggests that amino acids are not in situ deposited, but rather are allocated within the plant. The content of total soluble phenols, flavonoids and two selected flavonols (quercetin and kaempferol) was not affected by feeding in Drosera leaves, indicating that their high basal level was sufficient for the plant’s metabolism and prey-induced changes were mainly N based. The prey also showed to be an important source of other nutrients besides N, and a stimulation of root uptake of some mineral nutrients is assumed (Mg, Cu, Zn). Accumulation of Ca and Na was not affected by feeding.
Keywords: Ant; Insect; Nitrogen; Phenolic metabolites; Sundew

In this investigation, poly(vinyl alcohol) was chemically modified by the introduction of different amounts of N-phthaloyl-l-phenylalanine. The modification was carried out by the reaction of PVA hydroxyl groups with (2S)-3-phenyl-2-phthalimidylpropanoyl chloride using N,N-dimethyl acetamide/lithium chloride as a reaction media. The novel copolymers obtained were characterized by spectroscopic techniques, elemental analysis, X-ray diffraction and thermal methods. Optical rotation and viscosities were also measured. The degree of esterification was determined by 1H-NMR. The influence of reagent molar ratio on the degree of modification was also evaluated. The vinyl(3-phenyl-2-phthalimidopropanoate) content in the copolymer was attained up to 52%. Thermal stability of the copolymers was checked by thermogravimetric analysis and differential thermogravimetric analysis. All copolymers displayed improved thermal stability compared to the parent polymer.
Keywords: l-Phenylalanine; Poly(vinyl alcohol); Optically active polymers; Copolymer; Biologically active polymer; Thermal stability

The knockdown of Ha-GRIM-19 by RNA interference induced programmed cell death by Du-Juan Dong; Peng-Cheng Liu; Jin-Xing Wang; Xiao-Fan Zhao (1297-1307).
GRIM-19 (genes associated with retinoid-IFN-induced mortality-19) is a subunit of mitochondrial respiratory complex I in mammalian systems. However, its function in vivo is not really understood. We cloned GRIM-19 and explored its function and hormonal regulation in insect, the cotton bollworm, Helicoverpa armigera. The results showed that Ha-GRIM-19 was highly expressed during the larval stage. Its transcript levels could be upregulated by juvenile hormone (JH) analog methoprene or by methoprene plus 20E. The methoprene-upregulated transcription enhancement of Ha-GRIM-19 was mediated by the transcription factor Ha-Met1, the putative receptor of JH. Other transcription factors Ha-USP1 and Ha-Br-Z2 suppressed the action of methoprene in inducing Ha-GRIM-19 expression, but Ha-Br-Z2 introduced interaction between 20E and methoprene in upregulation of Ha-GRIM-19. The knockdown of Ha-GRIM-19 by RNA interference in larvae and in insect cell line induced programmed cell death. These data imply that Ha-GRIM-19 plays role in keeping the normal cellular growth and it is able to be upregulated by methoprene through putative JH receptor Met.
Keywords: GRIM-19; JH; Mitochondria; Cell death; Metabolism

Due to the complexity of Plasmodium falciparum (PF) genome, predicting mitochondrial proteins of PF is more difficult than other species. In this study, using the n-peptide composition of reduced amino acid alphabet (RAAA) obtained from structural alphabet named Protein Blocks as feature parameter, the increment of diversity (ID) is firstly developed to predict mitochondrial proteins. By choosing the 1-peptide compositions on the N-terminal regions with 20 residues as the only input vector, the prediction performance achieves 86.86% accuracy with 0.69 Mathew’s correlation coefficient (MCC) by the jackknife test. Moreover, by combining with the hydropathy distribution along protein sequence and several reduced amino acid alphabets, we achieved maximum MCC 0.82 with accuracy 92% in the jackknife test by using the developed ID model. When evaluating on an independent dataset our method performs better than existing methods. The results indicate that the ID is a simple and efficient prediction method for mitochondrial proteins of malaria parasite.
Keywords: Plasmodium falciparum ; Mitochondrial proteins; Increment of diversity; Reduced amino acid alphabet; Hydropathy distribution

Cloning, tissue and ontogenetic expression of the taurine transporter in the flatfish Senegalese sole (Solea senegalensis) by Wilson Pinto; Ivar Rønnestad; Ann-Elise Olderbakk Jordal; Ana S. Gomes; Maria Teresa Dinis; Cláudia Aragão (1317-1327).
Flatfish species seem to require dietary taurine for normal growth and development. Although dietary taurine supplementation has been recommended for flatfish, little is known about the mechanisms of taurine absorption in the digestive tract of flatfish throughout ontogeny. This study described the cloning and ontogenetic expression of the taurine transporter (TauT) in the flatfish Senegalese sole (Solea senegalensis). Results showed a high similarity between TauT in Senegalese sole and other vertebrates, but a change in TauT amino acid sequences indicates that taurine transport may differ between mammals and fish, reptiles or birds. Moreover, results showed that Senegalese sole metamorphosis is an important developmental trigger to promote taurine transport in larvae, especially in muscle tissues, which may be important for larval growth. Results also indicated that the capacity to uptake dietary taurine in the digestive tract is already established in larvae at the onset of metamorphosis. In Senegalese sole juveniles, TauT expression was highest in brain, heart and eye. These are organs where taurine is usually found in high concentrations and is believed to play important biological roles. In the digestive tract of juveniles, TauT was more expressed in stomach and hindgut, indicating that dietary taurine is quickly absorbed when digestion begins and taurine endogenously used for bile salt conjugation may be recycled at the posterior end of the digestive tract. Therefore, these results suggest an enterohepatic recycling pathway for taurine in Senegalese sole, a process that may be important for maintenance of the taurine body levels in flatfish species.
Keywords: Taurine transporter; TauT; SLC6A6; Senegalese sole; Flatfish; Ontogeny

A Cy5.5-labeled phage-displayed peptide probe for near-infrared fluorescence imaging of tumor vasculature in living mice by Kai Chen; Li-Peng Yap; Ryan Park; Xiaoli Hui; Kaichun Wu; Daiming Fan; Xiaoyuan Chen; Peter S. Conti (1329-1337).
Near-infrared (NIR) fluorescence optical imaging is an emerging imaging technique for studying diseases at the molecular level. Optical imaging with a NIR emitting fluorophore for targeting tumor vasculature offers a noninvasive method for early detection of tumor angiogenesis and efficient monitoring of response to anti-tumor vasculature therapy. The previous in vitro results demonstrated that the GX1 peptide, identified by phage-display technology, is a tumor vasculature endothelium-specific ligand. In this report, Cy5.5-conjugated GX1 peptide was evaluated in a subcutaneous U87MG glioblastoma xenograft model to investigate tumor-targeting efficacy. The in vitro flow cytometry results revealed dose-dependent binding of Cy5.5-GX1 peptide to U87MG glioma cells. In vivo optical imaging with the Cy5.5-GX1 probe exhibited rapid U87MG tumor targeting at 0.5 h p.i., and high tumor-to-background contrast at 4 h p.i. Tumor specificity of Cy5.5-GX1 was confirmed by effective blocking of tumor uptake in the presence of unlabeled GX1 peptide (20 mg/kg). Ex vivo imaging further confirmed in vivo imaging findings, and demonstrated that Cy5.5-GX1 has a tumor-to-muscle ratio (15.21 ± 0.84) at 24 h p.i. for the non-blocked group and significantly decreased ratio (6.95 ± 0.75) for the blocked group. In conclusion, our studies suggest that Cy5.5-GX1 is a promising molecular probe for optical imaging of tumor vasculature.
Keywords: Molecular imaging probe; Phage-displayed peptide; Fluorescence imaging; Tumor vasculature

Chemoenzymatic routes to enantiomerically pure 2-azatyrosine and 2-, 3- and 4-pyridylalanine derivatives by Amer Moussa; Patrick Meffre; Jean Martinez; Valérie Rolland (1339-1348).
Enantiomerically pure 2-, 3- or 4-pyridylalanine (pya) and 2-azatyrosine (azatyr) are known to present various biological activities. After incorporation into appropriate peptide sequences, these heterocyclic non natural α-amino acids could behave as new substrates or inhibitors of elastase from Pseudomonas aeruginosa. This enzyme is known to be involved in nosocomial infections and infections related to the cystic fibrosis disease. New efficient chemoenzymatic preparations of those compounds using α-chymotrypsin (α-CT) are presented.
Keywords: Heterocyclic α-amino acids; Pyridyl alanine; Azatyrosine; Chemoenzymatic route; Pseudomonas aeruginosa elastase

Multiple different approaches are being used to activate the immune system against breast cancer. Vaccine therapy in general follows the principle that injections of various substances ultimately result in the presentation of tumor peptides to the patient’s immune system. We proposed a potential in silico DNA vaccine against breast cancer by integrating high affinity T cell (MHC-I and MHC-II) and B cell (continuous and discontinuous) epitopes. The matching of the HLA haplotype and antigen was performed to provide the appropriate peptide epitope suitable for majority of the patients. The immunogenic nature of the antigenic construct was also enhanced by the administration of consensus epitopes. The potency of DNA vaccines depends on the efficient expression and presentation of the encoded antigen of interest and the chances of efficient expression of our antigenic construct in host organism was also verified by in silico approaches. An attempt was made to overcome the limited potency of the DNA vaccine by targeting DNA to professional antigen-presenting cells (APCs). A higher immune response theoretically corresponds to a higher survival rate of patients. Therefore, optimization studies were also employed to enhance the immunogenicity of proposed in silico DNA vaccine.
Keywords: HER-2; Antigenic determinants; Computational screening; DNA vaccine; Breast cancer

The SH3 domain of HS1 protein recognizes lysine-rich polyproline motifs by Giuliano Siligardi; Paolo Ruzza; Rohanah Hussain; Luca Cesaro; Anna Maria Brunati; Lorenzo A. Pinna; Arianna Donella-Deana (1361-1370).
HS1 is a protein involved in erythroid proliferation and apoptotic cell death, containing several structurally significant motifs including a C-terminal SH3 domain. HPK1 is a member of the Ste20-related kinase family, which contains four proline-rich sequences and is constitutively associated with HS1 in hematopoietic cells. Recombinant fusion protein GST-SH3HS1 was expressed to assess the binding properties of 16 peptides derived from the HPK1 proline-rich regions. The binding affinities were determined by non-immobilized ligand interaction assay by circular dichroism. Our results revealed that the classical PxxPxK class II binding motif is not sufficient to induce the interaction with the GST-SH3HS1 domain, an event dependent on the presence of additional basic residue(s) located at the C-terminus of the PxxPxK motif: Lys−5 in P2 peptide and Lys−8 in P4c peptide. Lys replacement by Arg residues decreases the ligand binding affinity. The finding that both SH3HS1 domain and full-length HS1 protein bind to P2 peptide with similar affinity demonstrates that the whole protein sequence does not affect the interaction properties of the domain. In silico models of SH3HS1 as a complex with P2 or P4c highlight the domain residues that interact with the recognition determinants of the peptide ligand and that cooperate in the complex stabilization.
Keywords: HS1; Pro-rich peptides; SH3 domain; Protein–protein interaction

Six dichloro-s-triazine (DCT) reagents having l-Leu, d-Phg, l-Val, l-Met, l-Ala and l-Met-NH2 as chiral auxiliaries in cyanuric chloride were introduced for enantioseparation of 13 proteinogenic amino acids. Four other DCTs and six monochloro-s-triazine (MCT) reagents having amino acid amides as chiral auxiliaries were also synthesized. These 16 chiral derivatizing reagents (CDRs) were used for synthesis of diastereomers of all the 13 analytes using microwave irradiation, which were resolved by reversed-phase high-performance liquid chromatography (RP-HPLC) using C18 column and gradient eluting mixture of aqueous TFA and acetonitrile with UV detection at 230 nm. It required only 60–90 s for derivatization using microwave irradiation. Better resolution and lower retention times were observed for the diastereomers prepared with CDRs having amino acids as chiral auxiliaries as compared to counterparts prepared with reagents having amino acid amides as chiral auxiliaries. As the best resolution of all the 13 analytes was observed for their diastereomers prepared using the DCT reagent having l-Leu as chiral auxiliary, this CDR was further employed for derivatization of Lys, Tyr, His and Arg followed by RP-HPLC analysis of resulting diastereomers. The results are discussed in light of acid and amide groups of chiral auxiliaries constituting CDRs, electronegativities of the atoms of achiral moieties constituting CDRs and hydrophobicities of side chains of amino acids constituting CDRs and analytes.
Keywords: Cyanuric chloride; Amino acids; Chiral derivatizing reagents; Reversed-phase high-performance liquid chromatographic separation; Enantioseparation

Quantitative structure–activity relationship modeling of renin-inhibiting dipeptides by Chibuike C. Udenigwe; Huan Li; Rotimi E. Aluko (1379-1386).
Partial least squares regression method was used to analyze a peptide dataset and construct inhibitory models for renin-inhibitory natural dipeptides. The models were computed with the renin-inhibitory activity as dependent variable (Y) and the peptide structural properties as predictors (X); validation was conducted using cross-validation and permutation tests. The amino acid descriptors were based on the 3- and 5-z scales of 20 coded amino acids to produce models that explained 71.6% of Y with a 33.8% predictive ability and 75.2% of Y with a predictive power of 50.8%, respectively. In both models, low molecular size amino acids with hydrophobic side chains were preferred at the N-terminus, while amino acids with bulky side chains were preferred at the C-terminus for potency. Based on the 5-z model, four Trp (W)-containing antihypertensive dipeptides (IW, LW, VW and AW) were predicted as the most potent renin inhibitors. The peptides were synthesized and in vitro inhibition assay showed that IW and LW inhibited 70% (IC50, 2.3 mM) and 37% renin activity at 3.2 mM, respectively, whereas VW and AW were inactive. There was no correlation between the observed renin-inhibitory activities and angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitory activities of the dipeptides. We concluded that the structural similarities between isoleucine and leucine could have contributed to their distinct inhibitory activity when compared to alanine and valine. Therefore, IW may be a useful template for the development of advanced forms of highly active low molecular size antihypertensive peptides and peptidomimetics.
Keywords: Renin inhibitors; Dipeptides; Quantitative structure–activity relationship (QSAR); Partial least squares regression (PLS); Amino acid descriptors

Prediction of lysine ubiquitination with mRMR feature selection and analysis by Yudong Cai; Tao Huang; Lele Hu; Xiaohe Shi; Lu Xie; Yixue Li (1387-1395).
Ubiquitination, one of the most important post-translational modifications of proteins, occurs when ubiquitin (a small 76-amino acid protein) is attached to lysine on a target protein. It often commits the labeled protein to degradation and plays important roles in regulating many cellular processes implicated in a variety of diseases. Since ubiquitination is rapid and reversible, it is time-consuming and labor-intensive to identify ubiquitination sites using conventional experimental approaches. To efficiently discover lysine-ubiquitination sites, a sequence-based predictor of ubiquitination site was developed based on nearest neighbor algorithm. We used the maximum relevance and minimum redundancy principle to identify the key features and the incremental feature selection procedure to optimize the prediction engine. PSSM conservation scores, amino acid factors and disorder scores of the surrounding sequence formed the optimized 456 features. The Mathew’s correlation coefficient (MCC) of our ubiquitination site predictor achieved 0.142 by jackknife cross-validation test on a large benchmark dataset. In independent test, the MCC of our method was 0.139, higher than the existing ubiquitination site predictor UbiPred and UbPred. The MCCs of UbiPred and UbPred on the same test set were 0.135 and 0.117, respectively. Our analysis shows that the conservation of amino acids at and around lysine plays an important role in ubiquitination site prediction. What’s more, disorder and ubiquitination have a strong relevance. These findings might provide useful insights for studying the mechanisms of ubiquitination and modulating the ubiquitination pathway, potentially leading to potential therapeutic strategies in the future.
Keywords: Ubiquitination; Maximum relevance and minimum redundancy (mRMR); Incremental feature selection (IFS); Nearest neighbor algorithm (NNA)

Somatostatin is involved in anorexia in mice fed a valine-deficient diet by Keiko Nakahara; Shiori Takata; Asami Ishii; Kenji Nagao; Makoto Bannai; Michio Takahashi; Noboru Murakami (1397-1404).
The ingestion of a valine (Val)-deficient diet results in a significant reduction of food intake and body weight within 24 h, and this phenomenon continues throughout the period over which such a diet is supplied. Both microarray and real-time PCR analyses revealed that the expression of somatostatin mRNA was increased in the hypothalamus in anorectic mice that received a Val-deficient diet. On the other hand, when somatostatin was administered intracerebroventricularly to intact animals that were fed a control diet, their 24-h food intake decreased significantly. In addition, Val-deficient but not pair-fed mice or those fasted for 24 h showed a less than 0.5-fold decrease in the hypothalamic mRNA expression levels of Crym, Foxg1, Itpka and two unknown EST clone genes and a more than twofold increase in those of Slc6a3, Bdh1, Ptgr2 and one unknown EST clone gene. These results suggest that hypothalamic somatostatin and genes responsive to Val deficiency may be involved in the central mechanism of anorexia induced by a Val-deficient diet.
Keywords: Amino acid deficiency; Valine; Anorexia nervosa; Somatostatin

Acute regulation of IGF-I by alterations in post-exercise macronutrients by E. B. Foster; G. Fisher; J. L. Sartin; T. H. Elsasser; G. Wu; W. Cowan; D. D. Pascoe (1405-1416).
This investigation sought to examine the contributions of exercise and nutrient replenishment on in vivo regulation of the insulin-like growth factor-I (IGF-I) axis components. Eight college-aged males completed three high-intensity interval training (HIIT) protocols followed by three post-exercise nutritional protocols: (1) placebo (EX); (2) carbohydrate only (CHO); and (3) essential amino acid/carbohydrate (EAA/CHO). Samples were analyzed for growth hormone (GH), free IGF-I, IGFBP-1, IGFBP-2, insulin, hematocrit, hemoglobin, serum leucine, matrix metalloproteinase-9 (MMP-9) proteolytic activity, and presence of IGFBP-3 protease activity. No evidence for IGFBP-3 proteolysis was observed. Significant increases in [free IGF-I] and [leucine] were observed in the EAA/CHO group only. Significant differences were noted in [IGFBP-1] and [IGFBP-2] across conditions. Significant increases in [GH] and MMP-9 activity were observed in all groups. These results indicate that post-exercise macronutrient ratio is a determinant of [free IGF-I], [IGFBP-1 and -2] and may play a role in modulating the IGF-I axis in vivo.

l-Ala-NH2, l-Val-NH2, l-Leu-NH2, and d-Phg-NH2 were used as chiral auxiliaries to synthesize four chiral derivatizing reagents (CDRs) of each of the three categories, viz., difluoro dinitro benzene (DFDNB) based chiral variants, and cyanuric chloride (CC) based monochloro-s-triazine reagents (MCTs) and dichloro-s-triazine reagents (DCTs). DFDNB based chiral variants were synthesized by substituting one of the fluorine atoms of DFDNB with respective amino acid amides. The MCTs and DCTs were synthesized by substituting chlorine atom with aforesaid amino acid amide moieties in 6-methoxy dichloro-s-triazine and in CC, respectively. In total, 12 CDRs were characterized and used for microwave-assisted synthesis (45 s at 80% of 800 W using DFDNB-based chiral variants, 80 s at 90% of 800 W power using MCTs, and 50 s at 80% of 800 W power using DCTs) of diastereomers of (A) SeMet, and (B) mixture of (1) SeMet and Met, and (2) SeMet, Met, and Cys. The diastereomers were enantioseparated by reversed-phase high-performance liquid chromatography using gradient elution with mobile phases containing aq. TFA (0.1%)—MeCN in different compositions. The method was validated for accuracy, precision, and limit of detection.
Keywords: Amino acid amides; DFDNB based chiral variants; MCTs; DCTs; Selenomethionine; Methionine; Cysteine; Diastereomer separation; Reversed-phase HPLC

Leucine and citrulline modulate muscle function in malnourished aged rats by Cécile Faure; Agathe Raynaud-Simon; Arnaud Ferry; Valérie Daugé; Luc Cynober; Christian Aussel; Christophe Moinard (1425-1433).
Protein energy malnutrition in the elderly causes preferential loss of muscle mass which is associated with poor functional states. Leucine and citrulline are able to stimulate muscle protein synthesis in aged rats but no study has been undertaken to evaluate their effect on muscle function. Sprague–Dawley male rats aged 23 months were used in the experiment. Part of them were subjected to a dietary restriction for 12 weeks and then assigned to four groups: a group was euthanized (restricted group), and the others were refed for 1 week with either a leucine-, a citrulline-supplemented diet, or a standard diet. The other rats were fed ad libitum. Muscle mass and motor activity significantly increased during the refeeding with either leucine or citrulline (respectively, +51 and +37% for muscle mass, P < 0.05). The improvement of muscle mass and of motor activity induced by leucine and citrulline was highly associated with that of maximal tetanic isometric force (r = 0.769, P < 0.0001; r = 0.389, P < 0.05, respectively) but only leucine improved maximal tetanic isometric force (+101%, P < 0.05). In conclusion, this is the first study to demonstrate the ability of two amino acids (leucine and citrulline) to modulate muscle function.
Keywords: Amino acids; Muscle mass; Maximal tetanic isometric force; Motor activity; Ageing

Oxidation mimicking substitution of conservative cysteine in recoverin suppresses its membrane association by Sergei E. Permyakov; Evgeni Yu Zernii; Ekaterina L. Knyazeva; Alexander I. Denesyuk; Aliya A. Nazipova; Tatiana V. Kolpakova; Dmitry V. Zinchenko; Pavel P. Philippov; Eugene A. Permyakov; Ivan I. Senin (1435-1442).
Recoverin belongs to the family of intracellular Ca2+-binding proteins containing EF-hand domains, neuronal calcium sensors (NCS). In photoreceptor outer segments, recoverin is involved into the recovery of visual cycle via Ca2+-dependent interaction with disk membranes and inhibition of rhodopsin kinase. The function of a conservative within NCS family Cys residue in the inactive EF-loop 1 remains unclear, but previous study has shown its vulnerability to oxidation under mild oxidizing conditions. To elucidate the influence of oxidation of the conservative Cys39 in recoverin the properties of its C39D mutant, mimicking oxidative conversion of Cys39 into sulfenic, sulfinic or sulfonic acids have been studied using intrinsic fluorescence, circular dichroism, and equilibrium centrifugation methods. The C39D substitution results in essential changes in structural, physico-chemical and physiological properties of the protein: it reduces α-helical content, decreases thermal stability and suppresses protein affinity for photoreceptor membranes. The latter effect precludes proper functioning of the Ca2+-myristoyl switch in recoverin. The revealed significance of oxidation state of Cys39 for maintaining the protein functional status shows that it may serve as redox sensor in vision and suggests an explanation of the available data on localization and light-dependent translocation of recoverin in rod photoreceptors.
Keywords: EF-hand; NCS family; Vision; Recoverin; Cysteine; Redox regulation

Mitochondria are all-important organelles of eukaryotic cells since they are involved in processes associated with cellular mortality and human diseases. Therefore, trustworthy techniques are highly required for the identification of new mitochondrial proteins. We propose Mito-GSAAC system for prediction of mitochondrial proteins. The aim of this work is to investigate an effective feature extraction strategy and to develop an ensemble approach that can better exploit the advantages of this feature extraction strategy for mitochondria classification. We investigate four kinds of protein representations for prediction of mitochondrial proteins: amino acid composition, dipeptide composition, pseudo amino acid composition, and split amino acid composition (SAAC). Individual classifiers such as support vector machine (SVM), k-nearest neighbor, multilayer perceptron, random forest, AdaBoost, and bagging are first trained. An ensemble classifier is then built using genetic programming (GP) for evolving a complex but effective decision space from the individual decision spaces of the trained classifiers. The highest prediction performance for Jackknife test is 92.62% using GP-based ensemble classifier on SAAC features, which is the highest accuracy, reported so far on the Mitochondria dataset being used. While on the Malaria Parasite Mitochondria dataset, the highest accuracy is obtained by SVM using SAAC and it is further enhanced to 93.21% using GP-based ensemble. It is observed that SAAC has better discrimination power for mitochondria prediction over the rest of the feature extraction strategies. Thus, the improved prediction performance is largely due to the better capability of SAAC for discriminating between mitochondria and non-mitochondria proteins at the N and C terminus and the effective combination capability of GP. Mito-GSAAC can be accessed at . It is expected that the novel approach and the accompanied predictor will have a major impact to Molecular Cell Biology, Proteomics, Bioinformatics, System Biology, and Drug Development.
Keywords: Mitochondrial protein; Amino acid composition; Random forest; Genetic programming; Dipeptide composition; AdaBoost

In vitro and in vivo osteogenic activity of licochalcone A by Soon Nam Kim; Su Jung Bae; Han Bok Kwak; Yong Ki Min; Seung-Hyun Jung; Cheol-Hee Kim; Seong Hwan Kim (1455-1465).
We investigated the in vitro and in vivo osteogenic activity of licochalcone A. At low concentrations, licochalcone A stimulated the differentiation of mouse pre-osteoblastic MC3T3-E1 subclone 4 (MC4) cells and enhanced the bone morphogenetic protein (BMP)-2-induced stimulation of mouse bi-potential mesenchymal precursor C2C12 cells to commit to the osteoblast differentiation pathway. This osteogenic activity of licochalcone A was accompanied by the activation of extracellular-signal regulated kinase (ERK). The involvement of ERK was confirmed in a pharmacologic inhibition study. Additionally, noggin (a BMP antagonist) inhibited the osteogenic activity of licochalcone A in C2C12 cells. Licochalcone A also enhanced the BMP-2-stimulated expression of various BMP mRNAs. This suggested that the osteogenic action of licochalcone A in C2C12 cells could be dependent on BMP signaling and/or expression. We then tested the in vivo osteogenic activity of licochalcone A in two independent animal models. Licochalcone A accelerated the rate of skeletal development in zebrafish and enhanced woven bone formation over the periosteum of mouse calvarial bones. In summary, licochalcone A induced osteoblast differentiation with ERK activation in both MC4 and C2C12 cells and it exhibited in vivo osteogenic activity in zebrafish skeletal development and mouse calvarial bone formation. The dual action of licochalcone A in stimulating bone formation and inhibiting bone resorption, as described in a previous study, might be beneficial in treating bone-related disorders.
Keywords: Licochalcone A; Osteogenic activity; ERK; Bone morphogenetic protein; Zebrafish

Myelin is a tightly packed membrane multilayer in the nervous system, which harbours a specific set of quantitatively major proteins. All these proteins interact with the lipid bilayer, being either peripheral or integral membrane proteins. In this study, we examined the conformational properties of peptides from the myelin proteins P0, CNPase, MOBP, P2 and MOG, using trifluoroethanol and micelles of different detergents as membrane-like mimics. The peptides showed significant differences in their folding under the employed conditions, as evidenced by synchrotron radiation circular dichroism spectroscopy. Our experiments provide new structural information on the interactions between myelin proteins and membranes, using a simplified model system of synthetic peptides and micelles.
Keywords: Myelin; Peptide; Synchrotron radiation; Folding; Micelle

Olfactory sensitivity for six amino acids: a comparative study in CD-1 mice and spider monkeys by Helena Wallén; Ida Engström; Laura Teresa Hernandez Salazar; Matthias Laska (1475-1485).
Using a conditioning paradigm, the olfactory sensitivity of five CD-1 mice for the l- and d-forms of cysteine, methionine, and proline was investigated. With all six stimuli, the animals discriminated concentrations ≤0.1 ppm (parts per million) from the odorless solvent, and with three of the six stimuli the best-scoring animals were even able to detect concentrations <0.1 ppb (parts per billion). Three spider monkeys tested in parallel were found to detect the same six stimuli at concentrations <1 ppm, and with four of the six stimuli the best-scoring animals detected concentrations ≤1 ppb. Both CD-1 mice and spider monkeys displayed a higher olfactory sensitivity with the l- and d-forms of cysteine and methionine than with the prolines, suggesting an important role of the sulfur-containing functional groups for detectability. Accordingly, the across-odorant patterns of detection thresholds obtained with mice and spider monkeys showed a significant positive correlation. A comparison of the detection thresholds between the two species tested here and those obtained in human subjects suggests that neither the number of functional olfactory receptor genes nor the absolute or the relative size of the olfactory bulbs reliably predicts a species’ olfactory sensitivity for amino acids.
Keywords: Olfactory detection thresholds; Cysteine; Methionine; Proline