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Tornesello A.L.,CROM | Sanseverino M.,INBIOS srl | Buonaguro F.M.,Molecular Biology and Viral Oncology Unit
Molecules | Year: 2016

Formylation of amino groups is a critical reaction involved in several biological processes including post-translational modification of histones. The addition of a formyl group (CHO) to the N-terminal end of a peptide chain generates biologically active molecules. N-formyl-peptides can be produced by different methods. We performed the N-formylation of two chemotactic hexapetides, Met1-Leu2-Lys3-Leu4-Ile5-Val6 and Met1-Met2-Tyr3-Ala4-Leu5-Phe6, carrying out the reaction directly on peptidyl-resin following pre-activation of formic acid with N,N-dicyclohexylcarbodiimmide (DCC) in liquid phase. The overnight incubation at 4°C resulted in a significant increase in production yields of formylated peptides compared to the reaction performed at room temperature. The method is consistently effective, rapid, and inexpensive. Moreover, the synthetic strategy can be applied for the formylation of all primary amines at N-terminus of peptide chains or amino groups of lysine side-chains in solid phase. © 2016 by the authors; licensee MDPI.


Varrella S.,Stazione Zoologica Anton Dohrn | Romano G.,Stazione Zoologica Anton Dohrn | Costantini S.,CROM | Ruocco N.,Stazione Zoologica Anton Dohrn | And 3 more authors.
PLoS ONE | Year: 2016

Marine organisms possess a series of cellular strategies to counteract the negative effects of toxic compounds, including the massive reorganization of gene expression networks. Here we report the modulated dose-dependent response of activated genes by diatom polyunsaturated aldehydes (PUAs) in the sea urchin Paracentrotus lividus. PUAs are secondary metabolites deriving from the oxidation of fatty acids, inducing deleterious effects on the reproduction and development of planktonic and benthic organisms that feed on these unicellular algae and with anti-cancer activity. Our previous results showed that PUAs target several genes, implicated in different functional processes in this sea urchin. Using interactomic Ingenuity Pathway Analysis we now show that the genes targeted by PUAs are correlated with four HUB genes, NF-κB, p53, δ-2-catenin and HIF1A, which have not been previously reported for P. lividus. We propose a working model describing hypothetical pathways potentially involved in toxic aldehyde stress response in sea urchins. This represents the first report on gene networks affected by PUAs, opening new perspectives in understanding the cellular mechanisms underlying the response of benthic organisms to diatom exposure. © 2016 Varrella et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.


Ruocco N.,Stazione Zoologica Anton Dohrn | Ruocco N.,University of Naples Federico II | Ruocco N.,CNR Institute of Biomolecular Chemistry | Costantini S.,CROM | And 2 more authors.
Molecules | Year: 2016

Carbohydrates, also called saccharides, are molecules composed of carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen. They are the most abundant biomolecules and essential components of many natural products and have attracted the attention of researchers because of their numerous human health benefits. Among carbohydrates the polysaccharides represent some of the most abundant bioactive substances in marine organisms. In fact, many marine macro- and microorganisms are good resources of carbohydrates with diverse applications due to their biofunctional properties. By acting on cell proliferation and cycle, and by modulating different metabolic pathways, marine polysaccharides (including mainly chitin, chitosan, fucoidan, carrageenan and alginate) also have numerous pharmaceutical activities, such as antioxidative, antibacterial, antiviral, immuno-stimulatory, anticoagulant and anticancer effects. Moreover, these polysaccharides have many general beneficial effects for human health, and have therefore been developed into potential cosmeceuticals and nutraceuticals. In this review we describe current advances in the development of marine polysaccharides for nutraceutical, cosmeceutical and pharmacological applications. Research in this field is opening new doors for harnessing the potential of marine natural products. © 2016 by the authors; licensee MDPI.


Sorice A.,CROM | Guerriero E.,CROM | Volpe M.G.,CNR Institute of Food Sciences | Capone F.,CROM | And 4 more authors.
Molecules | Year: 2016

Many studies have evidenced that the phenolic components from flaxseed (FS) oil have potential health benefits. The effect of the phenolic extract from FS oil has been evaluated on two human breast cancer cell lines, MCF7 and MDA-MB231, and on the human non-cancerous breast cell line, MCF10A, by SRB assay, cellular death, cell cycle, cell signaling, lipid peroxidation and expression of some key genes. We have evidenced that the extract shows anti-proliferative activity on MCF7 cells by inducing cellular apoptosis, increase of the percentage of cells in G0/G1 phase and of lipid peroxidation, activation of the H2AX signaling pathway, and upregulation of a six gene signature. On the other hand, on the MDA-MB2131 cells we verified only an anti-proliferative activity, a weak lipid peroxidation, the activation of the PI3K signaling pathway and an up-regulation of four genes. Overall these data suggest that the extract has both cytotoxic and pro-oxidant effects only on MCF7 cells, and can act as a metabolic probe, inducing differences in the gene expression. For this purpose, we have performed an interactomic analysis, highlighting the existing associations. From this approach, we show that the phenotypic difference between the two cell lines can be explained through their differential response to the phenolic extract. © 2016 by the authors; licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.


Polo A.,The Second University of Naples | Colonna G.,The Second University of Naples | Guariniello S.,The Second University of Naples | Ciliberto G.,Direttore Scientifico | Costantini S.,CROM
Molecular BioSystems | Year: 2016

The intrinsically disordered proteins (IDPs) cannot be described by a single structural representation but, due to their high structural fluctuation, through conformational ensembles. Certainly, molecular dynamics (MD) simulations represent a useful tool to study their different conformations capturing the conformational distribution. Our group is focusing on the structural characterization of proteins belonging to the seleno-proteome due to their involvement in cancer. They present disordered domains central for their biological function, and, in particular, SELK is a single-pass transmembrane protein that resides in the endoplasmic reticulum membrane (ER) with a C-terminal domain exposed to the cytoplasm that is known to interact with different components of the endoplasmic reticulum associated to the protein degradation (ERAD) pathway. This protein is found to be up-expressed in hepatocellular carcinoma and in other cancers. In this work we performed a detailed analysis of the C-terminal domain sequence of SELK and discovered that it is characterized by many prolines, and four negatively and eleven positively charged residues, which are crucial for its biological activity. This region can be considered as a weak polyelectrolyte and, specifically, a polycation, with high disordered propensity and different phosphorylation sites dislocated along the sequence. Then, we modeled its three-dimensional structure by performing MD simulations in water at neutral pH to analyze the structural stability as well as to identify the presence of HUB residues that play a key structural role as evidenced by the residue-residue interaction network analysis. Through this approach, we demonstrate that the C-terminal domain of SELK (i) presents a poor content of regular secondary structure elements, (ii) is dynamically stabilized by a network of intra-molecular H-bonds and H-bonds with water molecules, (iii) is highly fluctuating and, therefore, can be described only through a conformational ensemble, where we evidenced a distribution of equilibrium conformers which continuously inter-change their conformations. Finally to verify the specific role played by the negative charges, we also performed MD simulations at acidic pH. Overall, all the obtained results evidenced that SELK has the dynamic structural features to be defined as a HUB protein able to interact with multiple members. Therefore, considering the possible role that this protein can have in cancer development and progression, it can represent a target for drug design studies. © The Royal Society of Chemistry 2016.

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