28 research outputs found

    Facile cellulase immobilisation on bioinspired silica

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    Cellulases are enzymes with great potential for converting biomass to biofuels for sustainable energy. However, their commercial use is limited by their costs and low reusability. Therefore, the scientific and industrial sectors are focusing on finding better strategies to reuse enzymes and improve their performance. In this work, cellulase from Aspergillus niger was immobilised through in situ entrapment and adsorption on bio-inspired silica (BIS) supports. To the best of our knowledge, this green effect strategy has never been applied for cellulase into BIS. In situ entrapment was performed during support synthesis, applying a one-pot approach at mild conditions (room temperature, pH 7, and water solvent), while adsorption was performed after support formation. The loading efficiency was investigated on different immobilisation systems by Bradford assay and FTIR. Bovine serum albumin (BSA) was chosen as a control to optimize cellulase loading. The residual activity of cellulase was analysed by the dinitro salicylic acid (DNS) method. Activity of 90% was observed for the entrapped enzyme, while activity of ~55% was observed for the adsorbed enzyme. Moreover, the supported enzyme systems were recycled five times to evaluate their reuse potential. The thermal and pH stability tests suggested that both entrapment and adsorption strategies can increase enzyme activity. The results highlight that the entrapment in BIS is a potentially useful strategy to easily immobilise enzymes, while preserving their stability and recycle potential

    Early menopause is associated with lack of response to antiviral therapy in women with chronic hepatitis C.

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    BACKGROUND AND AIMS: Chronic hepatitis C (CHC) and liver fibrosis progress more rapidly in men and menopausal women than in women of reproductive age. We investigated the associations among menopause, sustained virologic response (SVR), and liver damage in patients with CHC. METHODS: We performed a prospective study of 1000 consecutive, treatment-naïve patients 18 years of age and older with compensated liver disease from CHC. Liver biopsy samples were analyzed (for fibrosis, inflammation, and steatosis) before patients received standard antiviral therapy. From women (n = 442), we collected data on the presence, type, and timing of menopause; associated hormone and metabolic features; serum levels of interleukin-6; and hepatic tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-α. RESULTS: Postmenopausal women achieved SVRs less frequently than women of reproductive age (46.0% vs 67.5%; P < .0001) but as frequently as men (51.1%; P = .283). By multivariate regression analysis, independent significant predictors for women to not achieve an SVR were early menopause (odds ratio [OR], 8.055; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.834-25.350), levels of γ-glutamyl transpeptidase (OR, 2.165; 95% CI, 1.364-3.436), infection with hepatitis C virus genotype 1 or 4 (OR, 3.861; 95% CI, 2.433-6.134), and cholesterol levels (OR, 0.985; 95% CI, 0.971-0.998). Early menopause was the only independent factor that predicted lack of an SVR among women with genotype 1 hepatitis C virus infection (OR, 3.933; 95% CI, 1.274-12.142). Baseline levels of liver inflammation, fibrosis, steatosis, serum interleukin-6 (P = .04), and hepatic TNF-α (P = .007) were significantly higher among postmenopausal women than women of reproductive age. CONCLUSIONS: Among women with CHC, early menopause was associated with a low likelihood of SVR, probably because of inflammatory factors that change at menopause

    Profiling of Flavonol Derivatives for the Development of Antitrypanosomatidic Drugs

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    Flavonoids represent a potential source of new antitrypanosomatidic leads. Starting from a library of natural products, we combined target-based screening on pteridine reductase 1 with phenotypic screening on Trypanosoma brucei for hit identification. Flavonols were identified as hits, and a library of 16 derivatives was synthesized. Twelve compounds showed EC50 values against T. brucei below 10 \u3bcM. Four X-ray crystal structures and docking studies explained the observed structure-activity relationships. Compound 2 (3,6-dihydroxy-2-(3-hydroxyphenyl)-4H-chromen-4-one) was selected for pharmacokinetic studies. Encapsulation of compound 2 in PLGA nanoparticles or cyclodextrins resulted in lower in vitro toxicity when compared to the free compound. Combination studies with methotrexate revealed that compound 13 (3-hydroxy-6-methoxy-2-(4-methoxyphenyl)-4H-chromen-4-one) has the highest synergistic effect at concentration of 1.3 \u3bcM, 11.7-fold dose reduction index and no toxicity toward host cells. Our results provide the basis for further chemical modifications aimed at identifying novel antitrypanosomatidic agents showing higher potency toward PTR1 and increased metabolic stability

    Facile Cellulase Immobilisation on Bioinspired Silica

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    Cellulases are enzymes with great potential for converting biomass to biofuels for sustainable energy. However, their commercial use is limited by their costs and low reusability. Therefore, the scientific and industrial sectors are focusing on finding better strategies to reuse enzymes and improve their performance. In this work, cellulase from Aspergillus niger was immobilised through in situ entrapment and adsorption on bio-inspired silica (BIS) supports. To the best of our knowledge, this green effect strategy has never been applied for cellulase into BIS. In situ entrapment was performed during support synthesis, applying a one-pot approach at mild conditions (room temperature, pH 7, and water solvent), while adsorption was performed after support formation. The loading efficiency was investigated on different immobilisation systems by Bradford assay and FTIR. Bovine serum albumin (BSA) was chosen as a control to optimize cellulase loading. The residual activity of cellulase was analysed by the dinitro salicylic acid (DNS) method. Activity of 90% was observed for the entrapped enzyme, while activity of ~55% was observed for the adsorbed enzyme. Moreover, the supported enzyme systems were recycled five times to evaluate their reuse potential. The thermal and pH stability tests suggested that both entrapment and adsorption strategies can increase enzyme activity. The results highlight that the entrapment in BIS is a potentially useful strategy to easily immobilise enzymes, while preserving their stability and recycle potential

    Cation and peptide binding properties of CML7, a calmodulin-like protein from Arabidopsis thaliana

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    Plants contain a large family of so-called calmodulin-like proteins (CMLs) which differ from canonical calmodulin in that they show greater variability in sequence, length, and number of EF-hand domains. The presence of this extended CML family has raised questions regarding the role of these proteins: are they functionally redundant or do they play specific functions in physiological plant processes? To answer these questions, comprehensive biochemical and structural information on CML proteins is fundamental. Among the 50 CMLs from Arabidopsis thaliana, herein we described the ability of CML7 to bind metal ions focusing on the Ca2+ and Mg2+ sensing properties, as well as on metal-induced conformational changes. Circular dichroism and nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) studies indicated that both Ca2+ and Mg2+ stabilize CML7, as reflected in conformational rearrangements in secondary and tertiary structure and in increases in thermal stability of the protein. However, the conformational changes that binding induces differ between the two metal ions, and only Ca2+ binding controls a structural transition that leads to hydrophobic exposure, as suggested by 8-anilino-1-naphthalenesulfonic acid fluorescence. Isothermal titration calorimetry data coupled with NMR experiments revealed the presence of two high affinity Ca2+-binding sites in the C-lobe of CML7 and two weaker sites in the N-lobe. The paired nature of these CML7 EF-hands enables them to bind Ca2+ with positive cooperativity within each globular domain. Our results clearly place CML7 in the category of Ca2+ sensors. Along with this, the protein can bind to a model target peptide (melittin) in a Ca2+-dependent manner

    HEPATOCELLULAR-CARCINOMA - RISK-FACTORS OTHER THAN HBV

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    The putative risk factors for hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) are several, even in countries endemic for hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection. Cirrhosis characterizes more than 90% of HCC cases. The phases of inflammation, necrosis and regeneration, present for long periods in cirrhosis, might be most relevant in hepatocarcinogenesis. It is not clear what role is played by sex hormones while alcohol probably has a promoter role. Aflatoxins are known carcinogenins in the experimental animal: however it is difficult to evaluate the impact in human carcinogenesis due to the lack of reliable methods of measuring aflatoxin exposure in population studies. In conclusion, the aetiology of HCC is multifactorial and the main risk factor resides in the presence of underlying chronic liver disease

    Hepatitis C virus infection, HBsAg carrier state and hepatocellular carcinoma: relative risk and population attributable risk from a case-control study in Italy.

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    In 1990, a case-control study was conducted in Italy to investigate the possible association between HCV infection and hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). Serum samples from 65 subjects with newly diagnosed hepatocellular carcinoma and 99 hospital control subjects were tested for the presence of anti-HCV by second-generation ELISA test; positive sera were assayed by RIBA anti-HCV second-generation test. In addition, samples were tested for hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg), antibodies to the hepatitis B core antigen (anti-HBc), and antibodies to HBsAg (anti-HBs). The presence of HCV and/or HBsAg serologic markers was significantly associated with hepatocellular carcinoma risk: the relative risk (RR) of HCC was 21.3 (95% CI=8.8-51.5) for anti-HCV positivity in the absence of HBsAg; the relative risk of HCC was 13.3 (95% CI=5.5-32.2) for the presence of HBsAg in the absence of anti-HCV. A higher risk (77.0) was observed when both markers were present. These findings indicate that HCV and HBsAg are independent risk factors for HCC. The results of multivariate analysis showed that the adjusted RR linking anti-HCV and HCC was 26.9 (95% CI=9.9-72.5), the adjusted RR linking HBsAg and HCC was 11.4 (95% CI=3.1-41.4), whereas no association (RR 1.5; 95% CI=0.6-3.6) was found to link HCC with anti-HBc and/or anti-HBs positivity. Through the computation of population attributable risk we estimate that 25% of HCC cases occurring in Italy could be attributed to anti-HCV positivity alone and 20% to HBsAg carrier state alone. These data provide evidence that HCV infection plays a major role in the development of HCC in Italy
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