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Nazzaro F.,CNR Institute of Food Sciences | Orlando P.,CNR Institute of Protein Biochemistry | Fratianni F.,CNR Institute of Food Sciences | Coppola R.,CNR Institute of Food Sciences
Current Opinion in Biotechnology | Year: 2012

Microencapsulation can represent an excellent example of microtechnologies applied to food science and biotechnology. Microencapsulation can be successfully applied to entrap natural compounds, like essential oils or vegetal extracts containing polyphenols with well known antimicrobial properties to be used in food packaging. Microencapsulation preserves lactic acid bacteria, both starters and probiotics, in food and during the passage through the gastrointestinal tract, and may contribute to the development of new functional foods. © 2011 Elsevier Ltd.

Boraschi D.,CNR Institute of Protein Biochemistry | Italiani P.,CNR Institute of Neuroscience
Immunology Letters | Year: 2014

The immune system of the elderly is particularly susceptible to infectious diseases and displays reduced response to vaccination. The current vaccines, designed for young and adult individuals, proved less effective and less protective in old people. The world population is rapidly ageing, and consequently preventing infectious diseases in the elderly have become an important public health issue. To this end, it is necessary to develop novel vaccines especially suited to raising protective immunity in the ageing population. Approaches in this direction include high-dose vaccines, booster vaccinations, different immunisation routes, and use of new adjuvants. These approaches, still empirical, must be supported by intensive research to unravel the biological and molecular mechanisms underlying immunosenescence. Only this knowledge would allow us to design approaches to immune rejuvenation and more effective vaccines for protecting the elderly. © 2014 Elsevier B.V.

Pan P.,University of Tampere | Vermelho A.B.,Federal University of Rio de Janeiro | Capaci Rodrigues G.,Federal University of Rio de Janeiro | Scozzafava A.,University of Florence | And 4 more authors.
Journal of Medicinal Chemistry | Year: 2013

An α-carbonic anhydrase (CA, EC has been identified, cloned, and characterized from the unicellular protozoan Trypanosoma cruzi, the causative agent of Chagas disease. The enzyme (TcCA) has a very high catalytic activity for the CO2 hydration reaction, being similar kinetically to the human (h) isoform hCA II, although it is devoid of the His64 proton shuttle. A large number of aromatic/heterocyclic sulfonamides and some 5-mercapto-1,3,4-thiadiazoles were investigated as TcCA inhibitors. The aromatic sulfonamides were weak inhibitors (KI values of 192 nM to 84 μM), whereas some heterocyclic compounds inhibited the enzyme with KI values in the range 61.6-93.6 nM. The thiols were the most potent in vitro inhibitors (KI values of 21.1-79.0 nM), and some of them also inhibited the epimastigotes growth of two T. cruzi strains in vivo. © 2013 American Chemical Society.

Capasso C.,CNR Institute of Protein Biochemistry | Supuran C.T.,University of Florence
Journal of Enzyme Inhibition and Medicinal Chemistry | Year: 2014

Recent advances in microbial genomics, synthetic organic chemistry and X-ray crystallography provided opportunities to identify novel antibacterial targets for the development of new classes of antibiotics and to design more potent antimicrobial compounds derived from existing antibiotics in clinical use for decades. The antimetabolites, sulfa drugs and trimethoprim (TMP)-like agents, are inhibitors of three families of enzymes. One family belongs to the carbonic anhydrases, which catalyze a simple but physiologically relevant reaction in all life kingdoms, carbon dioxide hydration to bicarbonate and protons. The other two enzyme families are involved in the synthesis of tetrahydrofolate (THF), i.e. dihydropteroate synthase (DHPS) and dihydrofolate reductase. The antibacterial agents belonging to the THF and DHPS inhibitors were developed decades ago and present significant bacterial resistance problems. However, the molecular mechanisms of drug resistance both to sulfa drugs and TMP-like inhibitors were understood in detail only recently, when several X-ray crystal structures of such enzymes in complex with their inhibitors were reported. Here, we revue the state of the art in the field of antibacterials based on inhibitors of these three enzyme families. © 2014 Informa UK Ltd.

Cocca E.,CNR Institute of Protein Biochemistry | Iorio S.D.,The Second University of Naples | Capriglione T.,University of Naples Federico II
Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution | Year: 2011

Rolling-circle (RC) eukaryotic transposons, known as helitrons, are found in a wide range of organisms, from protist to mammals. Autonomous helitrons have a distinctive open reading frame (ORF) encoding a polypeptide that contains typical domains for RC replication (RCR): the Rep (RCR initiator) and the DNA helicase domains. These elements are believed to have an important role in the host genome evolution, owing to their frequent capture of host genes, some of which can evolve into novel genes or become essential for helitron transposition. We conducted a molecular analysis of the suborder Notothenioidei, a group of Perciformes that currently dominate the Antarctic waters by virtue of their remarkable cold-adaptation ability. A novel helitron from the genome of the icefish species Chionodraco hamatus, belonging to the Channichthyidae, the most derived Notothenioids family, was isolated, characterized and designated as HeliNoto (8.9. kb). Its ORF was compared to homologous sequences from different species in a comprehensive phylogenetic analysis. For the first time the putative functional domains of a helitron were subjected to a well accurate structural analysis including chromosomal localization. Finally, the distribution of HeliNoto among Notothenioids was investigated. © 2011 Elsevier Inc.

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