Discover the most talked about and latest scientific content & concepts.

Journal: Journal of nanobiotechnology


Curcumin is a polyphenolic compound isolated from the rhizomes of the plant Curcuma longa and shows intrinsic anti-cancer properties. Its medical use remains limited due to its extremely low water solubility and bioavailability. Addressing this problem, drug delivery systems accompanied by nanoparticle technology have emerged. The present study introduces a novel nanocarrier system, so-called CurcuEmulsomes, where curcumin is encapsulated inside the solid core of emulsomes.

Concepts: Present, Pharmacology, Medicine, Solubility, Turmeric


Moth-eye nanostructures are a well-known example of biological antireflective surfaces formed by pseudoregular arrays of nipples and are often used as a template for biomimetic materials. Here, we provide morphological characterization of corneal nanostructures of moths from the Bombycidae family, including strains of domesticated Bombyx mori silk-moth, its wild ancestor Bombyx mandarina, and a more distantly related Apatelodes torrefacta. We find high diversification of the nanostructures and strong antireflective properties they provide. Curiously, the nano-dimple pattern of B. mandarina is found to reduce reflectance as efficiently as the nanopillars of A. torrefacta. Access to genome sequence of Bombyx further permitted us to pinpoint corneal proteins, likely contributing to formation of the antireflective nanocoatings. These findings open the door to bioengineering of nanostructures with novel properties, as well as invite industry to expand traditional moth-eye nanocoatings with the alternative ones described here.

Concepts: DNA, Gene, Virus, Lepidoptera, Bombyx mori, Bombycidae, Bombyx, Bombyx mandarina


Virus-like particles (VLPs) represent a significant advance in the development of subunit vaccines, combining high safety and efficacy. Their particulate nature and dense repetitive subunit organization makes them ideal scaffolds for display of vaccine antigens. Traditional approaches for VLP-based antigen display require labor-intensive trial-and-error optimization, and often fail to generate dense antigen display. Here we utilize the split-intein (SpyTag/SpyCatcher) conjugation system to generate stable isopeptide bound antigen-VLP complexes by simply mixing of the antigen and VLP components.

Concepts: Immune system, Antibody, Bacteria, Microbiology, Vaccine, Antigen, Polysaccharide, Virus-like particle


The development of nano-materials is viewed as one of the most important technological advances of the 21st century and new applications of nano-sized particles in the production, processing, packaging or storage of food are expected to emerge soon. This trend of growing commercialization of engineered nano-particles as part of modern diet will substantially increase oral exposure. Contrary to the proven benefits of nano-materials, however, possible adverse health effects have generally received less attention. This problem is very well illustrated by nano-structured synthetic amorphous silica (SAS), which is a common food additive since several decades although the relevant risk assessment has never been satisfactorily completed. A no observed adverse effect level of 2500 mg SAS particles/kg body weight per day was derived from the only available long-term administration study in rodents. However, extrapolation to a safe daily intake for humans is problematic due to limitations of this chronic animal study and knowledge gaps as to possible local intestinal effects of SAS particles, primarily on the gut-associated lymphoid system. This uncertainty is aggravated by digestion experiments indicating that dietary SAS particles preserve their nano-sized structure when reaching the intestinal lumen. An important aspect is whether food-borne particles like SAS alter the function of dendritic cells that, embedded in the intestinal mucosa, act as first-line sentinels of foreign materials. We conclude that nano-particles do not represent a completely new threat and that most potential risks can be assessed following procedures established for conventional chemical hazards. However, specific properties of food-borne nano-particles should be further examined and, for that purpose, in vitro tests with decision-making cells of the immune system are needed to complement existing in vivo studies.

Concepts: HIV, Immune system, Bacteria, Risk, In vivo, Silicon dioxide, Technology, 21st century


Titanium dioxide (TiO2) is one of the most common nanoparticles found in industry ranging from food additives to energy generation. Approximately four million tons of TiO2 particles are produced worldwide each year with approximately 3000 tons being produced in nanoparticulate form, hence exposure to these particles is almost certain.

Concepts: Ultraviolet, Staphylococcus aureus, Oxide, Titanium dioxide, E number, Titanium, Rutile, Titanium tetrachloride


We have previously demonstrated that reduced graphene oxide (rGO) administered intravenously in rats was detected inside the hippocampus after downregulation of the tight and adherens junction proteins of the blood-brain barrier. While down-regulators of junctional proteins could be useful tools for drug delivery through the paracellular pathway, concerns over toxicity must be investigated before clinical application. Herein, our purpose was to trace whether the rGO inside the hippocampus triggered toxic alterations in this brain region and in target organs (blood, liver and kidney) of rats at various time points (15 min, 1, 3 h and 7 days).

Concepts: Brain, Glucose, Liver, Organ, Cerebral cortex, Nitrogen, Cerebrum, Organs


The blood-brain barrier (BBB) is a complex physical and functional barrier protecting the central nervous system from physical and chemical insults. Nevertheless, it also constitutes a barrier against therapeutics for treating neurological disorders. In this context, nanomaterial-based therapy provides a potential alternative for overcoming this problem. Graphene family has attracted significant interest in nanomedicine because their unique physicochemical properties make them amenable to applications in drug/gene delivery and neural interface.

Concepts: Central nervous system, Nervous system, Medicine, Brain, In vivo, Neuroscience, Neurology


Cardiac toxicity is the foremost reason for drug discontinuation from development to clinical evaluation and post market surveillance [Fung 35:293-317, 2001; Piccini 158:317-326 2009]. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has rejected many potential pharmaceutical agents due to QT prolongation effects. Since drug development and FDA approval takes an enormous amount of time, money and effort with high failure rates, there is an increased focus on rescuing drugs that cause QT prolongation. If these otherwise safe and potent drugs were formulated in a unique way so as to mitigate the QT prolongation associated with them, these potent drugs may get FDA approval for clinical use. Rescuing these compounds not only benefit the patients who need them but also require much less time and money thus leading to faster clinical translation. In this study, we chose curcumin as our drug of choice since it has been shown to posses anti-tumor properties against various cancers with limited toxicity. The major limitations with this pharmacologically active drug are (a) its ability to prolong QT by inhibiting the hERG channel and (b) its low bioavailability. In our previous studies, we found that lipids have protective actions against hERG channel inhibition and therefore QT prolongation.

Concepts: Pharmacology, Cardiology, Long QT syndrome, Short QT syndrome, QT interval, Pharmaceutical drug, Food and Drug Administration, HERG


BACKGROUND: Zero-mode waveguides (ZMWs) are photonic nanostructures that create highly confined optical observation volumes, thereby allowing single-molecule-resolved biophysical studies at relatively high concentrations of fluorescent molecules. This principle has been successfully applied in single-molecule, real-time (SMRT®) DNA sequencing for the detection of DNA sequences and DNA base modifications. In contrast, RNA sequencing methods cannot provide sequence and RNA base modifications concurrently as they rely on complementary DNA (cDNA) synthesis by reverse transcription followed by sequencing of cDNA. Thus, information on RNA modifications is lost during the process of cDNA synthesis. RESULTS: Here we describe an application of SMRT technology to follow the activity of reverse transcriptase enzymes synthesizing cDNA on thousands of single RNA templates simultaneously in real time with single nucleotide turnover resolution using arrays of ZMWs. This method thereby obtains information from the RNA template directly. The analysis of the kinetics of the reverse transcriptase can be used to identify RNA base modifications, shown by example for N6-methyladenine (m6A) in oligonucleotides and in a specific mRNA extracted from total cellular mRNA. Furthermore, the real-time reverse transcriptase dynamics informs about RNA secondary structure and its rearrangements, as demonstrated on a ribosomal RNA and an mRNA template. CONCLUSIONS: Our results highlight the feasibility of studying RNA modifications and RNA structural rearrangements in ZMWs in real time. In addition, they suggest that technology can be developed for direct RNA sequencing provided that the reverse transcriptase is optimized to resolve homonucleotide stretches in RNA.

Concepts: DNA, Protein, Genetics, Transcription, Molecular biology, RNA, Reverse transcriptase, Nucleotide


Amyloidoses are characterized by the extracellular deposition of insoluble fibrillar proteinaceous aggregates highly organized into cross-β structure and referred to as amyloid fibrils. Nowadays, the diagnosis of these diseases remains tedious and involves multiple examinations while an early and accurate protein typing is crucial for the patients' treatment. Routinely used neuroimaging techniques such as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and positron emission tomography (PET) using Pittsburgh compound B, [(11)C]PIB, provide structural information and allow to assess the amyloid burden, respectively, but cannot discriminate between different amyloid deposits. Therefore, the availability of efficient multimodal imaging nanoparticles targeting specific amyloid fibrils would provide a minimally-invasive imaging tool useful for amyloidoses typing and early diagnosis. In the present study, we have functionalized gadolinium-based MRI nanoparticles (AGuIX) with peptides highly specific for Aβ amyloid fibrils, LPFFD and KLVFF. The capacity of such nanoparticles grafted with peptide to discriminate among different amyloid proteins, was tested with Aβ(1-42) fibrils and with mutated-(V30M) transthyretin (TTR) fibrils.

Concepts: Alzheimer's disease, Protein, Protein structure, Medical imaging, Positron emission tomography, Magnetic resonance imaging, Amyloid, Radiology