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1.  A New Strategy to Stabilize Oxytocin in Aqueous Solutions: I. The Effects of Divalent Metal Ions and Citrate Buffer 
The AAPS Journal  2011;13(2):284-290.
In the current study, the effect of metal ions in combination with buffers (citrate, acetate, pH 4.5) on the stability of aqueous solutions of oxytocin was investigated. Both monovalent metal ions (Na+ and K+) and divalent metal ions (Ca2+, Mg2+, and Zn2+) were tested all as chloride salts. The effect of combinations of buffers and metal ions on the stability of aqueous oxytocin solutions was determined by RP-HPLC and HP-SEC after 4 weeks of storage at either 4°C or 55°C. Addition of sodium or potassium ions to acetate- or citrate-buffered solutions did not increase stability, nor did the addition of divalent metal ions to acetate buffer. However, the stability of aqueous oxytocin in aqueous formulations was improved in the presence of 5 and 10 mM citrate buffer in combination with at least 2 mM CaCl2, MgCl2, or ZnCl2 and depended on the divalent metal ion concentration. Isothermal titration calorimetric measurements were predictive for the stabilization effects observed during the stability study. Formulations in citrate buffer that had an improved stability displayed a strong interaction between oxytocin and Ca2+, Mg2+, or Zn2+, while formulations in acetate buffer did not. In conclusion, our study shows that divalent metal ions in combination with citrate buffer strongly improved the stability of oxytocin in aqueous solutions.
PMCID: PMC3085697  PMID: 21448747
citrate buffer; divalent metal ions; improved stability; oxytocin
2.  Stabilizing effect of citrate buffer on the photolysis of riboflavin in aqueous solution 
Results in Pharma Sciences  2011;1(1):11-15.
In the present investigation the photolysis of riboflavin (RF) in the presence of citrate species at pH 4.0–7.0 has been studied. A specific multicomponent spectrophotometric method has been used to assay RF in the presence of photoproducts during the reactions. The overall first-order rate constants (kobs) for the photolysis of RF range from 0.42 to 1.08×10–2 min−1 in the region. The values of kobs have been found to decrease with an increase in citrate concentration indicating an inhibitory effect of these species on the rate of reaction. The second-order rate constants for the interaction of RF with total citrate species causing inhibition range from 1.79 to 5.65×10–3 M−1 min−1 at pH 4.0–7.0. The log k–pH profiles for the reactions at 0.2–1.0 M citrate concentration show a gradual decrease in kobs and the value at 1.0 M is more than half compared to that of k0, i.e., in the absence of buffer, at pH 5.0. Divalent citrate ions cause a decrease in RF fluorescence due to the quenching of the excited singlet state resulting in a decrease in the rate of reaction and consequently leading to the stabilization of RF solutions. The greater quenching of fluorescence at pH 4.0 compared to that of 7.0 is in accordance with the greater concentration of divalent citrate ions (99.6%) at that pH. The trivalent citrate ions exert a greater inhibitory effect on the rate of RF photolysis compared to that of the divalent citrate ions probably as a result of excited triplet state quenching. The values of second-order rate constants for the interaction of divalent and trivalent citrate ions are 0.44×10–2 and 1.06×10–3 M–1 min–1, respectively, indicating that the trivalent ions exert a greater stabilizing effect, compared to the divalent ions, on RF solutions.
► Stabilizing effect of divalent and trivalent citrate ions on riboflavin photolysis has been demonstrated. ► Trivalent citrate ions exert a greater stabilizing effect as observed with a change in pH. ► Role of excited singlet and triplet states (quenching) in causing stabilization has been emphasized.
PMCID: PMC4150622  PMID: 25755977
Riboflavin; Citrate buffer; Photolysis; Kinetics; Spectrophotometric assay; Fluorescence
3.  Aggregation Kinetics of Citrate and Polyvinylpyrrolidone Coated Silver Nanoparticles in Monovalent and Divalent Electrolyte Solutions 
Environmental science & technology  2011;45(13):5564-5571.
The aggregation kinetics of silver nanoparticles (AgNPs) that were coated with two commonly used capping agents—citrate and polyvinylpyrrolidone (PVP)—were investigated. Time-resolved dynamic light scattering (DLS) was employed to measure the aggregation kinetics of the AgNPs over a range of monovalent and divalent electrolyte concentrations. The aggregation behavior of citrate-coated AgNPs in NaCl was in excellent agreement with the predictions based on Derjaguin–Landau–Verwey–Overbeek (DLVO) theory, and the Hamaker constant of citrate-coated AgNPs in aqueous solutions was derived to be 3.7 × 10-20 J. Divalent electrolytes were more efficient in destabilizing the citrate-coated AgNPs, as indicated by the considerably lower critical coagulation concentrations (2.1 mM CaCl2 and 2.7 mM MgCl2 vs. 47.6 mM NaCl). The PVP-coated AgNPs were significantly more stable than citrate-coated AgNPs in both NaCl and CaCl2, which is likely due to steric repulsion imparted by the large, non-charged polymers. The addition of humic acid resulted in the adsorption of the macromolecules on both citrate- and PVP-coated AgNPs. The adsorption of humic acid induced additional electrosteric repulsion that elevated the stability of both nanoparticles in suspensions containing NaCl or low concentrations of CaCl2. Conversely, enhanced aggregation occurred for both nanoparticles at high CaCl2 concentrations due to interparticle bridging by humic acid clusters.
PMCID: PMC3137917  PMID: 21630686
4.  Polymerization Effect of Electrolytes on Hydrogen-Bonding Cryoprotectants: Ion–Dipole Interactions between Metal Ions and Glycerol 
The Journal of Physical Chemistry. B  2014;118(49):14546-14554.
Protectants which are cell membrane permeable, such as glycerol, have been used effectively in the cryopreservation field for a number of decades, for both slow cooling and vitrification applications. In the latter case, the glass transition temperature (Tg) of the vitrification composition is key to its application, dictating the ultimate storage conditions. It has been observed that the addition of some electrolytes to glycerol, such as MgCl2, could elevate the Tg of the mixture, thus potentially providing more storage condition flexibility. The microscopic mechanisms that give rise to the Tg-enhancing behavior of these electrolytes are not yet well understood. The current study focuses on molecular dynamics simulation of glycerol mixed with a variety of metal chlorides (i.e., NaCl, KCl, MgCl2, and CaCl2), covering a temperature range that spans both the liquid and glassy states. The characteristics of the ion–dipole interactions between metal cations and hydroxyl groups of glycerol were analyzed. The interruption of the original hydrogen-bonding network among glycerol molecules by the addition of ions was also investigated in the context of hydrogen-bonding quantity and lifetime. Divalent metal cations were found to significantly increase the Tg by strengthening the interacting network in the electrolyte/glycerol mixture via strong cation–dipole attractions. In contrast, monovalent cations increased the Tg insignificantly, as the cation–dipole attraction was only slightly stronger than the original hydrogen-bonding network among glycerol molecules. The precursor of crystallization of NaCl and KCl was also observed in these compositions, potentially contributing to weak Tg-enhancing ability. The Tg-enhancing mechanisms elucidated in this study suggest a structure-enhancing role for divalent ions that could be of benefit in the design of protective formulations for biopreservation purposes.
PMCID: PMC4266337  PMID: 25405831
5.  Synergistic effects of metal ion and the pre-senile cataract-causing G98R αA-crystallin: self-aggregation propensities and chaperone activity 
Molecular Vision  2009;15:2050-2060.
αA- and αB-crystallins are abundantly present in the eye lens, belong to the small heat shock protein family, and exhibit molecular chaperone activity. They are also known to interact with metal ions such as Cu2+, and their metal-binding modulates the structure and chaperone function. Unlike other point mutations in αA-crystallin that cause congenital cataracts, the G98R mutation causes pre-senile cataract. We have investigated the effect of Cu2+ on the structure and function of G98R αA-crystallin.
Fluorescence spectroscopy and isothermal titration calorimetry were used to study Cu2+ binding to αA- and G98R αA-crystallin. Circular dichroism spectroscopy was used to study secondary and tertiary structures, and dynamic light scattering was used to determine the hydrodynamic radii of the proteins. Chaperone activity and self-aggregation of the wild type and the mutant protein in the absence and the presence of the metal ions was monitored using light scattering.
Our fluorescence quenching and isothermal titration calorimetric studies show that like αA-crystallin, G98R αA-crystallin binds Cu2+ with picomolar range affinity. Further, both wild type and mutant αA-crystallin inhibit Cu2+-induced generation of reactive oxygen species with similar efficiency. However, G98R αA-crystallin undergoes pronounced self-aggregation above a certain concentration of Cu2+ (above subunit to Cu2+ molar ratio of 1:3 in HEPES-NaOH buffer, pH 7.4). At concentrations of Cu2+ below this ratio, G98R αA-crystallin is more susceptible to Cu2+-induced tertiary and quaternary structural changes than αA-crystallin. Interestingly, Cu2+ binding increases the chaperone-like activity of αA-crystallin toward the aggregation of citrate synthase at 43 °C while it decreases the chaperone-like activity of G98R αA-crystallin. Mixed oligomer formation between the wild type and the mutant subunits modulates the Cu2+-induced effect on the self-aggregation propensity. Other heavy metal ions, namely Cd2+ and Zn2+ but not Ca2+, also promote the self-aggregation of G98R αA-crystallin and decrease its chaperone-like activity.
Our study demonstrates that unlike wild type αA-crystallin, G98R αA-crystallin and its mixed oligomers with wild type protein are vulnerable to heavy metal ions. Our study provides insight into aspects of how environmental factors could augment phenotype(s) in certain genetically predisposed conditions.
PMCID: PMC2768467  PMID: 19862354
1. This paper contains experiments on the influence of acids and alkalies on the osmotic pressure of solutions of crystalline egg albumin and of gelatin, and on the viscosity of solutions of gelatin. 2. It was found in all cases that there is no difference in the effects of HCl, HBr, HNO3, acetic, mono-, di-, and trichloracetic, succinic, tartaric, citric, and phosphoric acids upon these physical properties when the solutions of the protein with these different acids have the same pH and the same concentration of originally isoelectric protein. 3. It was possible to show that in all the protein-acid salts named the anion in combination with the protein is monovalent. 4. The strong dibasic acid H2SO4 forms protein-acid salts with a divalent anion SO4 and the solutions of protein sulfate have an osmotic pressure and a viscosity of only half or less than that of a protein chloride solution of the same pH and the same concentration of originally isoelectric protein. Oxalic acid behaves essentially like a weak dibasic acid though it seems that a small part of the acid combines with the protein in the form of divalent anions. 5. It was found that the osmotic pressure and viscosity of solutions of Li, Na, K, and NH4 salts of a protein are the same at the same pH and the same concentration of originally isoelectric protein. 6. Ca(OH)2 and Ba(OH)2 form salts with proteins in which the cation is divalent and the osmotic pressure and viscosity of solutions of these two metal proteinates are only one-half or less than half of that of Na proteinate of the same pH and the same concentration of originally isoelectric gelatin. 7. These results exclude the possibility of expressing the effect of different acids and alkalies on the osmotic pressure of solutions of gelatin and egg albumin and on the viscosity of solutions of gelatin in the form of ion series. The different results of former workers were probably chiefly due to the fact that the effects of acids and alkalies on these proteins were compared for the same quantity of acid and alkali instead of for the same pH.
PMCID: PMC2140403  PMID: 19871850
7.  Divalent Metal Ion Transport across Large Biological Ion Channels and Their Effect on Conductance and Selectivity 
Electrophysiological characterization of large protein channels, usually displaying multi-ionic transport and weak ion selectivity, is commonly performed at physiological conditions (moderate gradients of KCl solutions at decimolar concentrations buffered at neutral pH). We extend here the characterization of the OmpF porin, a wide channel of the outer membrane of E. coli, by studying the effect of salts of divalent cations on the transport properties of the channel. The regulation of divalent cations concentration is essential in cell metabolism and understanding their effects is of key importance, not only in the channels specifically designed to control their passage but also in other multiionic channels. In particular, in porin channels like OmpF, divalent cations modulate the efficiency of molecules having antimicrobial activity. Taking advantage of the fact that the OmpF channel atomic structure has been resolved both in water and in MgCl2 aqueous solutions, we analyze the single channel conductance and the channel selectivity inversion aiming to separate the role of the electrolyte itself, and the counterion accumulation induced by the protein channel charges and other factors (binding, steric effects, etc.) that being of minor importance in salts of monovalent cations become crucial in the case of divalent cations.
PMCID: PMC3449104  PMID: 23008773
8.  Good’s buffers as a basis for developing self-buffering and biocompatible ionic liquids for biological research† 
This work reports a promising approach to the development of novel self-buffering and biocompatible ionic liquids for biological research in which the anions are derived from biological buffers (Good’s buffers, GB). Five Good’s buffers (Tricine, TES, CHES, HEPES, and MES) were neutralized with four suitable hydroxide bases (1-ethyl-3-methylimidazolium, tetramethylammonium, tetraethylammonium, and tetrabutylammonium) producing 20 Good’s buffer ionic liquids (GB-ILs). The presence of the buffering action of the synthesized GB-ILs was ascertained by measuring their pH-profiles in water. Moreover, a series of mixed GB-ILs with wide buffering ranges were formulated as universal buffers. The impact of GB-ILs on bovine serum albumin (BSA), here used as a model protein, is discussed and compared with more conventional ILs using spectroscopic techniques, such as infrared and dynamic light scattering. They appear to display, in general, a greater stabilizing effect on the protein secondary structure than conventional ILs. A molecular docking study was also carried out to investigate on the binding sites of GB-IL ions to BSA. We further used the QSAR-human serum albumin binding model, log K(HSA), to calculate the binding affinity of some conventional ILs/GB-ILs to HSA. The toxicity of the GB and GB-ILs was additionally evaluated revealing that they are non-toxic against Vitro fischeri. Finally, the GB-ILs were also shown to be able to form aqueous biphasic systems when combined with aqueous solutions of inorganic or organic salts, and we tested their extraction capability for BSA. These systems were able to extract BSA with an outstanding extraction efficiency of 100% in a single step for the GB-IL-rich phase, and, as a result, the use of GB-IL-based ABS for the separation and extraction of other added-value biomolecules is highly encouraging and worthy of further investigation.
PMCID: PMC4340528  PMID: 25729325
9.  Effect on Postpartum Hemorrhage of Prophylactic Oxytocin (10 IU) by Injection by Community Health Officers in Ghana: A Community-Based, Cluster-Randomized Trial 
PLoS Medicine  2013;10(10):e1001524.
Cynthia Stanton and colleagues conducted a cluster-randomized controlled trial in rural Ghana to assess whether oxytocin given by injection by community health officers at home births was a feasible and safe option in preventing postpartum hemorrhage.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Oxytocin (10 IU) is the drug of choice for prevention of postpartum hemorrhage (PPH). Its use has generally been restricted to medically trained staff in health facilities. We assessed the effectiveness, safety, and feasibility of PPH prevention using oxytocin injected by peripheral health care providers without midwifery skills at home births.
Methods and Findings
This community-based, cluster-randomized trial was conducted in four rural districts in Ghana. We randomly allocated 54 community health officers (stratified on district and catchment area distance to a health facility: ≥10 km versus <10 km) to intervention (one injection of oxytocin [10 IU] one minute after birth) and control (no provision of prophylactic oxytocin) arms. Births attended by a community health officer constituted a cluster. Our primary outcome was PPH, using multiple definitions; (PPH-1) blood loss ≥500 mL; (PPH-2) PPH-1 plus women who received early treatment for PPH; and (PPH-3) PPH-2 plus any other women referred to hospital for postpartum bleeding. Unsafe practice is defined as oxytocin use before delivery of the baby. We enrolled 689 and 897 women, respectively, into oxytocin and control arms of the trial from April 2011 to November 2012. In oxytocin and control arms, respectively, PPH-1 rates were 2.6% versus 5.5% (RR: 0.49; 95% CI: 0.27–0.88); PPH-2 rates were 3.8% versus 10.8% (RR: 0.35; 95% CI: 0.18–0.63), and PPH-3 rates were similar to those of PPH-2. Compared to women in control clusters, those in the intervention clusters lost 45.1 mL (17.7–72.6) less blood. There were no cases of oxytocin use before delivery of the baby and no major adverse events requiring notification of the institutional review boards. Limitations include an unblinded trial and imbalanced numbers of participants, favoring controls.
Maternal health care planners can consider adapting this model to extend the use of oxytocin into peripheral settings including, in some contexts, home births.
Trial registration NCT01108289
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Editors' Summary
Many women in low-and middle-income countries die unnecessarily during childbirth, even though the solutions to prevent or manage complications are well known. Maternal death rates are highest amongst poor women living in remote areas, as they are least likely to have access to adequate health care. One of the United Nation's Millennium Development Goals is to reduce maternal death rates by three-quarters by 2015. Between 1990 and 2010, these rates were nearly halved. So there is still some way to go to meet the target.
One of the major causes of maternal death is excessive bleeding after birth, known as postpartum hemorrhage (PPH). The highest rates of PPH are found in Africa (28% of births), with an overall global rate of 11%. PPH can be caused by the uterus not contracting after the baby is born, damage to tissues and blood vessels, retention of the placenta, and problems with blood-clotting.
PPH can be prevented by an injection of oxytocin (a hormone) or with tablets of the drug misoprostol immediately after birth. Other drugs exist but are used much less frequently in low-income countries. If the mother does bleed excessively, then these interventions can also be used to treat PPH in the hours following birth. These drugs cause the uterus to contract. Continued severe bleeding requires emergency treatment in hospital. The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends that in situations where women give birth without the assistance of a trained midwife, priority should be given to preventing PPH because access to emergency services may be limited.
Why Was This Study Done?
Of the two most common options for preventing PPH, oxytocin is generally the preferred choice. It has the advantage of having no side effects, whereas misoprostol can cause fever and shivering. A repeat injection of oxytocin can also be given if the mother continues to bleed excessively, whereas a dose of misoprostol after birth should only be given once. A major concern about both drugs is that the timing of administration must be precise. Giving a drug that causes the uterus to contract before birth can be harmful to both mother and baby. A disadvantage of oxytocin is that it requires someone trained and authorized to give an injection. For this reason, oxytocin has so far been generally limited to hospitals and clinics, where it can be administered by medically trained professionals. Another disadvantage is that oxytocin is weakened by heat, which means its storage and use may be impractical in hot countries.
The main aim of this study was therefore to find out whether health workers without midwifery skills are able to administer oxytocin safely when attending home births in poor, rural communities.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers carried out a cluster-randomized controlled trial in four rural districts in Ghana, working with community health officers (CHOs). CHOs are trained for two years in giving childhood immunizations and antenatal and postnatal care, but are not trained midwives. 54 CHOs were randomized to one of two groups. The CHOs in the first group gave a preventative oxytocin injection to the mother at every birth they attended. The oxytocin was administered using a pre-filled, disposable device called Uniject that is easier and quicker to use than a syringe and needle. The packaging also included a heat-sensitive label that indicated whether the oxytocin still met the manufacturer's criteria for an acceptably potent drug. CHOs in the second group acted as controls, and did not give any oxytocin injections to prevent PPH. The women seen by each CHO formed a cluster. Comparisons were made across the clusters of women that either received or did not receive the preventative intervention.
The researchers found that the women who were given a preventative oxytocin injection lost less blood after birth than the women who did not receive a preventative injection. There were also fewer cases of PPH amongst the women who received oxytocin for PPH prevention. 2.6% of the women who received a preventative oxytocin injection experienced PPH, compared to 5.5% of the controls. Therefore the risk of PPH was approximately halved. There were no cases of oxytocin use before delivery of the baby and no difference in the frequency of other birth complications between women in the intervention and control groups.
What Do These Findings Mean?
These findings show that under the trial conditions, CHOs can safely administer oxytocin injections when attending home births in poor, rural settings. This intervention also proved practical to use in the Uniject format.
The study therefore suggests that oxytocin should be considered for use in regions where maternal deaths from PPH are still unacceptably high. There are also several noteworthy limitations, such as unblinding and the imbalance between participant groups. The researchers emphasized that their findings do not mean that oxytocin is always a better choice than misoprostol for home births. Many factors will influence which intervention is the most feasible, such as the local availability of sufficiently skilled health professionals, the relative cost and availability of the two drugs, as well as ease of access to emergency health services.
Additional Information
Please access these websites via the online version of this summary at
This study is further discussed in a PLOS Medicine Perspective by João Paulo Souza
WHO Factsheet on Maternal Mortality
United Nations Population Fund's Goals to improve sexual and reproductive health
PMCID: PMC3794862  PMID: 24130463
10.  The permeability of endplate channels to monovalent and divalent metal cations 
The Journal of General Physiology  1980;75(5):493-510.
The relative permeability of endplate channels to monovalent and divalent metal ions was determined from reversal potentials. Thallium is the most permeant ion with a permeability ratio relative to Na+ of 2.5. The selectivity among alkali metals is weak with a sequence, Cs+ greater than Rb+ greater than K+ greater than Na+ greater than Li+, and permeability ratios of 1.4, 1.3, 1.1, 1.0, and 0.9. The selectivity among divalent ions is also weak, with a sequence for alkaline earths of Mg++ greater than Ca++ greater than Ba++ greater than Sr++. The transition metal ions Mn++, Co++, Ni++, Zn++, and Cd++ are also permeant. Permeability ratios for divalent ions decreased as the concentration of divalent ion was increased in a manner consistent with the negative surface potential theory of Lewis (1979 J. Physiol. (Lond.). 286: 417--445). With 20 mM XCl2 and 85.5 mM glucosamine.HCl in the external solution, the apparent permeability ratios for the alkaline earth cations (X++) are in the range 0.18--0.25. Alkali metal ions see the endplate channel as a water-filled, neutral pore without high-field-strength sites inside. Their permeability sequence is the same as their aqueous mobility sequence. Divalent ions, however, have a permeability sequence almost opposite from their mobility sequence and must experience some interaction with groups in the channel. In addition, the concentrations of monovalent and divalent ions are increased near the channel mouth by a weak negative surface potential.
PMCID: PMC2215258  PMID: 6247423
11.  Ca2+-Citrate Uptake and Metabolism in Lactobacillus casei ATCC 334 
Applied and Environmental Microbiology  2013;79(15):4603-4612.
The putative citrate metabolic pathway in Lactobacillus casei ATCC 334 consists of the transporter CitH, a proton symporter of the citrate-divalent metal ion family of transporters CitMHS, citrate lyase, and the membrane-bound oxaloacetate decarboxylase complex OAD-ABDH. Resting cells of Lactobacillus casei ATCC 334 metabolized citrate in complex with Ca2+ and not as free citrate or the Mg2+-citrate complex, thereby identifying Ca2+-citrate as the substrate of the transporter CitH. The pathway was induced in the presence of Ca2+ and citrate during growth and repressed by the presence of glucose and of galactose, most likely by a carbon catabolite repression mechanism. The end products of Ca2+-citrate metabolism by resting cells of Lb. casei were pyruvate, acetate, and acetoin, demonstrating the activity of the membrane-bound oxaloacetate decarboxylase complex OAD-ABDH. Following pyruvate, the pathway splits into two branches. One branch is the classical citrate fermentation pathway producing acetoin by α-acetolactate synthase and α-acetolactate decarboxylase. The other branch yields acetate, for which the route is still obscure. Ca2+-citrate metabolism in a modified MRS medium lacking a carbohydrate did not significantly affect the growth characteristics, and generation of metabolic energy in the form of proton motive force (PMF) was not observed in resting cells. In contrast, carbohydrate/Ca2+-citrate cometabolism resulted in a higher biomass yield in batch culture. However, also with these cells, no generation of PMF was associated with Ca2+-citrate metabolism. It is concluded that citrate metabolism in Lb. casei is beneficial when it counteracts acidification by carbohydrate metabolism in later growth stages.
PMCID: PMC3719530  PMID: 23709502
12.  Enhanced Adsorption and Recovery of Uranyl Ions by NikR Mutant-Displaying Yeast 
Biomolecules  2014;4(2):390-401.
Uranium is one of the most important metal resources, and the technology for the recovery of uranyl ions (UO22+) from aqueous solutions is required to ensure a semi-permanent supply of uranium. The NikR protein is a Ni2+-dependent transcriptional repressor of the nickel-ion uptake system in Escherichia coli, but its mutant protein (NikRm) is able to selectively bind uranyl ions in the interface of the two monomers. In this study, NikRm protein with ability to adsorb uranyl ions was displayed on the cell surface of Saccharomyces cerevisiae. To perform the binding of metal ions in the interface of the two monomers, two metal-binding domains (MBDs) of NikRm were tandemly fused via linker peptides and displayed on the yeast cell surface by fusion with the cell wall-anchoring domain of yeast α-agglutinin. The NikRm-MBD-displaying yeast cells with particular linker lengths showed the enhanced adsorption of uranyl ions in comparison to the control strain. By treating cells with citrate buffer (pH 4.3), the uranyl ions adsorbed on the cell surface were recovered. Our results indicate that the adsorption system by yeast cells displaying tandemly fused MBDs of NikRm is effective for simple and concentrated recovery of uranyl ions, as well as adsorption of uranyl ions.
PMCID: PMC4101488  PMID: 24970221
cell surface engineering; arming yeast; bioadsorption; uranyl ions; NikR
1. Our results show clearly that the Hofmeister series is not the correct expression of the relative effect of ions on the swelling of gelatin, and that it is not true that chlorides, bromides, and nitrates have "hydrating," and acetates, tartrates, citrates, and phosphates "dehydrating," effects. If the pH of the gelatin is taken into considertion, it is found that for the same pH the effect on swelling is the same for gelatin chloride, nitrate, trichloracetate, tartrate, succinate, oxalate, citrate, and phosphate, while the swelling is considerably less for gelatin sulfate. This is exactly what we should expect on the basis of the combining ratios of the corresponding acids with gelatin since the weak dibasic and tribasic acids combine with gelatin in molecular proportions while the strong dibasic acid H2SO4 combines with gelatin in equivalent proportions. In the case of the weak dibasic acids he anion in combination with gelatin is therefore monovalent and in the case of the strong H2SO4 it is bivalent. Hence it is only the valency and not the nature of the ion in combination with gelatin which affects the degree of swelling. 2. This is corroborated in the experiments with alkalies which show that LiOH, NaOH, KOH, and NH4OH cause the same degree of swelling at the same pH of the gelatin solution and that this swelling is considerably higher than that caused by Ca(OH)2 and Ba(OH)2 for the same pH. This agrees with the results of the titration experiments which prove that Ca(OH)2 and Ba(OH)2 combine with gelatin in equivalent proportions and that hence the cation in combination with the gelatin salt with these two latter bases is bivalent. 3. The fact that proteins combine with acids and alkalies on the basis of the forces of primary valency is therefore not only in full agreement with the influence of ions on the physical properties of proteins but allows us to predict this influence qualitatively and quantitatively. 4. What has been stated in regard to the influence of ions on the swelling of the different gelatin salts is also true in regard to the influence of ions on the relative solubility of gelatin in alcohol-water mixtures. 5. Conductivity measurements of solutions of gelatin salts do not support the theory that the drop in the curves for swelling, osmotic pressure, or viscosity, which occurs at a pH 3.3 or a little less, is due to a drop in the concentration of ionized protein in the solution; nor do they suggest that the difference between the physical properties of gelatin sulfate and gelatin chloride is due to differences in the degree of ionization of these two salts.
PMCID: PMC2140423  PMID: 19871862
14.  Complementary Metal Ion Specificity of the Metal-Citrate Transporters CitM and CitH of Bacillus subtilis 
Journal of Bacteriology  2000;182(22):6374-6381.
Citrate uptake in Bacillus subtilis is stimulated by a wide range of divalent metal ions. The metal ions were separated into two groups based on the expression pattern of the uptake system. The two groups correlated with the metal ion specificity of two homologous B. subtilis secondary citrate transporters, CitM and CitH, upon expression in Escherichia coli. CitM transported citrate in complex with Mg2+, Ni2+, Mn2+, Co2+, and Zn2+ but not in complex with Ca2+, Ba2+, and Sr2+. CitH transported citrate in complex with Ca2+, Ba2+, and Sr2+ but not in complex with Mg2+, Ni2+, Mn2+, Co2+, and Zn2+. Both transporters did not transport free citrate. Nevertheless, free citrate uptake could be demonstrated in B. subtilis, indicating the expression of at least a third citrate transporter, whose identity is not known. For both the CitM and CitH transporters it was demonstrated that the metal ion promoted citrate uptake and, vice versa, that citrate promoted uptake of the metal ion, indicating that the complex is the transported species. The results indicate that CitM and CitH are secondary transporters that transport complexes of divalent metal ions and citrate but with a complementary metal ion specificity. The potential physiological function of the two transporters is discussed.
PMCID: PMC94783  PMID: 11053381
15.  Aggregation of recombinant human interferon alpha 2b in solution: Technical note 
AAPS PharmSciTech  2014;7(4):E118-E122.
Summary and Conclusions
Sodium phosphate buffer increased the aggregation of rhIFN-α2b in the range of 1.55 to 1.8103 day−1, as determined by SDS/PAGE under reduced and nonreduced conditions. In contrast, sodium citrate buffer decreased the aggregation rate of this cytokine, as compared with those samples in sodium phosphate buffer. Results from sodium citrate-phosphate buffer were very similar to those obtained with sodium citrate solutions.
On the other hand, EDTA Na2×2H2O reduced the aggregation rate of rhIFN-α2b, showing an aggregation kinetic constant in the range of 0.52 to 0.75×103 day−1. Polysorbates 20 and 80 were less effective than the chelating agent in preventing this degradation pathway.
Additionally, metal ions (Zn2+ and Cu2+) increased the aggregation kinetic constant of rhIFN-α2b, probably through undetermined metal-catalyzing reactions.
Taken together, these data can be useful for the development of new formulations containing rhIFN-α2b as an active ingredient.
PMCID: PMC2750336  PMID: 17285753
16.  Increasing Mechanical Strength of Gelatin Hydrogels by Divalent Metal Ion Removal 
Scientific Reports  2014;4:4706.
The usage of gelatin hydrogel is limited due to its instability and poor mechanical properties, especially under physiological conditions. Divalent metal ions present in gelatin such as Ca2+ and Fe2+ play important roles in the gelatin molecule interactions. The objective of this study was to determine the impact of divalent ion removal on the stability and mechanical properties of gelatin gels with and without chemical crosslinking. The gelatin solution was purified by Chelex resin to replace divalent metal ions with sodium ions. The gel was then chemically crosslinked by 1-ethyl-3-(3-dimethylaminopropyl) carbodiimide (EDC). Results showed that the removal of divalent metal ions significantly impacted the formation of the gelatin network. The purified gelatin hydrogels had less interactions between gelatin molecules and form larger-pore network which enabled EDC to penetrate and crosslink the gel more efficiently. The crosslinked purified gels showed small swelling ratio, higher crosslinking density and dramatically increased storage and loss moduli. The removal of divalent ions is a simple yet effective method that can significantly improve the stability and strength of gelatin hydrogels. The in vitro cell culture demonstrated that the purified gelatin maintained its ability to support cell attachment and spreading.
PMCID: PMC3988488  PMID: 24736500
17.  Use of Divalent Metal Ions in the DNA Cleavage Reaction of Human Type II Topoisomerases† 
Biochemistry  2009;48(9):1862-1869.
All type II topoisomerases require divalent metal ions in order to cleave and ligate DNA. In order to further elucidate the mechanistic basis for these critical enzyme-mediated events, the role of the metal ion in the DNA cleavage reaction of human topoisomerase IIβ was characterized and compared to that of topoisomerase IIα. The present study utilized divalent metal ions with varying thiophilicities in conjunction with DNA cleavage substrates that substituted a sulfur atom for the 3′-bridging oxygen or the non-bridging oxygens of the scissile phosphate. Based on time courses of DNA cleavage, cation titrations, and metal ion mixing experiments, we propose the following model for the use of divalent metal ions by human type II topoisomerases. First, both enzymes employ a two-metal-ion mechanism to support DNA cleavage. Second, an interaction between one divalent metal ion and the 3′-bridging atom of the scissile phosphate greatly enhances enzyme-mediated DNA cleavage, most likely by stabilizing the leaving 3′-oxygen. Third, there is an important interaction between a divalent second metal ion and a non-bridging atom of the scissile phosphate that stimulates DNA cleavage mediated by topoisomerase IIβ. If this interaction exists in topoisomerase IIα, its effects on DNA cleavage are equivocal. This last aspect of the model highlights a difference in metal ion utilization during DNA cleavage mediated by human topoisomerase IIα and IIβ.
PMCID: PMC2693261  PMID: 19222228
18.  Quantitative and Comprehensive Decomposition of the Ion Atmosphere around Nucleic Acids 
Journal of the American Chemical Society  2007;129(48):14981-14988.
The ion atmosphere around nucleic acids critically affects biological and physical processes such as chromosome packing, RNA folding, and molecular recognition. However, the dynamic nature of the ion atmosphere renders it difficult to characterize. The basic thermodynamic description of this atmosphere, a full accounting of the type and number of associated ions, has remained elusive. Here we provide the first complete accounting of the ion atmosphere, using buffer equilibration and atomic emission spectroscopy (BE-AES) to accurately quantitate the cation association and anion depletion. We have examined the influence of ion size and charge on ion occupancy around simple, well-defined DNA molecules. The relative affinity of monovalent and divalent cations correlates inversely with their size. Divalent cations associate preferentially over monovalent cations; e.g., with Na+ in four-fold excess of Mg2+ (20 vs. 5 mM), the ion atmosphere nevertheless has three-fold more Mg2+ than Na+. Further, the dicationic polyamine putrescine2+ does not compete effectively for association relative to divalent metal ions, presumably because of its lower charge density. These and other BE-AES results can be used to evaluate and guide the improvement of electrostatic treatments. As a first step, we compare the BE-AES results to predictions from the widely-used nonlinear Poisson Boltzmann (NLPB) theory and assess the applicability and precision of this theory. In the future, BE-AES in conjunction with improved theoretical models, can be applied to complex binding and folding equilibria of nucleic acids and their complexes, to parse the electrostatic contribution from the overall thermodynamics of important biological processes.
PMCID: PMC3167487  PMID: 17990882
19.  Divalent Cu, Cd, and Pb Biosorption in Mixed Solvents 
Dead dried Chlorella vulgaris was studied in terms of its performance in binding divalent copper, cadmium, and lead ions from their aqueous or 50% v/v methanol, ethanol, and acetone solutions. The percentage uptake of cadmium ions exhibited a general decrease with decrease in dielectric constant values, while that of copper and lead ions showed a general decrease with increase in donor numbers. Uptake percentage becomes less sensitive to solvent properties the larger the atomic radius of the biosorbed ion, and uptake of copper was the most affected. FT-IR analyses revealed stability of the biomass in mixed solvents and a shift in vibrations of amide(I) and (II), carboxylate, glucose ring, and metal oxygen upon metal binding in all media. ΔνCOO values (59–69 cm−1) confirmed bidentate metal coordination to carboxylate ligands. The value of νasCOO increased slightly upon Cu, Cd, and Pb biosorption from aqueous solutions indicating lowering of symmetry, while a general decrease was noticed in mixed solvents pointing to the opposite. M–O stretching frequencies increased unexpectedly with increase in atomic mass as a result of solvent effect on the nature of binding sites. Lowering polarity of the solvent permits variations in metal-alga bonds strengths; the smaller the metal ion, the more affected.
PMCID: PMC2726428  PMID: 19688108
20.  Anions in Electrothermal Supercharging of Proteins with Electrospray Ionization Follow a Reverse Hofmeister Series 
Analytical Chemistry  2014;86(3):1640-1647.
The effects of different anions on the extent of electrothermal supercharging of proteins from aqueous ammonium and sodium salt solutions were investigated. Sulfate and hydrogen phosphate are the most effective anions at producing high charge state protein ions from buffered aqueous solution, whereas iodide and perchlorate are ineffective with electrothermal supercharging. The propensity for these anions to produce high charge state protein ions follows the following trend: sulfate > hydrogen phosphate > thiocyanate > bicarbonate > chloride > formate ≈ bromide > acetate > iodide > perchlorate. This trend correlates with the reverse Hofmeister series over a wide range of salt concentrations (1 mM to 2 M) and with several physical properties, including solvent surface tension, anion viscosity B-coefficient, and anion surface/bulk partitioning coefficient, all of which are related to the Hofmeister series. The effectiveness of electrothermal supercharging does not depend on bubble formation, either from thermal degradation of the buffer or from coalescence of dissolved gas. These results provide evidence that the effect of different ions in the formation of high charge state ions by electrothermal supercharging is largely a result of Hofmeister effects on protein stability leading to protein unfolding in the heated ESI droplet.
PMCID: PMC3983018  PMID: 24410546
21.  The Effects of Probenecid and Thiazides and Their Combination on the Urinary Excretion of Electrolytes and on Acid-base Equilibrium 
The effects of commonly used therapeutic doses of hydrochlorothiazide and probenecid, given singly and in combination, on the urinary excretion of monovalent and divalent ions and on acid-base equilibrium were studied in four patients with idiopathic hypercalciuria.
Probenecid had no effect on the urinary excretion of monovalent ions but resulted in a sustained increase in the urinary excretion of calcium, magnesium and citrate and a temporary increase in the urinary excretion of ammonium, in addition to its well-known effects on uric acid metabolism. A temporary fall in serum phosphorus levels was also observed.
Probenecid also modified the response to hydrochlorothiazide in that the urinary excretion of calcium, magnesium and citrate was greater during combined therapy than when hydrochlorothiazide was administered alone. Probenecid prevented or abolished the increase in serum uric acid levels associated with the use of thiazide but did not modify the effects of hydrochlorothiazide on the urinary excretion of sodium, chloride, potassiu, phosphorus, ammonium, titratable acid and bicarbonate.
PMCID: PMC1930492  PMID: 5469617
22.  Regulation of the L-lactase dehydrogenase from Lactobacillus casei by fructose-1,6-diphosphate and metal ions. 
Journal of Bacteriology  1975;121(3):777-784.
The lactate dehydrogenase of Lactobacillus casei, like that of streptococci, requires fructose-1,6-diphosphate (FDP) for activity. The L. casei enzyme has a much more acidic pH optimum (pH 5.5) than the streptococcal lactate dehydrogenases. This is apparently due to a marked decrease in the affinity of the enzyme for the activator with increasing pH above 5.5; the concentration of FDP required for half-maximal velocity increase nearly 1,000-fold from 0.002 mM at pH 5.5 to 1.65 mM at 6.6. Manganous ions increase the pH range of activity particularly on the alkaline side of the optimum by increasing the affinity for FDP. This pH dependent metal ion activation is not specific for Mn2+. Other divalent metals, Co2+, Cu2+, Cd2+, Ni2+, Fe2+, Fe2+, and Zn2+ but not Mg2+, will effectively substitute for Mn2+, but the pH dependence of the activation differs with the metal ion used. The enzyme is inhibited by a number of commonly used buffering ions, particularly phosphate, citrate, and tris (hydroxymethyl) aminomethane-maleate buffers, even at low buffer concentrations (0.02 M). These buffers inhibit by affecting the binding of FDP.
PMCID: PMC246003  PMID: 234946
23.  Effect of Pressure-Induced Changes in the Ionization Equilibria of Buffers on Inactivation of Escherichia coli and Staphylococcus aureus by High Hydrostatic Pressure 
Applied and Environmental Microbiology  2013;79(13):4041-4047.
Survival rates of Escherichia coli and Staphylococcus aureus after high-pressure treatment in buffers that had large or small reaction volumes (ΔV°), and which therefore underwent large or small changes in pH under pressure, were compared. At a low buffer concentration of 0.005 M, survival was, as expected, better in MOPS (morpholinepropanesulfonic acid), HEPES, and Tris, whose ΔV° values are approximately 5.0 to 7.0 cm3 mol−1, than in phosphate or dimethyl glutarate (DMG), whose ΔV° values are about −25 cm3 mol−1. However, at a concentration of 0.1 M, survival was unexpectedly better in phosphate and DMG than in MOPS, HEPES, or Tris. This was because the baroprotective effect of phosphate and DMG increased much more rapidly with increasing concentration than it did with MOPS, HEPES, or Tris. Further comparisons of survival in solutions of salts expected to cause large electrostriction effects (Na2SO4 and CaCl2) and those causing lower electrostriction (NaCl and KCl) were made. The salts with divalent ions were protective at much lower concentrations than salts with monovalent ions. Buffers and salts both protected against transient membrane disruption in E. coli, but the molar concentrations necessary for membrane protection were much lower for phosphate and Na2SO4 than for HEPES and NaCl. Possible protective mechanisms discussed include effects of electrolytes on water compressibility and kosmotropic and specific ion effects. The results of this systematic study will be of considerable practical significance in studies of pressure inactivation of microbes under defined conditions but also raise important fundamental questions regarding the mechanisms of baroprotection by ionic solutes.
PMCID: PMC3697583  PMID: 23624471
24.  Sorption of Heavy Metals to the Filamentous Bacterium Thiothrix Strain A1 
A study was undertaken to determine the ability of the filamentous bacterium Thiothrix strain A1 to sorb heavy metals from solution. Cells of Thiothrix strain A1 were harvested, washed, and suspended in solutions of metals. After an equilibration period, biomass was separated from solution and the metal content in acid-digested cells and/or filtrates was determined by atomic absorption spectrophotometry. Sorption of nickel and zinc was very rapid; most of the sorbed metal was bound in less than 10 min. The sorption data for copper fit the Freundlich isotherm, and nickel and zinc data fit biphasic Freundlich isotherms. Sorption of both nickel and zinc was dependent on cell age. Cells harvested 24 h after inoculation sorbed approximately one-half of the amount of metal per gram cell protein than did cells harvested after 48, 72, or 96 h. Calcium and magnesium effectively competed with zinc for binding sites, whereas potassium had only a slight effect on the capacity of cells to sorb zinc. The primary mechanism of metal sorption apparently was ion exchange, because 66 to 75% of nickel or zinc could be desorbed by placing metal-laden cells in a solution of 5 mM CaCl2. A competition experiment with nickel and zinc indicated that both metals occupied the same sorption sites. The strong chelating agents EDTA and NTA effectively prevented metal uptake, but lactate enhanced the uptake of nickel. Thiothrix strain A1 grown in nickel-containing medium had a relatively low uptake of nickel compared with uptake by resting cells suspended in a simple buffer solution.
PMCID: PMC182077  PMID: 16348924
25.  Comparative Evaluation of Metal Ions Release from Titanium and Ti-6Al-7Nb into Bio-Fluids 
Dental Research Journal  2009;6(1):7-11.
The study was designed to investigate the effects of pH, chloride ions and nature of some bio-fluids on the amount of metal ions released from titanium and TiAl6Nb7 plates following incubation in actual and simulated bio-fluids over time.
The amounts of released metal ions from commercially pure titanium (CpTi) and TiAl6Nb7of surgical grade on immersion in 20 mL Hank’s solution of pH 4.0 or 7.0, Hank’s solution of high chloride ions concentration, Whole Blood Serum (WBS) and Phosphate Buffered Saline (PBS) at 37° C were determined over an incubation time of 20 weeks using atomic absorption spectrophotometry. The levels of released metal ions were compared by two-way ANOVA and Duncan’s post-hoc tests. The amounts of titanium ions released by the samples were analyzed by Pearson’s correlation.
TiAl6Nb7 plate showed no release of Ti ions into the test solutions until after 12 weeks of incubation, while Ti ions were released from the CpTi plate from the 1 day immersion time. The release of measurable amount of Al ions from TiAl6Nb7was after 12 weeks of incubation. The rate of release of Ti and Al ions from the samples increased initially with incubation time and then stabilized due to adsorption-desorption equilibrium.
The results showed that variations in pH and chloride ions of the test media has a significant effect on the amounts of Ti ions released, while increase in chloride ions concentration significantly elevates the release of Al ions into the biofluids.
PMCID: PMC3075453  PMID: 21528023
Biocompatibility; corrosion; ions; pH; titanium

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