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Journal: International journal of molecular sciences


We report the preparation and characterization of spherical core-shell structured Fe3O4-Au magnetic nanoparticles, modified with two component self-assembled monolayers (SAMs) consisting of 3-mercaptophenylboronic acid (3-MBA) and 1-decanethiol (1-DT). The rapid and room temperature synthesis of magnetic nanoparticles was achieved using the hydroxylamine reduction of HAuCl4 on the surface of ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid (EDTA)-immobilized iron (magnetite Fe3O4) nanoparticles in the presence of an aqueous solution of hexadecyltrimetylammonium bromide (CTAB) as a dispersant. The reduction of gold on the surface of Fe3O4 nanoparticles exhibits a uniform, highly stable, and narrow particle size distribution of Fe3O4-Au nanoparticles with an average diameter of 9 ± 2 nm. The saturation magnetization value for the resulting nanoparticles was found to be 15 emu/g at 298 K. Subsequent surface modification with SAMs against glucoside moieties on the surface of bacteria provided effective magnetic separation. Comparison of the bacteria capturing efficiency, by means of different molecular recognition agents 3-MBA, 1-DT and the mixed monolayer of 3-MBA and 1-DT was presented. The best capturing efficiency of E. coli was achieved with the mixed monolayer of 3-MBA and 1-DT-modified nanoparticles. Molecular specificity and selectivity were also demonstrated by comparing the surface-enhanced Raman scattering (SERS) spectrum of E. coli-nanoparticle conjugates with bacterial growth media.

Concepts: Bacteria, Gut flora, Nanoparticle, Escherichia coli, Chemistry, Magnetism, Proteobacteria, Magnetite


Size-controlled and monodispersed silver nanoparticles were synthesized from an aqueous solution containing silver nitrate as a metal precursor, polyvinyl alcohol as a capping agent, isopropyl alcohol as hydrogen and hydroxyl radical scavengers, and deionized water as a solvent with a simple radiolytic method. The average particle size decreased with an increase in dose due to the domination of nucleation over ion association in the formation of the nanoparticles by gamma reduction. The silver nanoparticles exhibit a very sharp and strong absorption spectrum with the absorption maximum λmax blue shifting with an increased dose, owing to a decrease in particle size. The absorption spectra of silver nanoparticles of various particle sizes were also calculated using a quantum physics treatment and an agreement was obtained with the experimental absorption data. The results suggest that the absorption spectrum of silver nanoparticles possibly derived from the intra-band excitations of conduction electrons from the lowest energy state (n = 5, l = 0) to higher energy states (n ≥ 6; Δl = 0, ±1; Δs = 0, ±1), allowed by the quantum numbers principle. This demonstrates that the absorption phenomenon of metal nanoparticles based on a quantum physics description could be exploited to be added into the fundamentals of metal nanoparticles and the related fields of nanoscience and nanotechnology.

Concepts: Alcohol, Photon, Energy, Quantum mechanics, Chemistry, Atom, Nanotechnology, Atomic orbital


Many Gram-negative plant pathogenic bacteria employ a N-acylhomoserine lactone (AHL)-based quorum sensing (QS) system to regulate their virulence traits. A sustainable biocontrol strategy has been developed using quorum quenching (QQ) bacteria to interfere with QS and protect plants from pathogens. Here, the prevalence and the diversity of QQ strains inhabiting tobacco leaf surfaces were explored. A total of 1177 leaf-associated isolates were screened for their ability to disrupt AHL-mediated QS, using the biosensor Chromobacterium violaceum CV026. One hundred and sixty-eight strains (14%) are capable of interfering with AHL activity. Among these, 106 strains (63%) of the culturable quenchers can enzymatically degrade AHL molecules, while the remaining strains might use other QS inhibitors to interrupt the chemical communication. Moreover, almost 79% of the QQ strains capable of inactivating AHLs enzymatically have lactonase activity. Further phylogenetic analysis based on 16S rDNA revealed that the leaf-associated QQ bacteria can be classified as Bacillus sp., Acinetobacter sp., Lysinibacillus sp., Serratia sp., Pseudomonas sp., and Myroides sp. The naturally occurring diversity of bacterial quenchers might provide opportunities to use them as effective biocontrol reagents for suppressing plant pathogen in situ.

Concepts: Bacteria, Microbiology, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Pathogen, Cell wall, Biofilm, Quorum sensing, Pathogenic bacteria


Insulin resistance is defined as a reduced ability of insulin to stimulate glucose utilization. C57BL/6 mice fed with a high-fat diet (HFD) are a model of insulin resistance. In skeletal muscle, hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) produced by NADPH oxidase 2 (NOX2) is involved in signaling pathways triggered by insulin. We evaluated oxidative status in skeletal muscle fibers from insulin-resistant and control mice by determining H2O2 generation (HyPer probe), reduced-to-oxidized glutathione ratio and NOX2 expression. After eight weeks of HFD, insulin-dependent glucose uptake was impaired in skeletal muscle fibers when compared with control muscle fibers. Insulin-resistant mice showed increased insulin-stimulated H2O2 release and decreased reduced-to-oxidized glutathione ratio (GSH/GSSG). In addition, p47phox and gp91phox (NOX2 subunits) mRNA levels were also high (~3-fold in HFD mice compared to controls), while protein levels were 6.8- and 1.6-fold higher, respectively. Using apocynin (NOX2 inhibitor) during the HFD feeding period, the oxidative intracellular environment was diminished and skeletal muscle insulin-dependent glucose uptake restored. Our results indicate that insulin-resistant mice have increased H2O2 release upon insulin stimulation when compared with control animals, which appears to be mediated by an increase in NOX2 expression.

Concepts: Oxygen, Insulin, Glucose, Redox, Glycogen, Hydrogen peroxide, NADPH oxidase, Skeletal muscle


The influence of seven plum rootstocks (Adesoto, Monpol, Montizo, Puebla de Soto 67 AD, PM 105 AD, St. Julien GF 655/2 and Constantí 1) on individual and total sugars, as well as on antioxidant content in fruit flesh of “Catherine” peaches, was evaluated for three years. Agronomical and basic fruit quality parameters were also determined. At twelve years after budding, significant differences were found between rootstocks for the different agronomic and fruit quality traits evaluated. The Pollizo plum rootstocks Adesoto and PM 105 AD seem to induce higher sweetness to peach fruits, based on soluble solids content, individual (sucrose, fructose and sorbitol) and total sugars. A clear tendency was also observed with the rootstock Adesoto, inducing the highest content of phenolics, flavonoids, vitamin C and relative antioxidant capacity (RAC). Thus, the results of this study demonstrate the significant effect of rootstock on the sugar profile and phytochemical characteristics of peach fruits. In addition, this work shows the importance of the sugar profile, because specific sugars play an important role in peach flavour quality, as well as the studied phytochemical compounds when looking for high quality peaches with enhanced health properties.

Concepts: Nutrition, Glucose, Antioxidant, Fruit, Sugar, Fructose, Peach, Sucrose


Cranberry consumption has shown prophylactic effects against urinary tract infections (UTI), although the mechanisms involved are not completely understood. In this paper, cranberry phenolic compounds and their potential microbial-derived metabolites (such as simple phenols and benzoic, phenylacetic and phenylpropionic acids) were tested for their capacity to inhibit the adherence of uropathogenic Escherichia coli (UPEC) ATCC®53503™ to T24 epithelial bladder cells. Catechol, benzoic acid, vanillic acid, phenylacetic acid and 3,4-dihydroxyphenylacetic acid showed anti-adhesive activity against UPEC in a concentration-dependent manner from 100-500 µM, whereas procyanidin A2, widely reported as an inhibitor of UPEC adherence on uroepithelium, was only statistically significant (p < 0.05) at 500 µM (51.3% inhibition). The results proved for the first time the anti-adhesive activity of some cranberry-derived phenolic metabolites against UPEC in vitro, suggesting that their presence in the urine could reduce bacterial colonization and progression of UTI.

Concepts: Kidney, Urinary tract infection, Urine, Escherichia coli, Urinary bladder, Urinary system, Catechin, Vanillin


The shape of an animal body plan is constructed from protein components encoded by the genome. However, bioelectric networks composed of many cell types have their own intrinsic dynamics, and can drive distinct morphological outcomes during embryogenesis and regeneration. Planarian flatworms are a popular system for exploring body plan patterning due to their regenerative capacity, but despite considerable molecular information regarding stem cell differentiation and basic axial patterning, very little is known about how distinct head shapes are produced. Here, we show that after decapitation in G. dorotocephala, a transient perturbation of physiological connectivity among cells (using the gap junction blocker octanol) can result in regenerated heads with quite different shapes, stochastically matching other known species of planaria (S. mediterranea, D. japonica, and P. felina). We use morphometric analysis to quantify the ability of physiological network perturbations to induce different species-specific head shapes from the same genome. Moreover, we present a computational agent-based model of cell and physical dynamics during regeneration that quantitatively reproduces the observed shape changes. Morphological alterations induced in a genomically wild-type G. dorotocephala during regeneration include not only the shape of the head but also the morphology of the brain, the characteristic distribution of adult stem cells (neoblasts), and the bioelectric gradients of resting potential within the anterior tissues. Interestingly, the shape change is not permanent; after regeneration is complete, intact animals remodel back to G. dorotocephala-appropriate head shape within several weeks in a secondary phase of remodeling following initial complete regeneration. We present a conceptual model to guide future work to delineate the molecular mechanisms by which bioelectric networks stochastically select among a small set of discrete head morphologies. Taken together, these data and analyses shed light on important physiological modifiers of morphological information in dictating species-specific shape, and reveal them to be a novel instructive input into head patterning in regenerating planaria.

Concepts: DNA, Gene, Developmental biology, Stem cell, Cellular differentiation, Regeneration, Adult stem cell, Planarian


Despite the ever-increasing role of pesticides in modern agriculture, their deleterious effects are still underexplored. Here we examine the effect of A6, a pesticide derived from the naturally-occurring α-terthienyl, and structurally related to the endocrine disrupting pesticides anilinopyrimidines, on living zebrafish larvae. We show that both A6 and an anilinopyrimidine, cyprodinyl, decrease larval survival and affect central neurons at micromolar concentrations. Focusing on a superficial and easily observable sensory system, the lateral line system, we found that defects in axonal and sensory cell regeneration can be observed at much lower doses, in the nanomolar range. We also show that A6 accumulates preferentially in lateral line neurons and hair cells. We examined whether A6 affects the expression of putative target genes, and found that genes involved in apoptosis/cell proliferation are down-regulated, as well as genes reflecting estrogen receptor activation, consistent with previous reports that anilinopyrimidines act as endocrine disruptors. On the other hand, canonical targets of endocrine signaling are not affected, suggesting that the neurotoxic effect of A6 may be due to the binding of this compound to a recently identified, neuron-specific estrogen receptor.

Concepts: Effect, Endocrinology, Affect, Sense, Pesticide, Endocrine system, Endocrine disruptor, Neurotoxicity


Electrochemically activated solutions (ECAS) are generated by electrolysis of NaCl solutions, and demonstrate broad spectrum antimicrobial activity and high environmental compatibility. The biocidal efficacy of ECAS at the point of production is widely reported in the literature, as are its credentials as a “green biocide.” Acidic ECAS are considered most effective as biocides at the point of production and ill suited for extended storage. Acidic ECAS samples were stored at 4 °C and 20 °C in glass and polystyrene containers for 398 days, and tested for free chlorine, pH, ORP and bactericidal activity throughout. ORP and free chlorine (mg/L) in stored ECAS declined over time, declining at the fastest rate when stored at 20 °C in polystyrene and at the slowest rate when stored at 4 °C in glass. Bactericidal efficacy was also affected by storage and ECAS failed to produce a 5 log(10) reduction on five occasions when stored at 20 °C. pH remained stable throughout the storage period. This study represents the longest storage evaluation of the physiochemical parameters and bactericidal efficacy of acidic ECAS within the published literature and reveals that acidic ECAS retain useful bactericidal activity for in excess of 12 months, widening potential applications.

Concepts: Acid, Electrochemistry, Effectiveness, PH, Sodium hydroxide, Chlorine, Antimicrobial, Biocide


Biomolecular self-assembly is a fundamental process in all organisms. As primary components of the life molecular machinery, proteins have a vast array of resources available to them for self-assembly in a functional structure. Protein self-assembly, however, can also occur in an aberrant way, giving rise to non-native aggregated structures responsible for severe, progressive human diseases that have a serious social impact. Different neurodegenerative disorders, like Huntington’s, Alzheimer’s, and spongiform encephalopathy diseases, have in common the presence of insoluble protein aggregates, generally termed “amyloid,” that share several physicochemical features: a fibrillar morphology, a predominantly beta-sheet secondary structure, birefringence upon staining with the dye Congo red, insolubility in common solvents and detergents, and protease resistance. Conformational constrains, hydrophobic and stacking interactions can play a key role in the fibrillogenesis process and protein-protein and peptide-peptide interactions-resulting in self-assembly phenomena of peptides yielding fibrils-that can be modulated and influenced by natural biomolecules. Small organic molecules, which possess both hydrophilic and hydrophobic moieties able to bind to peptide/protein molecules through hydrogen bonds and hydrophobic and aromatic interactions, are potential candidates against amyloidogenesis. In this review some significant case examples will be critically discussed.

Concepts: DNA, Protein, Oxygen, Amyloid, Hydrogen bond, Biochemistry, Organic chemistry, Beta sheet