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Accueil > Publications > Recherche par années > Années 2010 > 2015

2015

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A mechanically interlocked molecular system programmed for the delivery of an anticancer drug

The development of mechanically interlocked molecular systems programmed to operate autonomously in biological environments is an emerging field of research with potential medicinal applications. Within this framework, functional rotaxane- and pseudorotaxane-based architectures are starting to attract interest for the delivery of anticancer drugs, with the ultimate goal to improve the efficiency of cancer chemotherapy. Here, we report an enzyme-sensitive [2]-rotaxane designed to release a potent anticancer drug within tumor cells. The molecular device includes a protective ring that prevents the premature liberation of the drug in plasma. However, once located inside cancer cells the [2]-rotaxane leads to the release of the drug through the controlled disassembly of the mechanically interlocked components, in response to a determined sequence of two distinct enzymatic activations. Furthermore, in vitro biological evaluations reveal that this biocompatible functional system exhibits a noticeable level of selectivity for cancer cells overexpressing [small beta]-galactosidase.

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A Pyridine-Based Ligand with Two Hydrazine Functions for Lanthanide Chelation : Remarkable Kinetic Inertness for a Linear, Bishydrated Complex

To study the influence of hydrazine functions in the ligand skeleton, we designed the heptadentate HYD ligand (2,2’,2″,2‴-(2,2’-(pyridine-2,6-diyl)bis(2-methylhydrazine-2,1,1-triyl)) tetraacetic acid) and compared the thermodynamic, kinetic, and relaxation properties of its Ln(3+) complexes to those of the parent pyridine (Py) analogues without hydrazine (Py = 2,6-pyridinebis(methanamine)-N,N,N’,N’-tetraacetic acid). The protonation constants of HYD were determined by pH-potentiometric measurements, and assigned by a combination of UV-visible and NMR spectroscopies. The protonation sequence is rather unusual and illustrates that small structural changes can strongly influence ligand basicity. The first protonation step occurs on the pyridine nitrogen in the basic region, followed by two hydrazine nitrogens and the carboxylate groups at acidic pH. Contrary to Py, HYD self-aggregates through a pH-dependent process (from pH ca. 4). Thermodynamic stability constants have been obtained by pH-potentiometry and UV-visible spectrophotometry for various Ln(3+) and physiological cations (Zn(2+), Ca(2+), Cu(2+)). LnHYD stability constants show the same trend as those of LnDTPA complexes along the Ln(3+) series, with log K = 18.33 for Gd(3+), comparable to the Py analogue. CuHYD has a particularly high stability (log K > 19) preventing its determination from pH-potentiometric measurements. The stability constant of CuPy was also revisited and found to be underestimated in previous studies, highlighting that UV-visible spectrophotometry is often indispensable to obtain reliable stability constants for Cu(2+) chelates. The dissociation of GdL, assessed by studying the Cu(2+)-exchange reaction, occurs mainly via an acid-catalyzed process, with limited contribution from direct Cu(2+) attack. The kinetic inertness of GdHYD is remarkable for a linear bishydrated chelate ; the 25-fold increase in the dissociation half-life with respect to the monohydrated commercial contrast agent GdDTPA (t1/2 = 5298 h for GdHYD vs 202 h for GdDTPA) is related to the rigidity of the HYD ligand due to the pyridine and methylated hydrazine functions of the backbone. A combined analysis of variable-temperature (17)O NMR and NMRD data on GdHYD yielded the microscopic parameters influencing relaxation properties. The high relaxivity (r1 = 7.7 mM(-1) s(-1) at 20 MHz, 25 °C) results from the bishydrated character of the complex combined with an optimized water exchange rate (kex(298) = 7.8 × 10(6) s(-1)). The two inner-sphere water molecules are not replaced through interaction with biological cations such as carbonate, citrate, and phosphate as monitored by (1)H relaxivity and luminescence lifetime measurements.

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ActivePapers : a platform for publishing and archiving computer-aided research [v2 ; ref status : approved 1, approved with reservations 1]

The lack of replicability and reproducibility of scientific studies based on computational methods has lead to serious mistakes in published scientific findings, some of which have been discovered and publicized recently. Many strategies are currently pursued to improve the situation. This article reports the first conclusions from the ActivePapers project, whose goal is the development and application of a computational platform that allows the publication of computational research in a form that enables installation-free deployment, encourages reuse, and permits the full integration of datasets and software into the scientific record. The main finding is that these goals can be achieved with existing technology, but that there is no straightforward way to adapt legacy software to such a framework.

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Adaptation of Extremophilic Proteins with Temperature and Pressure : Evidence from Initiation Factor 6

In this work, we study dynamical properties of an extremophilic protein, Initiation Factor 6 (IF6), produced by the archeabacterium Methanocaldococcus jannascii, which thrives close to deep-sea hydrothermal vents where temperatures reach 80 °C and the pressure is up to 750 bar. Molecular dynamics simulations (MD) and quasi-elastic neutron scattering (QENS) measurements give new insights into the dynamical properties of this protein with respect to its eukaryotic and mesophilic homologue. Results obtained by MD are supported by QENS data and are interpreted within the framework of a fractional Brownian dynamics model for the characterization of protein relaxation dynamics. IF6 from M. jannaschii at high temperature and pressure shares similar flexibility with its eukaryotic homologue from S. cerevisieae under ambient conditions. This work shows for the first time, to our knowledge, that the very common pattern of corresponding states for thermophilic protein adaptation can be extended to thermo-barophilic proteins. A detailed analysis of dynamic properties and of local structural fluctuations reveals a complex pattern for ?corresponding ? structural flexibilities. In particular, in the case of IF6, the latter seems to be strongly related to the entropic contribution given by an additional, C-terminal, 20 amino-acid tail which is evolutionary conserved in all mesophilic IF6s.

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Aerial parts of Callitris species as a rich source of deoxypodophyllotoxin

Podophyllotoxin is a naturally occurring plant lignan with potent anticancer applications. Its supply from Podophyllum hexandrum, its current natural source, is becoming ever scarcer and alternative sources are required. Deoxypodophyllotoxin, one precursor of podophyllotoxin, could be an interesting commercial alternative. In such a context, Callitris species could represent an attractive source of this compound. However, to date, only two Callitris species have been analyzed for their content in lignans. In this work, we were able to detect high amounts of deoxypodophyllotoxin in leaves of C. endlicheri, C. rhomboidea, C. preissii and C. drummondii. The highest content (5.8 mg/g DW) was measured in young leaves of C endlicheri. Moreover, important variation was observed among the four species and the different tested organs but no significant variation over the two different years studied. Regarding our results, aerial parts of Callitris species should be considered as a promising raw source for the large scale production of deoxypodophyllotoxin. (C) 2014 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

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Archean (3.33 Ga) microbe-sediment systems were diverse and flourished in a hydrothermal context

Interacting, diverse microbe-sediment systems exist in natural environments today but have not yet been recognized in the oldest records of life on Earth (older than 3.3 Ga) because of lack of distinctive biomarker molecules and patchy preservation of microbial paleocommunities. In an in-situ outcrop- to microbial-scale study, we have differentiated probable phototrophic, chemolithotrophic, and chemo-organotrophic fossil microbial signatures in a nearshore volcanogenic sedimentary setting in 3.33 Ga rocks of the Josefsdal Chert, Barberton greenstone belt, South Africa, while demonstrating the importance of contemporaneous hydrothermal activity. Hydrothermal fluids, as a nutrient source, strongly controlled the development and distribution of the microbial communities and, as a silicifying agent, contributed to their rapid fossilization. We thus show that intricate microbe-sediment systems are deep-rooted in time and that at least some early life may indeed have been thermophilic.

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ATP-dependent motor activity of the transcription termination factor Rho from Mycobacterium tuberculosis

The bacterial transcription termination factor Rho—a ring-shaped molecular motor displaying directional, ATP-dependent RNA helicase/translocase activity—is an interesting therapeutic target. Recently, Rho from Mycobacterium tuberculosis (MtbRho) has been proposed to operate by a mechanism uncoupled from molecular motor action, suggesting that the manner used by Rho to dissociate transcriptional complexes is not conserved throughout the bacterial kingdom. Here, however, we demonstrate that MtbRho is a bona fide molecular motor and directional helicase which requires a catalytic site competent for ATP hydrolysis to disrupt RNA duplexes or transcription elongation complexes. Moreover, we show that idiosyncratic features of the MtbRho enzyme are conferred by a large, hydrophilic insertion in its N-terminal ‘RNA binding’ domain and by a non-canonical R-loop residue in its C-terminal ‘motor’ domain. We also show that the ‘motor’ domain of MtbRho has a low apparent affinity for the Rho inhibitor bicyclomycin, thereby contributing to explain why M. tuberculosis is resistant to this drug. Overall, our findings support that, in spite of adjustments of the Rho motor to specific traits of its hosting bacterium, the basic principles of Rho action are conserved across species and could thus constitute pertinent screening criteria in high-throughput searches of new Rho inhibitors.

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Backbone assignment of the three dimers of HU from Escherichia coli at 293 K : EcHUα2, EcHUβ2 and EcHUαβ

HU is one of the major nucleoid-associated proteins involved in bacterial chromosome structure and in all DNA-dependent cellular activities. Similarly to eukaryotic histones, this small dimeric basic protein wraps DNA in a non-sequence specific manner, promoting DNA super-structures. In most bacteria, HU is a homodimeric protein encoded by a single gene. However, in enterobacteria such as Escherichia coli, the presence of two genes coding for two peptidic chains, HUα and HUβ, lead to the coexistence of three forms : two homodimers EcHUα2 and EcHUβ2, as well as a heterodimer EcHUαβ. Genetic and biochemical investigation suggest that each EcHU dimer plays a specific physiological role in bacteria. Their relative abundance depends on the environmental conditions and is driven by an essential, yet unknown, fast outstanding chain-exchange mechanism at physiological temperature. Our goal is to understand this fundamental mechanism from a structural and kinetics standpoint using NMR. For this purpose, the first steps are the assignment of each dimer in their native and intermediate states. Here, we report the backbone assignment of each HU dimers from E. coli at 293 K in their native state.

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Bioreducible poly(2-ethyl-2-oxazoline)-PLA-PEI-SS triblock copolymer micelles for co-delivery of DNA minicircles and Doxorubicin

The co-delivery of minicircle DNA (mcDNA) and small anti-cancer drugs via stimuli-sensitive nanocarriers is a promising approach for combinatorial cancer therapy. However, the simultaneous loading of drugs and DNA in nanosized delivery systems is remarkably challenging. In this study we describe the synthesis of triblock copolymer micelles based on poly(2-ethyl-2-oxazoline)-poly(L-lactide) grafted with bioreducible polyethylenimine (PEOz-PLA-g-PEI-SS) for co-delivery of supercoiled (sc) mcDNA vectors and Doxorubicin (Dox). These amphiphilic carriers take advantage of non-fouling oxazolines to confer biological stability, of PLA to provide a hydrophobic core for drug encapsulation and of bioreducible PEI-SS to provide mcDNA complexation and an on-demand stimuli-responsive release. The obtained results show that mcDNA-loaded micelleplexes penetrate into in vitro tumor spheroid models with specific kinetics and exhibit a higher gene expression when compared to non-bioreducible nanocarriers. Moreover, in vivo bioluminescence imaging showed that gene expression is detected up to 8days following mcDNA-micelles intratumoral administration. Furthermore, drug-gene co-delivery in PEOz-PLA-g-PEI-SS carriers was verified by successful encapsulation of both Dox and mcDNA with high efficacy. Moreover, dual-loaded micelleplexes presented significant uptake and a cytotoxic effect in 2D cultures of cancer cells. The co-delivery of mcDNA-Dox to B16F10-Luciferase tumor bearing mice resulted in a reduction in tumor volume and cancer cells viability. Overall, such findings indicate that bioreducible triblock micelles are efficient for focal delivery in vivo and have potential for future application in combinatorial DNA-drug therapy.

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Biosignatures on Mars : What, Where, and How ? Implications for the Search for Martian Life

The search for traces of life is one of the principal objectives of Mars exploration. Central to this objective is the concept of habitability, the set of conditions that allows the appearance of life and successful establishment of microorganisms in any one location. While environmental conditions may have been conducive to the appearance of life early in martian history, habitable conditions were always heterogeneous on a spatial scale and in a geological time frame. This "punctuated" scenario of habitability would have had important consequences for the evolution of martian life, as well as for the presence and preservation of traces of life at a specific landing site. We hypothesize that, given the lack of long-term, continuous habitability, if martian life developed, it was (and may still be) chemotrophic and anaerobic. Obtaining nutrition from the same kinds of sources as early terrestrial chemotrophic life and living in the same kinds of environments, the fossilized traces of the latter serve as useful proxies for understanding the potential distribution of martian chemotrophs and their fossilized traces. Thus, comparison with analog, anaerobic, volcanic terrestrial environments (Early Archean >3.5-3.33 Ga) shows that the fossil remains of chemotrophs in such environments were common, although sparsely distributed, except in the vicinity of hydrothermal activity where nutrients were readily available. Moreover, the traces of these kinds of microorganisms can be well preserved, provided that they are rapidly mineralized and that the sediments in which they occur are rapidly cemented. We evaluate the biogenicity of these signatures by comparing them to possible abiotic features. Finally, we discuss the implications of different scenarios for life on Mars for detection by in situ exploration, ranging from its non-appearance, through preserved traces of life, to the presence of living microorganisms. KEY WORDS : Mars-Early Earth-Anaerobic chemotrophs-Biosignatures-Astrobiology missions to Mars.

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