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Berterame N.M.,University of Milan Bicocca | Porro D.,University of Milan Bicocca | Ami D.,University of Milan Bicocca | Ami D.,Consorzio Nazionale Interuniversitario per le Science fisiche della Materia lan Bicocca | Branduardi P.,University of Milan Bicocca
Microbial Cell Factories

Background: Lactic acid is a versatile chemical platform with many different industrial applications. Yeasts have been demonstrated as attractive alternative to natural lactic acid producers since they can grow at low pH, allowing the direct purification of the product in the desired acidic form. However, when very high concentrations of organic acids are reached, the major limitation for a viable production is the toxic effect of the product. The accumulation in the cytosol of H+ and of the weak organic counter-anions triggers a cellular reprogramming. Here, the effects of lactic acid exposure on Saccharomyces cerevisiae have been evaluated by Fourier transform infrared (FTIR) microspectroscopy. In addition to -omic techniques, describing these responses in terms of systems and networks, FTIR microspectroscopy allows a rapid acquisition of the cellular biochemical fingerprint, providing information on the major classes of macromolecules. Results: FTIR analyses on Saccharomyces cerevisiae cells under lactic acid stress at low pH revealed some still uncharacterized traits: (1) a direct correlation between lactic acid exposure and a rearrangement in lipid hydrocarbon tails, together with a decrease in the signals of phosphatidylcholine (PC), one of the main components of cell membrane; (2) a rearrangement in the cell wall carbohydrates, including glucans and mannans (3) a significant yet transient protein aggregation, possibly responsible for the observed transient decrease of the growth rate. When repeated on the isogenic strain deleted in OPI1, encoding for a transcriptional repressor of genes involved in PC biosynthesis, FTIR analysis revealed that not only the PC levels were affected but also the cell membrane/wall composition and the accumulation of protein aggregates, resulting in higher growth rate in the presence of the stressing agent. Conclusions: This work revealed novel effects evoked by lactic acid on cell membrane/wall composition and protein aggregation in S. cerevisiae cells. We consequently demonstrated that the targeted deletion of OPI1 resulted in improved lactic acid tolerance. Considering that stress response involves many and different cellular networks and regulations, most of which are still not implemented in modelling, these findings constitute valuable issues for interpreting cellular rewiring and for tailoring ameliorated cell factories for lactic acid production. © 2016 Berterame et al. Source

Ami D.,University of Milan Bicocca | Ami D.,Consorzio Nazionale Interuniversitario per le Science fisiche della Materia lan Bicocca | Posteri R.,University of Milan Bicocca | Mereghetti P.,Italian Institute of Technology | And 4 more authors.
Biotechnology for Biofuels

Background: Oleaginous microorganisms, such as different yeast and algal species, can represent a sustainable alternative to plant oil for the production of biodiesel. They can accumulate fatty acids (FA) up to 70% of their dry weight with a predominance of (mono)unsaturated species, similarly to what plants do, but differently from animals. In addition, their growth is not in competition either with food, feed crops, or with agricultural land. Despite these advantages, the exploitation of the single cell oil system is still at an early developmental stage. Cultivation mode and conditions, as well as lipid extraction technologies, represent the main limitations. The monitoring of lipid accumulation in oleaginous microorganisms is consequently crucial to develop and validate new approaches, but at present the majority of the available techniques is time consuming, invasive and, when relying on lipid extraction, can be affected by FA degradation. Results: In this work the fatty acid accumulation of the oleaginous yeasts Cryptococcus curvatus and Rhodosporidium toruloides and of the non-oleaginous yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae (as a negative control) was monitored in situ by Fourier Transform Infrared Spectroscopy (FTIR). Indeed, this spectroscopic tool can provide complementary information to those obtained by classical techniques, such as microscopy, flow cytometry and gas chromatography. As shown in this work, through the analysis of the absorption spectra of intact oleaginous microorganisms it is possible not only to monitor the progression of FA accumulation but also to identify the most represented classes of the produced lipids. Conclusions: Here we propose FTIR microspectroscopy - supported by multivariate analysis - as a fast, reliable and non invasive method to monitor and analyze FA accumulation in intact oleaginous yeasts. The results obtained by the FTIR approach were in agreement with those obtained by the other classical methods like flow cytometry and gas chromatography. Moreover, the possibility to track lipid production in real time is highly desirable to support the initial screening of strains and media as well as to optimize the scaling up experiments, which are essential for a viable and successful development of an industrial production process. © 2014 Ami et al.; licensee BioMed Central Ltd. Source

Taraballi F.,Center for Nanomedicine and Tissue Engineering | Taraballi F.,University of Milan Bicocca | Natalello A.,University of Milan Bicocca | Natalello A.,Consorzio Nazionale Interuniversitario per le Science fisiche della Materia lan Bicocca | And 9 more authors.
Frontiers in Neuroengineering

The understanding of phenomena involved in the self-assembling of bio-inspired biomaterials acting as three-dimensional scaffolds for regenerative medicine applications is a necessary step to develop effective therapies in neural tissue engineering. We investigated the self-assembled nanostructures of functionalized peptides featuring four, two or no glycine-spacers between the self-assembly sequence RADA16-I and the functional biological motif PFSSTKT. The effectiveness of their biological functionalization was assessed via in vitro experiments with neural stem cells (NSCs) and their molecular assembly was elucidated via atomic force microscopy, Raman and Fourier Transform Infrared spectroscopy. We demonstrated that glycine-spacers play a crucial role in the scaffold stability and in the exposure of the functional motifs. In particular, a glycinespacer of four residues leads to a more stable nanostructure and to an improved exposure of the functional motif. Accordingly, the longer spacer of glycines, the more effective is the functional motif in both eliciting NSCs adhesion, improving their viability and increasing their differentiation. Therefore, optimized designing strategies of functionalized biomaterials may open, in the near future, new therapies in tissue engineering and regenerative medicine. © 2010 Taraballi, Natalello, Campione, Villa, Doglia, Paleari and Gelain. Source

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