Amino Acids (v.45, #4)

A compendium of cyclic sugar amino acids and their carbocyclic and heterocyclic nitrogen analogues by Martijn Risseeuw; Mark Overhand; George W. J. Fleet; Michela I. Simone (613-689).
This compendium focuses on functionalised sugar amino acids (SAAs) and their 3- to 6-membered nitrogen heterocyclic and carbocyclic analogues. The main benefit of using SAAs and their related nitrogen and carbon congeners in the production of peptidomimetics and glycomimetics is that their properties can be readily altered via modification of their ring size, chemical manipulation of their numerous functional groups and fine-tuning of the stereochemical arrangement of their ring substituents. These building blocks provide access to hydrophilic and hydrophobic peptide isosteres whose physical properties allow entry to a region of chemotherapeutic space which is still under-explored by medicinal chemists. These building blocks are also important in providing amino acids whose inherent conformational bias leads to predisposition to secondary structure upon oligomerisation in relatively short sequences. These foldamers, particularly those containing ω-amino acids, provide an additional opportunity to expand access to the control of structures by artificial peptides. The synthesis and biological evaluation of these building blocks in glycomimetics and peptidomimetics systems keep expanding the reach of the glycosciences to the medical sciences, provide a greater outlook onto the wide range of cellular functions of saccharides and their derivatives involved and greater insight into the nature of oligosaccharide and protein folding.
Keywords: Sugar amino acid; Isostere; Foldamer; Glycomimetics; Peptidomimetics; Carbohydrate

Asymmetric synthesis of α-amino acids via homologation of Ni(II) complexes of glycine Schiff bases; Part 1: alkyl halide alkylations by Alexander E. Sorochinsky; José Luis Aceña; Hiroki Moriwaki; Tatsunori Sato; Vadim A. Soloshonok (691-718).
Alkylations of chiral or achiral Ni(II) complexes of glycine Schiff bases constitute a landmark in the development of practical methodology for asymmetric synthesis of α-amino acids. Straightforward, easy preparation as well as high reactivity of these Ni(II) complexes render them ready available and inexpensive glycine equivalents for preparing a wide variety of α-amino acids, in particular on a relatively large scale. In the case of Ni(II) complexes containing benzylproline moiety as a chiral auxiliary, their alkylation proceeds with high thermodynamically controlled diastereoselectivity. Similar type of Ni(II) complexes derived from alanine can also be used for alkylation providing convenient access to quaternary, α,α-disubstituted α-amino acids. Achiral type of Ni(II) complexes can be prepared from picolinic acid or via recently developed modular approach using simple secondary or primary amines. These Ni(II) complexes can be easily mono/bis-alkylated under homogeneous or phase-transfer catalysis conditions. Origin of diastereo-/enantioselectivity in the alkylations reactions, aspects of practicality, generality and limitations of this methodology is critically discussed.
Keywords: Amino acids and peptides; Unnatural amino acids; Asymmetric synthesis; Chiral auxiliary; Organometallic compounds; Nickel

O-GlcNAc in cancer biology by Zhiyuan Ma; Keith Vosseller (719-733).
O-linked β-N-actylglucosamine (O-GlcNAc) is a carbohydrate post-translational modification on hydroxyl groups of serine and/or threonine residues of cytosolic and nuclear proteins. Analogous to phosphorylation, O-GlcNAcylation plays crucial regulatory roles in a variety of cellular processes. O-GlcNAc was termed a nutritional sensor, as global levels of the modification are elevated in response to increased glucose and glutamine flux into the hexosamine biosynthetic pathway. A unique feature of cancer cell energy metabolism is a shift from oxidative phosphorylation to the less efficient glycolytic pathway (Warburg effect), necessitating greatly increased glucose uptake. Additionally, to help meet increased biosynthetic demands, cancer cells also up-regulate glutamine uptake. This led us to hypothesize that the universal feature of increased glucose and glutamine uptake by cancer cells might be linked to increased O-GlcNAc levels. Indeed, recent work in many different cancer types now indicates that hyper-O-GlcNAcylation is a general feature of cancer and contributes to transformed phenotypes. In this review, we describe known/potential links between hyper-O-GlcNAcylation and specific hallmarks of cancer, including cancer cell proliferation, survival, cell stresses, invasion and metastasis, aneuploidy, and energy metabolism. We also discuss inhibition of hyper-O-GlcNAcylation as a potential novel therapeutic target for cancer treatment.
Keywords: O-GlcNAc; Warburg effect; Hallmarks of cancer; Metabolic reprogramming

Neuroprotective role of taurine during aging by Abdeslem El Idrissi; Chang Hui Shen; William J. L’Amoreaux (735-750).
Aging of the brain is characterized by several neurochemical modifications involving structural proteins, neurotransmitters, neuropeptides and related receptors. Alterations of neurochemical indices of synaptic function are indicators of age-related impairment of central functions, such as locomotion, memory and sensory performances. Several studies demonstrate that ionotropic GABA receptors, glutamate decarboxylase (GAD), and somatostatinergic subpopulations of GABAergic neurons are markedly decreased in experimental animal brains during aging. Additionally, levels of several neuropeptides co-expressed with GAD decrease during aging. Thus, the age-related decline in cognitive functions could be attributable, at least in part, to decrements in GABA inhibitory neurotransmission. In this study, we showed that chronic supplementation of taurine to aged mice significantly ameliorated the age-dependent decline in spatial memory acquisition and retention. We also demonstrated that concomitant with the amelioration in cognitive function, taurine caused significant alterations in the GABAergic and somatostatinergic system. These changes included (1) increased levels of the neurotransmitters GABA and glutamate, (2) increased expression of both isoforms of GAD (65 and 67) and the neuropeptide somatostatin, (3) decreased hippocampal expression of the β3 subunits of the GABAA receptor, (4) increased expression in the number of somatostatin-positive neurons, (5) increased amplitude and duration of population spikes recorded from CA1 in response to Schaefer collateral stimulation and (6) enhanced paired pulse facilitation in the hippocampus. These specific alterations of the inhibitory system caused by taurine treatment oppose those naturally occurring in the aging brain, suggesting a protective role of taurine in this process. An increased understanding of age-related neurochemical changes in the GABAergic system will be important in elucidating the underpinnings of the functional changes of aging. Taurine supplementation might help forestall the age-related decline in cognitive functions through interaction with the GABAergic system.
Keywords: Taurine; Aging; Somatostatin; GABA; GAD; Passive avoidance

Proteins with polybasic clusters bind to negatively charged phosphoinositides at the cell membrane. In this review, I have briefly discussed the types of phosphoinositides naturally found on membrane surfaces and how they recruit protein complexes for carrying out the process of signal transduction. A large number of researchers from around the world are now focusing their attention on protein–membrane binding, as these interactions have started to offer us a much better insight into the process of cell signaling. The main areas discussed in this brief review article include the phosphoinositide binding specificities of proteins and the role of their lipid binding in signaling processes downstream of membrane recruitment.
Keywords: Proteins; Phosphoinositides; Lipids; Protein–membrane interactions; Biochemistry; Signal transduction

Qualitative and quantitative analysis of molecular interaction prevailing in glycine, l-alanine, l-valine and aqueous solution of β-cyclodextrin (β-CD) have been probed by thermophysical properties. Density (ρ), viscosity (η), and ultrasonic speed (u) measurements have been reported at different temperatures. The extent of interaction (solute–solvent interaction) is expressed in terms of the limiting apparent molar volume ( $$ phi_{ ext{V}}^{0} $$ ϕ V 0 ), viscosity B-coefficient and limiting apparent molar adiabatic compressibility ( $$ phi_{ ext{K}}^{0} $$ ϕ K 0 ). The changes on the enthalpy ( $$ Updelta H^{*} $$ Δ H ∗ ) and entropy ( $$ Updelta S^{*} $$ Δ S ∗ ) of the encapsulation analysis give information about the driving forces governing the inclusion. The temperature dependence behaviour of partial molar quantities and group contributions to partial molar volumes has been determined for the amino acids. The trends in transfer volumes, $$ Updelta phi_{ ext{V}}^{0} $$ Δ ϕ V 0 , have been interpreted in terms of solute–cosolute interactions based on a cosphere overlap model. The role of the solvent (aqueous solution of β-CD) and the contribution of solute–solute and solute–solvent interactions to the solution complexes have also been analyzed through the derived properties.
Keywords: Molecular interaction; Amino acids; β-Cyclodextrin; Hydration number; Thermophysical properties

Synthesis of a thymine-functionalized nucleoamino acid for the solid phase assembly of cationic nucleopeptides by Giovanni N. Roviello; Domenica Musumeci; Cristian D’Alessandro; Carlo Pedone (779-784).
In this work, we report the synthesis of a thymine-functionalized nucleoamino acid suitable for the solid phase synthesis of nucleopeptides. The monomer was obtained in solution starting from commercial compounds and after NMR (1H and 13C) and ESIMS (positive ions) characterization it was used for the assembly of a cationic nucleopeptide obtained by sequentially introducing underivatized l-lysine units and nucleoamino acid monomers. After detachment from the resin, performed in acidic conditions, the oligomer was purified by HPLC and characterized by LC-ESIMS (positive ions) which confirmed the identity of the thymine-based nucleopeptide. The cationic nucleobase-containing peptide, well soluble in water, was studied by CD spectroscopy which allowed us to exclude any helical pre-organization of the nucleopeptide in the experimental conditions used. Furthermore, CD behavior of the oligomer at different temperatures was also studied as described in this work.
Keywords: Nucleopeptide; l-Lysine; CD

How do amino acid substitutions affect the amyloidogenic properties and seeding efficiency of prion peptides by Chi-Chen Chuang; Tai-Yan Liao; Eric H.-L Chen; Rita P.-Y. Chen (785-796).
The amino acid sequences in the amyloidogenic region (amino acids 108–144) of several mammalian prion proteins were compared and variations were found to occur at residues 109 (M or L), 112 (M or V), 129 (M, V, or L), 135 (N or S), 138 (M, L, or I), 139 (M or I), and 143 (N or S). Using the bovine PrP peptide (residues 108–144 based on the numbering of the human prion protein sequence) as a control peptide, several peptides with one amino acid differing from that of the bovine PrP peptide at residues 109, 112, 135, 138, 139, or 143 and several mammalian PrP peptides were synthesized, and the effects of these amino acid substitutions on the amyloidogenic properties of these peptides were compared and discussed on the basis of the chemical and structural properties of amino acids. Our results showed that the V112M substitution accelerated nucleation of amyloidogenesis, while the N143S and I139M substitutions retarded nucleation. These effects tended to cancel each other out when two substitutions with opposite effects were present on the same peptide. Moreover, acceleration or inhibition of nucleation was not necessarily correlated with effect on seeding efficiency. Using amyloid fibrils prepared from the bovine PrP peptide as seeds, the seeding efficiency for the monomer peptides with the M129L, S135N, N143S, or I139M substitution was decreased compared to that for bPrP peptide. Of all the mammalian peptides used in this study, the dog, mule deer, and pig PrP peptides had the lowest seeding efficiencies.
Keywords: Prion; Amyloid; Fibril; Seeding; Species barrier; Kinetics

In the present study, we report on the cardiovascular effects caused by the microinjection of l-proline (l-Pro) into the supraoptic nucleus (SON) in unanesthetized rats: the possible involvement of ionotropic glutamate receptors in the SON, as well as the peripheral mechanisms involved in the mediation of its cardiovascular effects. We compared the l-Pro effects with those caused by the injection of l-glutamate (l-Glu) into the SON. Microinjection of increasing doses of l-Pro into the SON caused dose-related cardiovascular responses in unanesthetized rats that were similar to those observed after the injection of l-Glu. Pretreatment of the SON with either a selective non-NMDA (NBQX) or a selective NMDA (LY235959) glutamate receptor antagonist blocked the cardiovascular response to l-Pro. The dose–effect curve for the pretreatment with increasing doses of LY235959 was shifted to the left in relation to the curve for NBQX, showing that LY235959 is more potent than NBQX in inhibiting the cardiovascular response to l-Pro. On the other hand, the cardiovascular response to l-Glu was only significantly reduced by pretreatment with NBQX (2 nmol/100 nL), but not affected by LY235959 (2 nmol/100 nL). The pressor response to l-Pro was not affected by intravenous pretreatment with the ganglion blocker pentolinium, but it was blocked by intravenous pretreatment with the V1-vasopressin receptor antagonist dTyr(CH2)5(Me)AVP. In conclusion, these results suggest that l-Pro has a selective receptor that is sensitive to ionotropic glutamate receptor antagonists. Its activation in the SON results in vasopressin release into the systemic circulation, causing pressor and bradycardiac responses.
Keywords: l-Proline; Supraoptic nucleus; NMDA and non-NMDA receptors; LY and NBQX antagonist; Vasopressin; Cardiovascular response

Taurine prevented cell cycle arrest and restored neurotrophic gene expression in arsenite-treated SH-SY5Y cells by Chien-Te Chou; Wen-Feng Lin; Zwe-Ling Kong; Shiow-Yi Chen; Deng-Fwu Hwang (811-819).
The study investigated the effect of taurine on cell viability and neurotrophic gene expression in arsenite-treated human neuroblastoma SH-SY5Y cells. Arsenite-induced intracellular reactive oxygen species (ROS) and interrupted cell cycle in SH-SY5Y cells. In addition, arsenite reduced mitochondria membrane potential (MMP) and decreased neurotrophic gene expressions such as n-myc downstream-regulated gene 4 (NDRG-4), brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) and sirtuin-1 (SIRT-1) in SH-SY5Y cells. In parallel, taurine prevented cell cycle, restored MMP and reduced the intracellular ROS level, and taurine recovered NDRG-4, BDNF and SIRT-1 gene expressions in arsenite-treated SH-SY5Y cells while taurine alone has no effect on these parameters.
Keywords: Arsenite; Taurine; NDRG-4; BDNF; SIRT-1; Neurotrophic

A new method to synthesize creatine derivatives by Patrizia Garbati; Annalisa Salis; Enrico Adriano; Andrea Galatini; Gianluca Damonte; Maurizio Balestrino; Enrico Millo (821-833).
Creatine is an amino acid that has a pivotal role in energy metabolism of cells. Creatine acts as an “ATP shuttle”, carrying ATP to the sites where it is utilized, through its reversible phosphorylation by creatine kinase. Moreover, the creatine-phosphocreatine system delays ATP depletion during anoxia or ischemia, thus exerting a neuroprotective role during those pathological conditions. Thus, its administration has been advocated as a treatment or prevention of several conditions involving the central nervous system. However, creatine crosses poorly the blood–brain barrier and the cell plasma membrane, thus its administration has but a limited effect. The use of more lipophilic creatine derivatives has thus been suggested. However, such a synthesis is complicated by the intrinsic characteristics of the creatine molecule that hardly reacts with other molecules and easily cyclizes to creatinine. We obtained amide derivatives from creatine starting from a new protected creatine molecule synthesized by us, the so-called (Boc)2-creatine. We used a temporary protection only on the creatine guanidine group while allowing a good reactivity on the carboxylic group. This temporary protection ensured efficient creatine dissolution in organic solvents and offered simultaneous protection of creatine toward intramolecular cyclization to creatinine. In this manner, it was possible to selectively conjugate molecules on the carboxylic group. The creatine guanidine group was easily released from the protection at the end of the reaction, thus obtaining the desired creatine derivative.
Keywords: Creatine; (Boc)2-creatine; Creatine derivatives synthesis; Guanidine group; Creatine reactivity

Cyclic tetrapeptides with –SS– bridging between amino acid side chains for potent histone deacetylases’ inhibition by Toru Arai; Md. Ashraful Hoque; Norikazu Nishino; Hyun-Jung Kim; Akihiro Ito; Minoru Yoshida (835-843).
Cyclic depsipeptide FK228 with an intramolecular disulfide bond is a potent inhibitor of histone deacetylases (HDAC). FK228 is stable in blood because of its prodrug function, whose –SS– bond is reduced within the cell. Here, cyclic peptides with –SS– bridges between a variety of amino acids were synthesized and assayed for HDAC inhibition. Cyclic peptide 3, cyclo(-l-amino acid-l-amino acid-l-Val-d-Pro-), with an –SS– bridge between the first and second amino acids, was found to be a potent HDAC inhibitor. Cyclic peptide 7, cyclo(-l-amino acid-d-amino acid-l-Val-d-Pro-), with an –SS– bridge between the first and second amino acids, was also a potent HDAC inhibitor.
Keywords: Cyclic peptide; Histone deacetylase inhibitor; Disulfide bridge; FK228 analog

l-Arginine induces protein aggregation and transformation of supramolecular structures of the aggregates by Ekaterina Smirnova; Irina Safenkova; Bita Stein-Margolina; Vladimir Shubin; Bella Gurvits (845-855).
Protein misfolding, self-assembly, and aggregation are an essential problem in cell biology, biotechnology, and biomedicine. The protein aggregates are very different morphologically varying from soluble amorphous aggregates to highly ordered amyloid-like fibrils. The objective of this study was to elucidate the role of the amino acid l-arginine (Arg), a widely used suppressor of protein aggregation, in the regulation of transformations of soluble aggregation-prone proteins into supramolecular structures of higher order. However, a striking potential of Arg to govern the initial events in the process of protein aggregation has been revealed under environment conditions where the protein aggregation in its absence was not observed. Using dynamic light scattering we have demonstrated that Arg (10–100 mM) dramatically accelerated the dithiothreitol-induced aggregation of acidic model proteins. The inhibitory effect on the protein aggregation was revealed at higher concentrations of Arg. Using atomic force microscopy it was shown that aggregation of α-lactalbumin from bovine milk induced upon addition of Arg reached a state of formation of supramolecular structures of non-fibrillar species profoundly differing from those of the individual protein in type, size, and shape. The interaction of another positively charged amino acid l-lysine with α-lactalbumin also resulted in profound acceleration of the aggregation process and transformation of supramolecular structures of the aggregates.
Keywords: l-Arginine; l-Lysine; Supramolecular structure; Protein aggregation; Dynamic light scattering; Atomic force microscope

Plasma fibrinogen plays an important role in hemostasis and inflammation. Fibrinogen is converted to fibrin to impede blood loss and serves as the provisional matrix that aids wound healing. Fibrinogen also binds to cytokine activated endothelial cells and promotes the binding and migration of leukocytes into tissues during inflammation. Tissue transglutaminase (TGM-2) released from injured cells could cross-link fibrinogen to form multivalent complexes that could promote adhesion of platelets and vascular cells to endothelium. Histamine released by mast cells is a potent biogenic amine that promotes inflammation. The covalent attachment of histamine to proteins (histaminylation) by TGM-2 could modify local inflammatory reactions. We investigated TGM-2 crosslinking of several biogenic amines (serotonin, histamine, dopamine and noradrenaline) to fibrinogen. We identified histaminylation of fibrinogen by TGM-2 as a preferred reaction in solid and solution phase transglutaminase assays. Histamine caused a concentration-dependent inhibition of fibrinogen cross-linking by TGM-2. Fibrinogen that was not TGM-2 crosslinked bound to un-activated endothelial cells with low affinity. However, the binding was increased by sevenfold when fibrinogen was cross-linked by TGM-2. Histaminylation of fibrinogen also inhibited TGM-2 crosslinking of fibrinogen and the binding to un-activated HUVEC cells by 75–90 %. In summary, the histaminylation of fibrinogen by TGM-2 could play a role in modifying inflammation by sequestering free histamine and by inhibiting TGM-2 crosslinking of fibrinogen.
Keywords: Tissue transglutaminase; Histaminylation; Endothelial cell; Histamine; Fibrinogen; Inflammation

Enhanced β-turn conformational stability of tripeptides containing ΔPhe in cis over trans configuration by Mariusz Jaremko; Łukasz Jaremko; Adam Mazur; Maciej Makowski; Marek Lisowski (865-875).
Conformations of three pairs of dehydropeptides with the opposite configuration of the ΔPhe residue, Boc-Gly-ΔZ/EPhe-Phe-p-NA (Z- p -NA and E- p -NA), Boc-Gly-ΔZ/EPhe-Phe-OMe (Z-OMe and E-OMe), and Boc-Gly-ΔZ/EPhe-Phe-OH (Z-OH and E-OH) were compared on the basis of CD and NMR studies in MeOH, TFE, and DMSO. The CD results were used as the additional input data for the NMR-based calculations of the detailed solution conformations of the peptides. It was found that Z- p -NA, E- p -NA, Z-OMe, and Z-OH adopt the β-turn conformations and E-OMe and E-OH are unordered. There are two overlapping type III β-turns in Z- p -NA, type II’ β-turn in E- p -NA, and type II β-turn in Z-OMe and Z-OH. The results obtained indicate that in the case of methyl esters and peptides with a free carboxyl group, ΔZPhe is a much stronger inducer of ordered conformations than ΔEPhe. It was also found that temperature coefficients of the amide protons are not reliable indicators of intramolecular hydrogen bonds donors in small peptides.
Keywords: Dehydropeptides; Dehydrophenylalanine configuration; Circular dichroism; Nuclear magnetic resonance; Dehydropeptide conformation; Temperature coefficients of amide protons

Metabolomic analysis of amino acid metabolism in colitic rats supplemented with lactosucrose by Zheng Ruan; Yinfei Lv; Xiaofang Fu; Qinghua He; Zeyuan Deng; Wenqun Liu; Yu Yingli; Xiaosong Wu; Guoyao Wu; Xin Wu; Yulong Yin (877-887).
Intestinal inflammation causes metabolic disorders. The purpose of this study was to determine the effect of dietary supplementation with lactosucrose (LS) on the serum metabolome and intestinal luminal content of fatty acids in colitic rats. Colitis was induced in rats using trinitrobenzene sulfonic acid. Subsequently, rats received intragastric administration of either 250 mg LS/kg body weight or saline (the control group) every day for 5 weeks. Short-chain fatty acids in the intestinal lumen, blood profile, and metabolites in serum were measured, respectively, using gas chromatography, biochemistry analyzer, and nuclear magnetic resonance-based metabolomics combined with multivariate statistics. Metabolic effects of LS included: (1) decreases in concentrations of branched-chain amino acids (isoleucine and valine), alanine, citric acid, trimethylamine oxide and taurine, and the abundance of aspartate aminotransferase in serum; (2) increases in concentrations of glucose metabolites (including succinate) in serum; and (3) altered concentrations of butyrate in the cecal content and of butyrate and acetate in the colon content. The results indicate that LS supplementation to colitic rats affects whole-body metabolism of amino acids and release of aspartate aminotransferase and alkaline phosphatase from tissues into the blood circulation, and enhances the production of short-chain fatty acids in the intestinal lumen.
Keywords: Amino acids; Metabolites; Lactosucrose; Inflammation; Nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy

A combined biochemical, biophysical and immunological approach towards the identification of celiac disease-specific wheat antigens by Bharani Srinivasan; Margarete Focke-Tejkl; Ines Swoboda; Claudia Constantin; Irene Mittermann; Sandra Pahr; Harald Vogelsang; Wolf-Dietrich Huber; Rudolf Valenta (889-900).
Celiac disease (CD) is an inflammatory affliction of the small bowel caused by an immunological hypersensitivity to ingested wheat antigens affecting almost 1 % of the population. The gliadin fraction of wheat has been shown to contain the pathogenic antigens which react with antibodies and T cells. However, there is only limited knowledge regarding the precise nature of the wheat antigens recognized by IgA antibodies from CD patients and diagnostic tests based on the gliadin fraction have been demonstrated to give frequently false positive results. The aim of this study was the characterization of wheat antigens specifically recognized by IgA antibodies of CD patients. We developed a combined biochemical, biophysical, and immunological approach for the identification of celiac disease-specific wheat antigens. It is based on sub-fractionation of the wheat gliadin fraction using two ion exchange chromatography steps, the localization of CD-specific antigens by immunoblotting with IgA antibodies from CD patients, subsequent digestion followed by electro spray ionization–liquid chromatography/mass spectrometry (LC–ESI–MS/MS) and N-terminal sequencing by Edman degradation. Through the sub-fractionation procedure it was possible to separate CD-specific IgA-reactive wheat antigens from other wheat antigens which were also recognized by IgA antibodies of individuals without CD or by CD patients on gluten-free diet. Analysis by LC–ESI–MS/MS and N-terminal sequencing of the sub-fractions and the proteins specifically recognized by CD patients identified certain γ-gliadins with molecular mass of 37,000 and 45,000 as CD-specific wheat antigens. The CD-specific γ-gliadins with the molecular mass of 37,000 and 45,000 should be useful to study pathomechanisms of the disease and to improve the specificity of diagnostic tests for CD.
Keywords: Wheat; Celiac disease; Antigens; Ion exchange chromatography; Mass spectrometry

Leucine treatment enhances oxidative capacity through complete carbohydrate oxidation and increased mitochondrial density in skeletal muscle cells by Roger A. Vaughan; Randi Garcia-Smith; Nicholas P. Gannon; Marco Bisoffi; Kristina A. Trujillo; Carole A. Conn (901-911).
Leucine has been largely implicated for increasing muscle protein synthesis in addition to stimulating mitochondrial biosynthesis. Limited evidence is currently available on the effects and potential benefits of leucine treatment on skeletal muscle cell glycolytic and oxidative metabolism. This work identified the effects of leucine treatment on oxidative and glycolytic metabolism as well as metabolic rate of human and murine skeletal muscle cells. Human rhabdomyosarcoma cells (RD) and mouse myoblast cells (C2C12) were treated with leucine at either 100 or 500 μM for 24 or 48 h. Glycolytic metabolism was quantified by measuring extracellular acidification rate (ECAR) and oxidative metabolism was quantified by measuring oxygen consumption rate. Peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor coactivator 1 alpha (PGC-1α), an important stimulator of mitochondrial biosynthesis, was quantified using flow cytometry and verified by immunofluorescent confocal microscopy. Mitochondrial content was quantified using mitochondrial and cytochrome C staining measured by flow cytometry and confirmed with confocal microscopy. Treatment with leucine significantly increased both basal and peak oxidative metabolism in both cell models. Leucine treated cells also exhibited significantly greater mitochondrial proton leak, which is associated with heightened energy expenditure. Basal ECAR was significantly reduced in both cell models following leucine treatment, evidence of reduced lactate export and more complete carbohydrate oxidation. In addition, both PGC-1α and cytochrome C expression were significantly elevated in addition to mitochondrial content following 48 h of leucine treatment. Our observations demonstrated few dose-dependent responses induced by leucine; however, leucine treatment did induce a significant dose-dependent expression of PGC-1α in both cell models. Interestingly, C2C12 cells treated with leucine exhibited dose-dependently reduced ATP content, while RD ATP content remain unchanged. Leucine presents a potent dietary constituent with low lethality with numerous beneficial effects for increasing oxidative preference and capacity in skeletal muscle. Our observations demonstrate that leucine can enhance oxidative capacity and carbohydrate oxidation efficiency, as well as verify previous observations of increased mitochondrial content.
Keywords: Mitochondrial biosynthesis; PGC; Extracellular acidification and oxygen consumption rates; Oxidative phosphorylation; Dietary supplements

Redefining an epitope of a malaria vaccine candidate, with antibodies against the N-terminal MSA-2 antigen of Plasmodium harboring non-natural peptide bonds by José Manuel Lozano; Yuly Andrea Guerrero; Martha Patricia Alba; Liliana Patricia Lesmes; José Oswaldo Escobar; Manuel Elkin Patarroyo (913-935).
The aim of obtaining novel vaccine candidates against malaria and other transmissible diseases can be partly based on selecting non-polymorphic peptides from relevant antigens of pathogens, which have to be then precisely modified for inducing a protective immunity against the disease. Bearing in mind the high degree of the MSA-221–40 peptide primary structure’s genetic conservation among malaria species, and its crucial role in the high RBC binding ability of Plasmodium falciparum (the main agent causing malaria), structurally defined probes based on non-natural peptide-bond isosteres were thus designed. Thus, two peptide mimetics were obtained (so-called reduced amide pseudopeptides), in which naturally made amide bonds of the 30FIN32-binding motif of MSA-2 were replaced with ψ–[CH2–NH] methylene amide isostere bonds, one between the F–I and the second between I–N amino acid pairs, respectively, coded as ψ-128 ψ-130. These peptide mimetics were used to produce poly- and monoclonal antibodies in Aotus monkeys and BALB/c mice. Parent reactive mice-derived IgM isotype cell clones were induced to Ig isotype switching to IgG sub-classes by controlled in vitro immunization experiments. These mature isotype immunoglobulins revealed a novel epitope in the MSA-225–32 antigen and two polypeptides of rodent malaria species. Also, these antibodies’ functional activity against malaria was tested by in vitro assays, demonstrating high efficacy in controlling infection and evidencing neutralizing capacity for the rodent in vivo malaria infection. The neutralizing effect of antibodies induced by site-directed designed peptide mimetics on Plasmodium’s biological development make these pseudopeptides a valuable tool for future development of immunoprophylactic strategies for controlling malarial infection.
Keywords: Site-directed design; Peptide-bond isostere; Peptide mimetic; Antibody; Passive immunization; Malaria vaccine candidate

Biocatalysts for cascade reaction: porcine pancreas lipase (PPL)-catalyzed synthesis of bis(indolyl)alkanes by Ziwei Xiang; Zhiqiang Liu; Xiang Chen; Qi Wu; XianFu Lin (937-945).
A cascade reaction between aldehydes and indole catalyzed by lipase from porcine pancreas Type II (PPL) in solvent mixture at 50 °C was reported for the first time. Some control experiments had been designed to demonstrate that the PPL was responsible for the cascade reaction. After the optimization of the stepwise process, a series of bis(indolyl)alkanes were prepared in moderate to excellent yields under the catalysis of PPL.
Keywords: PPL; Promiscuity; Bis(indolyl)alkanes; Cascade reaction

Dietary l-glutamine supplementation increases Pasteurella multocida burden and the expression of its major virulence factors in mice by Wenkai Ren; Shuping Liu; Shuai Chen; Fengmei Zhang; Nengzhang Li; Jie Yin; Yuanyi Peng; Li Wu; Gang Liu; Yulong Yin; Guoyao Wu (947-955).
This study was conducted to determine the effects of graded doses of l-glutamine supplementation on the replication and distribution of Pasteurella multocida, and the expression of its major virulence factors in mouse model. Mice were randomly assigned to the basal diet supplemented with 0, 0.5, 1.0 or 2.0 % glutamine. Pasteurella multocida burden was detected in the heart, liver, spleen, lung and kidney after 12 h of P. multocida infection. The expression of major virulence factors, toll-like receptors (TLRs), proinflammatory cytokines (interleukin-1 beta, interleukin-6, and tumor necrosis factor alpha) and anti-oxidative factors (GPX1 and CuZnSOD) was analyzed in the lung and spleen. Dietary 0.5 % glutamine supplementation has little significant effect on these parameters, compared to those with basal diet. However, results showed that a high dose of glutamine supplementation increased the P. multocida burden (P < 0.001) and the expression of its major virulence factors (P < 0.05) as compared to those with a lower dose of supplementation. In the lung, high dose of glutamine supplementation inhibited the proinflammatory responses (P < 0.05) and TLRs signaling (P < 0.05). In the spleen, the effect of glutamine supplementation on different components in TLR signaling depends on glutamine concentration, and high dose of glutamine supplementation activated the proinflammatory response. In conclusion, glutamine supplementation increased P. multocida burden and the expression of its major virulence factors, while affecting the functions of the lung and spleen.
Keywords: Glutamine; Pasteurella multocida ; Virulence factor; TLR signaling

Foldamers of β-peptides: conformational preference of peptides formed by rigid building blocks. The first MI-IR spectra of a triamide nanosystem by Gábor Pohl; Esther Gorrea; Vicenç Branchadell; Rosa M. Ortuño; András Perczel; György Tarczay (957-973).
To determine local chirality driven conformational preferences of small aminocyclobutane-1-carboxylic acid derivatives, X-(ACBA) n -Y, their matrix-isolation IR spectra were recorded and analyzed. For the very first time model systems of this kind were deposited in a frozen (~10 K) noble gas matrix to reduce line width and thus, the recorded sharp vibrational lines were analyzed in details. For cis-(S,R)-1 monomer two “zigzag” conformers composed of either a six or an eight-membered H-bonded pseudo ring was identified. For trans-(S,S)-2 stereoisomer a zigzag of an eight-membered pseudo ring and a helical building unit were determined. Both findings are fully consistent with our computational results, even though the relative conformational ratios were found to vary with respect to measurements. For the dimers (S,R,S,S)-3 and (S,S,S,R)-4 as many as four different cis,trans and three different trans,cis conformers were localized in their matrix-isolation IR (MI-IR) spectra. These foldamers not only agree with the previous computational and NMR results, but also unambiguously show for the first time the presence of a structure made of a cis,trans conformer which links a “zigzag” and a helical foldamer via a bifurcated H-bond. The present work underlines the importance of MI-IR spectroscopy, applied for the first time for triamides to analyze the conformational pool of small biomolecules. We have shown that the local chirality of a β-amino acid can fully control its backbone folding preferences. Unlike proteogenic α-peptides, β- and especially (ACBA) n type oligopeptides could thus be used to rationally design and influence foldamer’s structural preferences.
Keywords: β-peptides; Peptide folding; Matrix-isolation IR spectroscopy; Conformational analysis; Synthetic biopolymers

Synthesis of novel peptides through Ugi-ligation and their anti-cancer activities by Fatemeh Tahoori; Reza Sheikhnejad; Saeed Balalaie; Mahnaz Sadjadi (975-981).
Proline-rich heptapeptide was synthesized and its structure was modified through Ugi-ligation. The desired pseudopeptides were separated as diastereomers and their anti-cancer activities were investigated. Their in vitro anti-cancer activities were investigated by treating HL60 (leukemia cancer cells), MCF7 (breast cancer cells) and A549 (lung cancer cells) cells with appropriate amounts of synthesized peptides. Our in vitro studies suggest that compounds 11a–b, 11i–j, and 11e had little or no effect on cancer cells viabilities.
Keywords: Ugi-ligation; Ligation of peptides; Anti-cancer activity; Pseudopeptides

Synthesis and analgesic effects of novel β2-tryptophan hexapeptide analogs by Adriana Bocheva; Hristina Nocheva; Nikola Pavlov; Petar Todorov; Monique Calmès; Jean Martinez; Emilia Naydenova (983-988).
Aiming to develop more potent analgesic substances a new series of hexapeptides containing β2-tryptophan analogues was synthesized. The Trp in position 4 and 5, respectively in Ac-Arg-Phe-Met-Trp-Met-Lys-NH2 (opioid receptor antagonist) and Ac-Arg-Tyr-Tyr-Arg-Trp-Lys-NH2 (highly potent and selective NOP-receptor agonist) was substituted by the (S)-2-(1-methyl-1H-indol-3-yl)propionic residue or the (S)-2-(5-methoxy-1H-indol-3-yl)propionic residue. The analgesic effect of the four newly synthesized compounds has been evaluated in male Wistar rats by PP- and HP tests and compared to the native templates. Further estimation of the mechanisms of action of each compound was achieved using specific antagonists—naloxone for opioid and JTC801 for the NOP receptor. Replacement of Trp with β2-tryptophan analogues in 4th position (Ac-Arg-Phe-Met-Trp-Met-Lys-NH2) led to increased and longer lasting analgesic effect. The results obtained permit us to assume that both opioid and NOP receptors take part in the newly synthesized compounds analgesic effects.
Keywords: Nociceptin analogue; NOP receptor; SPPS; β-Tryptophan analogues; Nociception; PP-test; HP-latency

Transport of asymmetric dimethylarginine (ADMA) by cationic amino acid transporter 2 (CAT2), organic cation transporter 2 (OCT2) and multidrug and toxin extrusion protein 1 (MATE1) by Joachim Strobel; Fabian Müller; Oliver Zolk; Beate Endreß; Jörg König; Martin F. Fromm; Renke Maas (989-1002).
Asymmetric dimethylarginine (ADMA), inhibiting the nitric oxide (NO) synthesis from l-arginine, is a known cardiovascular risk factor. Our aim was to investigate if ADMA and/or l-arginine are substrates of the human cationic amino acid transporters 2A (CAT2A, SLC7A2A) and 2B (CAT2B, SLC7A2B), the organic cation transporter 2 (OCT2, SLC22A2), and the multidrug and toxin extrusion protein 1 (MATE1, SLC47A1). We systematically investigated the kinetics of ADMA and l-arginine transport in human embryonic kidney (HEK293) cells stably overexpressing CAT2A, CAT2B, OCT2, or MATE1. Vector-only transfected HEK293 cells served as controls. Compared to vector control cells, uptake of ADMA and l-arginine was significantly higher (p < 0.05) in cells expressing CAT2B and OCT2 at almost all investigated concentrations, while cells expressing CAT2A only showed a significant uptake at concentrations above 300 μM. Uptake of MATE1 overexpressing cells was significantly (p < 0.05) higher at pH 7.8 and 8.2 than controls. Apparent V max values (nmol mg protein−1 min−1) for cellular uptake of ADMA and l-arginine were ≈11.8 ± 1.2 and 19.5 ± 0.7 for CAT2A, ≈14.3 ± 1.0 and 15.3 ± 0.4 for CAT2B, and 6.3 ± 0.3 and >50 for OCT2, respectively. Apparent K m values (μmol/l) for cellular uptake of ADMA and l-arginine were ≈3,033 ± 675 and 3,510 ± 419 for CAT2A, ≈4,021 ± 532 and 952 ± 92 for CAT2B, and 967 ± 143 and >10,000 for OCT2, respectively. ADMA and l-arginine are substrates of human CAT2A, CAT2B, OCT2 and MATE1. Transport kinetics of CAT2A, CAT2B, and OCT2 indicate a low affinity, high capacity transport, which may be relevant for renal and hepatic elimination of ADMA or l-arginine.
Keywords: Asymmetric dimethylarginine; ADMA; l-Arginine; Cationic amino acid transporter 2; Organic cation transporter 2; Multidrug and toxin extrusion protein 1

In-gel total protein quantification using a ninhydrin-based method by Sung Ung Kang; Seok Heo; Gert Lubec (1003-1013).
Precise in-gel quantification of total protein amount of bands or spots in gels is the basis of subsequent biochemical, molecular biological and immunological analyses. Though several methods have been designed to evaluate relative amounts of proteins, these methods are of limited reliability because (semi-) quantifications depend on the amount of protein migrating into the gel and different proteins may lead to different absorptions/intensities of stained bands or spots. In the present study, we described a method to quantify both, hydrophilic and hydrophobic proteins using in-gel digestion with proteinase K, subsequent extraction and acid hydrolysis followed by the use of the ninhydrin reaction. The protocol is accurate and compatible with mass spectrometric characterization of proteins. Reproducible in-gel protein quantification was performed from SDS-PAGE and IEF/SDS-PAGE gels using bovine serum albumin as a standard protein. Bacteriorhodopsin separated on SDS-PAGE gel was quantified in addition in order to show that the method is also suitable for quantification of hydrophobic protein. This protocol for reliable in-gel protein quantification, which not only provides “arbitrary units of optical density”, can also be completed in a minimum of 4 days or maximum 1 week depending on the type of electrophoresis with the disadvantage of being time consuming.
Keywords: Gel-based proteomics; In-gel protein quantification; In-gel proteolytic digestion; Acid hydrolysis; Ninhydrin-based quantification

Erratum to: Effect of slow-release β-alanine tablets on absorption kinetics and paresthesia by Jacques Décombaz; Maurice Beaumont; Jacques Vuichoud; Florilene Bouisset; Trent Stellingwerff (1015-1015).