Accueil > Publications > Recherche par années > Années 2010 > 2018


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A Hydrothermal-Sedimentary Context for the Origin of Life.

Critical to the origin of life are the ingredients of life, of course, but also the physical and chemical conditions in which prebiotic chemical reactions can take place. These factors place constraints on the types of Hadean environment in which life could have emerged. Many locations, ranging from hydrothermal vents and pumice rafts, through volcanic-hosted splash pools to continental springs and rivers, have been proposed for the emergence of life on Earth, each with respective advantages and certain disadvantages. However, there is another, hitherto unrecognized environment that, on the Hadean Earth (4.5–4.0 Ga), would have been more important than any other in terms of spatial and temporal scale : the sedimentary layer between oceanic crust and seawater. Using as an example sediments from the 3.5–3.33 Ga Barberton Greenstone Belt, South Africa, analogous at least on a local scale to those of the Hadean eon, we document constant permeation of the porous, carbonaceous, and reactive sedimentary layer by hydrothermal fluids emanating from the crust. This partially UV-protected, subaqueous sedimentary environment, characterized by physical and chemical gradients, represented a widespread system of miniature chemical reactors in which the production and complexification of prebiotic molecules could have led to the origin of life. Key Words : Origin of life-Hadean environment-Mineral surface reactions-Hydrothermal fluids-Archean volcanic sediments.

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An update of the Worldwide Integrated Assessment (WIA) on systemic insecticides. Part 3 : alternatives to systemic insecticides.

Over-reliance on pesticides for pest control is inflicting serious damage to the environmental services that underpin agricultural productivity. The widespread use of systemic insecticides, neonicotinoids, and the phenylpyrazole fipronil in particular is assessed here in terms of their actual use in pest management, effects on crop yields, and the development of pest resistance to these compounds in many crops after two decades of usage. Resistance can only be overcome in the longterm by implementing methods that are not exclusively based on synthetic pesticides. A diverse range of pest management tactics is already available, all of which can achieve efficient pest control below the economic injury level while maintaining the productivity of the crops. A novel insurance method against crop failure is shown here as an example of alternative methods that can protect farmer’s crops and their livelihoods without having to use insecticides. Finally, some concluding remarks about the need for a new framework for a truly sustainable agriculture that relies mainly on natural ecosystem services instead of chemicals are included ; this reinforcing the previous WIA conclusions.

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Beyond Chloride Brines : Variable Metabolomic Responses in the Anaerobic Organism Yersinia intermedia MASE-LG-1 to NaCl and MgSO4 at Identical Water Activity.

Growth in sodium chloride (NaCl) is known to induce stress in non-halophilic microorganisms leading to effects on the microbial metabolism and cell structure. Microorganisms have evolved a number of adaptations, both structural and metabolic, to counteract osmotic stress. These strategies are well-understood for organisms in NaCl-rich brines such as the accumulation of certain organic solutes (known as either compatible solutes or osmolytes). Less well studied are responses to ionic environments such as sulfate-rich brines which are prevalent on Earth but can also be found on Mars. In this paper, we investigated the global metabolic response of the anaerobic bacterium Yersinia intermedia MASE-LG-1 to osmotic salt stress induced by either magnesium sulfate (MgSO4) or NaCl at the same water activity (0.975). Using a non-targeted mass spectrometry approach, the intensity of hundreds of metabolites was measured. The compatible solutes L-asparagine and sucrose were found to be increased in both MgSO4 and NaCl compared to the control sample, suggesting a similar osmotic response to different ionic environments. We were able to demonstrate that Yersinia intermedia MASE-LG-1 accumulated a range of other compatible solutes. However, we also found the global metabolic responses, especially with regard to amino acid metabolism and carbohydrate metabolism, to be salt-specific, thus, suggesting ion-specific regulation of specific metabolic pathways.

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Chemical shift assignments of the partially deuterated Fyn SH2-SH3 domain.

Src Homology 2 and 3 (SH2 and SH3) are two key protein interaction modules involved in regulating the activity of many proteins such as tyrosine kinases and phosphatases by respective recognition of phosphotyrosine and proline-rich regions. In the Src family kinases, the inactive state of the protein is the direct result of the interaction of the SH2 and the SH3 domain with intra-molecular regions, leading to a closed structure incompetent with substrate modification. Here, we report the (1)H, (15)N and (13)C backbone- and side-chain chemical shift assignments of the partially deuterated Fyn SH3-SH2 domain and structural differences between tandem and single domains.

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Cooperative loading of multisite receptors with lanthanide containers : an approach for organized luminescent metallopolymers.

Metal-containing (bio) organic polymers are materials of continuously increasing importance for applications in energy storage and conversion, drug delivery, shape-memory items, supported catalysts, organic conductors and smart photonic devices. The embodiment of luminescent components provides a revolution in lighting and signaling with the ever-increasing development of polymeric light-emitting devices. Despite the unique properties expected from the introduction of optically and magnetically active lanthanides into organic polymers, the deficient control of the metal loading currently limits their design to empirical and poorly reproducible materials. We show here that the synthetic efforts required for producing soluble multi-site host systems Lk are largely overcome by the virtue of reversible thermodynamics for mastering the metal loading with the help of only two parameters : (1) the affinity of the luminescent lanthanide container for a single binding site and (2) the cooperative effect which modulates the successive fixation of metallic units to adjacent sites. When unsymmetrical perfluorobenzene-trifluoroacetylacetonate co-ligands (pbta(-)) are selected for balancing the charge of the trivalent lanthanide cations, Ln(3+), in six-coordinate [Ln(pbta)(3)] containers, the explored anti-cooperative complexation processes induce nearest-neighbor intermetallic interactions triangle E-Lk(Ln(pbta)3, Ln(pbta)3) twice as large as thermal energy at room temperature (RT = 2.5 kJ mol(-1)). These values have no precedent when using standard symmetrical containers and they pave the way for programming metal alternation in luminescent lanthanidopolymers.

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Enhanced Molecular Dynamics Methods Applied to Drug Design Projects.

Nobel Laureate Richard P. Feynman stated : "[...] everything that living things do can be understood in terms of jiggling and wiggling of atoms [...]." The importance of computer simulations of macromolecules, which use classical mechanics principles to describe atom behavior, is widely acknowledged and nowadays, they are applied in many fields such as material sciences and drug discovery. With the increase of computing power, molecular dynamics simulations can be applied to understand biological mechanisms at realistic timescales. In this chapter, we share our computational experience providing a global view of two of the widely used enhanced molecular dynamics methods to study protein structure and dynamics through the description of their characteristics, limits and we provide some examples of their applications in drug design. We also discuss the appropriate choice of software and hardware. In a detailed practical procedure, we describe how to set up, run, and analyze two main molecular dynamics methods, the umbrella sampling (US) and the accelerated molecular dynamics (aMD) methods.

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Evaluating the Effect of Small RNAs and Associated Chaperones on Rho-Dependent Termination of Transcription In Vitro.

Besides their well-known posttranscriptional effects on mRNA translation and decay, sRNAs and associated RNA chaperones (e.g., Hfq, CsrA) sometimes regulate gene expression at the transcriptional level. In this case, the sRNA-dependent machinery modulates the activity of the transcription termination factor Rho, a ring-shaped RNA translocase/helicase that dissociates transcription elongation complexes at specific loci of the bacterial genome. Here, we describe biochemical assays to detect Rho-dependent termination signals in genomic regions of interest and to assess the effects of sRNAs and/or associated RNA chaperones on such signals.

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Functionalised Carbon Nanotubes Enhance Brain Delivery of Amyloid-Targeting Pittsburgh Compound B (PiB)-Derived Ligands.

Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is a neurodegenerative disorder characterised by brain accumulation of toxic protein aggregates, including extracellular amyloid beta (Abeta) plaques, inflammation, neuronal death and progressive cognitive dysfunction. Current diagnostic modalities, based on cognitive tests, fail to detect early AD onset, thus emphasising the need to develop improved methods for pre-symptomatic disease detection. Building on the properties of the Pittsburgh Compound B (PiB), an Abeta-binding molecule suitable to use as positron emission tomography (PET) imaging agent, and aiming at using a more clinically available modality (like magnetic ressonance imaging, MRI), PiB derivatives have been conjugated to the macrocyclic chelator 1,4,7-tris(carboxymethyl)-1,4,7,10-tetraazacyclododecane (DO3A) monoamide. However, these derivatives do not readily cross the highly selective blood-brain barrier (BBB). Taking advantage of the capacity of functionalised carbon nanotubes (f-CNTs) to cross biological barriers, including the BBB, this manuscript reports on the conjugation of two PiB derivative Gd(3+) complexes - Gd(L2) and Gd(L3) - to multi-walled f-CNTs (f-MWNTs) and assessment of their in vivo biodistribution and brain uptake. It is shown that Gd(L2) and Gd(L3) can be efficiently loaded onto different f-MWNTs, with significant improvement in brain accumulation of the conjugates compared to the free metal complexes. Overall, this study demonstrates that f-MWNTs have potential to be used as carriers in theranostic applications involving brain delivery of BBB impermeable compounds.

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Gestational and lactational exposure to dichlorinated bisphenol A induces early alterations of hepatic lipid composition in mice.

OBJECTIVE : Using non-invasive magnetic resonance (MR) techniques and a histological approach, we assessed the outcomes of perinatal exposure at a low dose of 3,3’-DCBPA (2-chloro-4-[1-(3-chloro-4-hydroxyphenyl)-1-methylethyl]phenol) and/or 3,5-DCBPA (2,6-dichloro-4-[1-(4-hydroxyphenyl)-1-methylethyl]phenol) on mice livers.

MATERIALS AND METHODS : Fertilized female Swiss mice were injected intraperitoneally during gestation and lactation with either vehicle control, 20 mug/kg/day of BPA, 3,5-DCBPA, 3,3’-DCBPA or a mixture (mix-DCBPA). Complementary methods were used to evaluate, in male and female pups, (1) liver structure by texture analysis of images obtained through MR imaging (MRI) and histology, (2) hepatic lipid composition through in vivo (1)H MR spectroscopy ((1)H MRS).

RESULTS : Principal component analysis of texture parameters showed no structural modification of the liver with BPA and DCBPA treatments. Accordingly, no hepatic microvesicular steatosis was observed through hematoxylin-eosin staining. Compared to control, MRS revealed no difference in lipid composition for BPA, 3,5-DCBPA or 3,3’-DCBPA groups. However, MRS detected a significant increase in the mix-DCBPA groups for the saturated component of fatty acids (FA), total unsaturated FA bond index and polyunsaturated FA bond index.

CONCLUSION : Prior to any structural changes, polyunsaturated fatty acids significantly increased in young male and female mice exposed perinatally at a low dose to a mixture of dichlorinated BPA.

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