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1.  The adhesion of mussel foot protein-3 to TiO2 surfaces: the effect of pH 
Biomacromolecules  2013;14(4):1072-1077.
The underwater adhesion of marine mussels relies on mussel foot proteins (mfps) rich in the catecholic amino acid 3, 4-dihydroxyphenylalanine (Dopa). As a side-chain, Dopa is capable of strong bidentate interactions with a variety of surfaces, including many minerals and metal oxides. Titanium is among the most widely used medical implant material and quickly forms a TiO2 passivation layer under physiological conditions. Understanding the binding mechanism of Dopa to TiO2 surfaces is therefore of considerable theoretical and practical interest. Using a surface forces apparatus, we explored the force-distance profiles and adhesion energies of mussel foot protein 3 (mfp-3) to TiO2 surfaces at three different pHs (pH3, 5.5 and 7.5). At pH3, mfp-3 showed the strongest adhesion force on TiO2, with an adhesion energy of ~ −7.0 mJ/m2. Increasing the pH gives rise to two opposing effects: (1) increased oxidation of Dopa, thus decreasing availability for the Dopa-mediated adhesion, and (2) increased bidentate Dopa-Ti coordination, leading to the further stabilization of the Dopa group and thus an increasing of adhesion force. Both effects were reflected in the resonance-enhanced Raman spectra obtained at the three deposition pHs. The two competing effects give rise to a higher adhesion force of mfp-3 on TiO2 surface at pH 7.5 than at pH 5.5. Our results suggest that Dopa-containing proteins and synthetic polymers have great potential as coating materials for medical implant materials, particularly if redox activity can be controlled.
PMCID: PMC3635841  PMID: 23452271
2.  Boronate Complex Formation with Dopa Containing Mussel Adhesive Protein Retards pH-Induced Oxidation and Enables Adhesion to Mica 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(10):e108869.
The biochemistry of mussel adhesion has inspired the design of surface primers, adhesives, coatings and gels for technological applications. These mussel-inspired systems often focus on incorporating the amino acid 3,4-dihydroxyphenyl-L-alanine (Dopa) or a catecholic analog into a polymer. Unfortunately, effective use of Dopa is compromised by its susceptibility to auto-oxidation at neutral pH. Oxidation can lead to loss of adhesive function and undesired covalent cross-linking. Mussel foot protein 5 (Mfp-5), which contains ∼30 mole % Dopa, is a superb adhesive under reducing conditions but becomes nonadhesive after pH-induced oxidation. Here we report that the bidentate complexation of borate by Dopa to form a catecholato-boronate can be exploited to retard oxidation. Although exposure of Mfp-5 to neutral pH typically oxidizes Dopa, resulting in a>95% decrease in adhesion, inclusion of borate retards oxidation at the same pH. Remarkably, this Dopa-boronate complex dissociates upon contact with mica to allow for a reversible Dopa-mediated adhesion. The borate protection strategy allows for Dopa redox stability and maintained adhesive function in an otherwise oxidizing environment.
PMCID: PMC4193769  PMID: 25303409
3.  Hydrophobic enhancement of Dopa-mediated adhesion in a mussel foot protein 
Dopa (3,4-dihydroxyphenylalanine) is recognized as a key chemical signature of mussel adhesion and has been adopted into diverse synthetic polymer systems. Dopa’s notorious susceptibility to oxidation, however, poses significant challenges to the practical translation of mussel adhesion. Using a Surface Forces Apparatus to investigate the adhesion of Mfp3 (mussel foot protein 3) slow, a hydrophobic protein variant of the Mfp3 family in the plaque, we have discovered a subtle molecular strategy correlated with hydrophobicity that appears to compensate for Dopa instability. At pH 3, where Dopa is stable, Mfp3 slow like Mfp3 fast adhesion to mica is directly proportional to the mol% of Dopa present in the protein. At pH 5.5 and 7.5, however, loss of adhesion in Mfp3 slow was less than half that occurring in Mfp3 fast, purportedly because Dopa in Mfp3 slow is less prone to oxidation. Indeed, cyclic voltammetry showed that the oxidation potential of Dopa in Mfp3 slow is significantly higher than in Mfp3 fast at pH 7.5. A much greater difference between the two variants was revealed in the interaction energy of two symmetric Mfp3 slow films (Ead = −3 mJ/m2). This energy corresponds to the energy of protein cohesion which is notable for its reversibility and pH-independence. Exploitation of aromatic hydrophobic sequences to protect Dopa against oxidation as well as to mediate hydrophobic and H-bonding interactions between proteins provides new insights for developing effective artificial underwater adhesives.
PMCID: PMC3587158  PMID: 23214725
4.  The Contribution of DOPA to Substrate–Peptide Adhesion and Internal Cohesion of Mussel-Inspired Synthetic Peptide Films 
Advanced functional materials  2010;20(23):4196-4205.
Mussels use a variety of 3, 4-dihydroxyphenyl-l-alanine (DOPA) rich proteins specifically tailored to adhering to wet surfaces. Synthetic polypeptide analogues of adhesive mussel foot proteins (specifically mfp-3) are used to study the role of DOPA in adhesion. The mussel-inspired peptide is a random copolymer of DOPA and N5 -(2-hydroxyethyl)-l-glutamine synthesized with DOPA concentrations of 0–27 mol% and molecular weights of 5.9–7.1 kDa. Thin films (3–5 nm thick) of the mussel-inspired peptide are used in the surface forces apparatus (SFA) to measure the force–distance profiles and adhesion and cohesion energies of the films in an acetate buffer. The adhesion energies of the mussel-inspired peptide films to mica and TiO2 surfaces increase with DOPA concentration. The adhesion energy to mica is 0.09 μJ m−2 molDOPA−1 and does not depend on contact time or load. The adhesion energy to TiO2 is 0.29 μJ m−2 molDOPA−1 for short contact times and increases to 0.51 μJ m−2 molDOPA−1 for contact times >60 min in a way suggestive of a phase transition within the film. Oxidation of DOPA to the quinone form, either by addition of periodate or by increasing the pH, increases the thickness and reduces the cohesion of the films. Adding thiol containing polymers between the oxidized films recovers some of the cohesion strength. Comparison of the mussel-inspired peptide films to previous studies on mfp-3 thin films show that the strong adhesion and cohesion in mfp-3 films can be attributed to DOPA groups favorably oriented within or at the interface of these films.
PMCID: PMC3098815  PMID: 21603098
5.  Antioxidant Efficacy and Adhesion Rescue by a Recombinant Mussel Foot Protein-6 
Biotechnology progress  2013;29(6):10.1002/btpr.1810.
Mytilus foot protein type 6 (mfp-6) is crucial for maintaining the reducing conditions needed for optimal wet adhesion in marine mussels. In this report we describe the expression and production of a recombinant Mytilus californianus foot protein type 6 variant 1 (rmfp-6.1) fused with a hexa-histidine affinity tag in Escherichia coli and its purification by affinity chromatography. Recombinant mfp-6 showed high purification yields of 5–6 mg/L cell culture and excellent solubility in low pH buffers that retard oxidation of its many thiol groups. Purified rmfp-6.1 protein showed high DPPH radical scavenging activity as compared to Vitamin C. Using the highly sensitive surface force apparatus (SFA) technique to measure interfacial surface forces in the nanoNewton range we show that rmfp-6.1 is also able to rescue the oxidation-dependent adhesion loss of mussel foot protein 3 (mfp-3) at pH 3. The adhesion rescue is related to a reduction of dopaquinone back to DOPA in mfp-3 which is the reverse reaction observed during the detrimental enzymatic browning process in fruits and vegetables. Broadly viewed, rmfp-6.1 has potential as a versatile antioxidant for applications ranging from personal products to anti-spoilants for perishable foods during processing and storage.
PMCID: PMC3864665  PMID: 24106182
Adhesion rescue; antioxidant; DOPA oxidation; recombinant mussel protein; thiol
6.  Adhesion mechanism in a DOPA-deficient foot protein from green mussels† 
Soft matter  2012;8(20):5640-5648.
The holdfast or byssus of Asian green mussels, Perna viridis, contains a foot protein, pvfp-1, that differs in two respects from all other known adhesive mussel foot proteins (mfp): (1) instead of the hallmark L-3,4-dihydroxyphenylalanine (DOPA) residues in mfp-1, for example, pvfp-1 contains C2-mannosyl-7-hydroxytryptophan (Man7OHTrp). (2) In addition, pvfp-1 chains are not monomeric like mfp-1 but trimerized by collagen and coiled-coil domains near the carboxy terminus after a typical domain of tandemly repeated decapeptides. Here, the contribution of these peculiarities to adhesion was examined using a surface forces apparatus (SFA). Unlike previously studied mfp-1s, pvfp-1 showed significant adhesion to mica and, in symmetric pvfp-1 films, substantial cohesive interactions were present at pH 5.5. The role of Man7OHTrp in adhesion is not clear, and a DOPA-like role for Man7OHTrp in metal complexation (e.g., Cu2+, Fe3+) was not observed. Instead, cation–π interactions with low desolvation penalty between Man7OHTrp and lysyl side chains and conformational changes (raveling and unraveling of collagen helix and coiled-coil domains) are the best explanations for the strong adhesion between pvfp-1 monomolecular films. The strong adhesion mechanism induced by cation–π interactions and conformational changes in pvfp-1 provides new insights for the development of biomimetic underwater adhesives.
PMCID: PMC3482130  PMID: 23105946
7.  Mini-review: The role of redox in DOPA-mediated marine adhesion 
Biofouling  2012;28(8):865-877.
3, 4-Dihydroxyphenylanine (Dopa)-containing proteins are key to wet adhesion in mussels and possibly other sessile organisms also. However, Dopa-mediated adhesive bonding is a hard act to follow in that, at least in mussels, bonding depends on Dopa in both reduced and oxidized forms, for adhesion and cohesion, respectively. Given the vulnerability of Dopa to spontaneous oxidation, the most significant challenge to using it in practical adhesion is controlling Dopa redox in a temporally- and spatially defined manner. Mussels appear to achieve such control in their byssal attachment plaques, and factors involved in redox control can be measured with precision using redox probes such as the diphenylpicryl hydrazyl (DPPH) free radical. Understanding the specifics of natural redox control may provide fundamentally important insights for adhesive polymer engineering and antifouling strategies.
PMCID: PMC3463409  PMID: 22924420
Mytilus; byssus; 3, 4-dihydroxyphenylalanine; anti-oxidant; wet adhesion
8.  Self-Assembly and Adhesion of DOPA-Modified Methacrylic Triblock Hydrogels 
Biomacromolecules  2007;9(1):122-128.
Marine mussels anchor to a variety of surfaces by secreting liquid proteins that harden and form water-resistant bonds to a variety of surfaces. Studies have revealed that these mussel adhesive proteins contain an unusual amino acid, 3,4-dihydroxy-L-phenylalanine (DOPA), which is believed to be responsible for the cohesive and adhesive properties of these proteins. To separate the cohesive and adhesive roles of DOPA, we incorporated DOPA into the midblock of poly(methyl methacrylate)–poly(methacrylic acid)–poly(methyl methacrylate) (PMMA–PMAA–PMMA) triblock copolymers. Self-assembled hydrogels were obtained by exposing triblock copolymer solutions in dimethyl sulfoxide to water vapor. As water diffused into the solution, the hydrophobic end blocks formed aggregates that were bridged by the water-soluble midblocks. Strong hydrogels were formed with polymer weight fractions between 0.01 and 0.4 and with shear moduli between 1 and 5 kPa. The adhesive properties of the hydrogels on TiO2 surfaces were investigated by indentation with a flat-ended cylindrical punch. At pH values of 6 and 7.4, the fully protonated DOPA groups were highly adhesive to the TiO2 surfaces, giving values of ≈2 J/m2 for the interfacial fracture energy, which we believe corresponds to the cohesive fracture energy of the hydrogel. At these pH values, the DOPA groups are hydrophobic and have a tendency to aggregate, so contact times of 10 or 20 min are required for these high values of the interfacial strength to be observed. At a pH of 10, the DOPA groups were hydrophilic and highly swellable, but less adhesive gels were formed. Oxidation of DOPA groups, a process that is greatly accelerated at a pH of 10, decreased the adhesive performance of the hydrogels even further.
PMCID: PMC3066146  PMID: 18047285
9.  Adhesion of Mussel Foot Protein Mefp-5 to Mica: An Underwater Superglue† 
Biochemistry  2012;51(33):6511-6518.
Mussels have a remarkable ability to attach their holdfast, or byssus, opportunistically to a variety of substrata that are wet, saline, corroded, and/or fouled by biofilms. Mytilus edulis foot protein-5 (Mefp-5) is one of several proteins in the byssal adhesive plaque of the mussel M. edulis. The high content of 3,4 dihydroxyphenylalanine (Dopa) (~30 mol%) and its localization near the plaque-substrate interface have often prompted speculation that Mefp-5 plays a key role in adhesion. Using the surface forces apparatus, we show that on mica surfaces Mefp-5 achieves an adhesion energy approaching Ead = ~− 14 mJ/m2. This exceeds the adhesion energy of another interfacial protein, Mefp-3, by a factor of 4–5 and is greater than the adhesion between highly oriented monolayers of biotin and streptavidin. The adhesion to mica is notable for its dependence on Dopa, which is most stable under reducing conditions and acidic pH. Mefp-5 also exhibits strong protein-protein interactions with itself as well as with Mefp-3 from M. edulis.
PMCID: PMC3428132  PMID: 22873939
10.  Coating Proteins: Structure and Cross-Linking in fp-1 from the Green Shell Mussel Perna canaliculus†‡ 
Biochemistry  2005;44(48):15915-15923.
The protein family known as fp-1 provides mussel byssus with a protective outer coating and has drawn much attention for its water resistant bioadhesive properties in vitro. A new fp-l isolated from the green shell mussel Perna canaliculus (pcfp-1) reveals a composition dominated by only four amino acids: 3,4-dihydroxyphenyl-L-alanine (dopa), lysine, proline, and valine at ~20 mol % each. SDS–PAGE and MALDI-TOF mass spectrometry detected size variants at 48 and 52 kDa in preparations of purified Pcfp-1. The N-terminal sequence enabled construction of oligonucleotide primers for PCR and RACE-derived cDNAs from which the complete sequence of four variants was deduced. pcfp-1 deviates from all known homologues in other mussels in several notable respects: its mass is half, most of its sequence is represented by 75 tandem repeats of a tetrapeptide, i.e., PY*VK, in which Y* is dopa, prolines are not hydroxylated, and thiolate cysteines are clustered in homologous sequences at both the amino and carboxy termini. Amino acids in the repeat sequence show a striking resemblance to proline-rich cell wall proteins with tandemly repeated PPVYK pentapeptides [Hong, J. C., Nagao, R. T., and Key, J. L. (1987) J. Biol. Chem. 262, 8367–8376]. Cysteine plays a key role in cross-linking pcfp-1 by forming adducts with dopaquinone. Significant 5-S-cysteinyldopa and smaller amounts of 2-S-cysteinyldopa were detected in hydrolysates of the byssal threads of P. canaliculus. The cross-links could also be formed by oxidation of pcfp-1 in vitro using mushroom tyrosinase. Cysteinyldopa cross-links were present in trace amounts only in the byssus of other mussel species.
PMCID: PMC1892533  PMID: 16313194
11.  Mussel-Inspired Silver-Releasing Antibacterial Hydrogels 
Biomaterials  2012;33(15):3783-3791.
A silver-releasing antibacterial hydrogel was developed that simultaneously allowed for silver nanoparticle formation and gel curing. Water-soluble polyethylene glycol (PEG) polymers were synthesized that contain reactive catechol moieties, inspired by mussel adhesive proteins, where the catechol containing amino acid 3,4-dihydroxyphenylalanine (DOPA) plays an important role in the ability of the mussel to adhere to almost any surface in an aqueous environment. We utilized silver nitrate to oxidize polymer catechols, leading to covalent cross-linking and hydrogel formation with simultaneous reduction of Ag(I). Silver release was sustained for periods of at least two weeks in PBS solution. Hydrogels were found to inhibit bacterial growth, consistent with the well-known antibacterial properties of silver, while not significantly affecting mammalian cell viability. In addition, thin hydrogel films were found to resist bacterial and mammalian cell attachment, consistent with the antifouling properties of PEG. We believe these materials have a strong potential for antibacterial biomaterial coatings and tissue adhesives, due to the material-independent adhesive properties of catechols.
PMCID: PMC3367767  PMID: 22374454
12.  Thermal gelation and tissue adhesion of biomimetic hydrogels 
Marine and freshwater mussels are notorious foulers of natural and manmade surfaces, secreting specialized protein adhesives for rapid and durable attachment to wet substrates. Given the strong and water-resistant nature of mussel adhesive proteins, significant potential exists for mimicking their adhesive characteristics in bioinspired synthetic polymer materials. An important component of these proteins is L-3,4-dihydroxylphenylalanine (DOPA), an amino acid believed to contribute to mussel glue solidification through oxidation and crosslinking reactions. Synthetic polymers containing DOPA residues have previously been shown to crosslink into hydrogels upon the introduction of oxidizing reagents. Here we introduce a strategy for stimuli responsive gel formation of mussel adhesive protein mimetic polymers. Lipid vesicles with a bilayer melting transition of 37 °C were designed from a mixture of dipalmitoyl and dimyristoyl phosphatidylcholines and exploited for the release of a sequestered oxidizing reagent upon heating from ambient to physiologic temperature. Colorimetric studies indicated that sodium-periodate-loaded liposomes released their cargo at the phase transition temperature, and when used in conjunction with a DOPA-functionalized poly(ethylene glycol) polymer gave rise to rapid solidification of a crosslinked polymer hydrogel. The tissue adhesive properties of this biomimetic system were determined by in situ thermal gelation of liposome/polymer hydrogel between two porcine dermal tissue surfaces. Bond strength measurements showed that the bond formed by the adhesive hydrogel (mean = 35.1 kPa, SD = 12.5 kPa, n = 11) was several times stronger than a fibrin glue control tested under the same conditions. The results suggest a possible use of this biomimetic strategy for repair of soft tissues.
PMCID: PMC2586897  PMID: 18458476
13.  Adhesion of DOPA-Functionalized Model Membranes to Hard and Soft Surfaces 
The Journal of adhesion  2009;85(9):631-645.
The adhesive proteins secreted by marine mussels form a natural glue that cures rapidly to form strong and durable bonds in aqueous environments. These mussel adhesive proteins contain an unusual amino acid, 3,4-dihydroxy-L-phenylalanine (DOPA), which is largely responsible for their cohesive and adhesive strengths. In this study, we incorporated DOPA into diblock and triblock polymers and developed a membrane contact experiment to assess the adhesive interactions of these materials with TiO2 and tissue surfaces. In a typical experiment a micrometer-thick DOPA-functionalized elastomeric membrane is attached to the end of a cylindrical glass tube. Application of a positive pressure to the tube brings the membrane into contact with the surface of interest. The negative pressure needed to separate the membrane from the substrate is a measure of the strength of the adhesive interaction. The test confirms previous results obtained with TiO2 substrates. Because the membrane geometry is well suited for rough or chemically heterogeneous surfaces, it is ideal for studies of tissue adhesion. DOPA was found to give strong adhesion to tissue surfaces, with the strongest adhesion obtained when the DOPA groups were oxidized while in contact with the tissue surface.
PMCID: PMC3066440  PMID: 21461121
Block Copolymers; DOPA; Marine Mussel Mimetics; Membrane; Tissue Adhesion
14.  Mussel foot protein-1 (mcfp-1) interaction with titania surfaces† 
Journal of materials chemistry  2012;22(31):15530-15533.
Marine mussels utilize a variety of DOPA-rich proteins for purposes of underwater adhesion, as well as for creating hard and flexible surface coatings for their tough and stretchy byssal fibers. In the present study, moderately strong, yet reversible wet adhesion between the protective mussel coating protein, mcfp-1, and amorphous titania was measured with a surface force apparatus (SFA). In parallel, resonance Raman spectroscopy was employed to identify the presence of bidentate DOPA–Ti coordination bonds at the TiO2–protein interface, suggesting that catechol–TiO2 complexation contributes to the observed reversible wet adhesion. These results have important implications for the design of protective coatings on TiO2.
PMCID: PMC3478952  PMID: 23100857
15.  Polymer Composition and Substrate Influences on the Adhesive Bonding of a Biomimetic, Cross-Linking Polymer 
Hierarchical biological materials such as bone, sea shells, and marine bioadhesives are providing inspiration for the assembly of synthetic molecules into complex structures. The adhesive system of marine mussels has been the focus of much attention in recent years. Several catechol-containing polymers are being developed to mimic the cross-linking of proteins containing 3,4-dihydroxyphenylalanine (DOPA) used by shellfish for sticking to rocks. Many of these biomimetic polymer systems have been shown to form surface coatings or hydrogels, however bulk adhesion is demonstrated less often. Developing adhesives requires addressing design issues including finding a good balance between cohesive and adhesive bonding interactions. Despite the growing number of mussel mimicking polymers, there has been little effort to generate structure-property relations and gain insights on what chemical traits give rise to the best glues. In this report, we examined the simplest of these biomimetic polymers, poly[(3,4-dihydroxystyrene)-co-styrene]. Pendant catechol groups (i.e., 3,4-dihydroxystyrene) were distributed throughout a polystyrene backbone. Several polymer derivatives were prepared, each with a different 3,4-dihyroxystyrene content. Bulk adhesion testing showed where the optimal middle ground of cohesive and adhesive bonding resides. Adhesive performance was benchmarked against commercial glues as well as the genuine material produced by live mussels. In the best case, bonding was similar to cyanoacrylate “Krazy” or “Super” glue. Performance was also examined using low (e.g., plastics) and high (e.g., metals, wood) energy surfaces. Adhesive bonding of poly[(3,4-dihydroxystyrene)-co-styrene] may be the strongest of reported mussel protein mimics. These insights should help us to design future biomimetic systems, thereby bringing us closer to development of bone cements, dental composites, and surgical glues.
PMCID: PMC3415564  PMID: 22582754
16.  Preparation of Sticky Escherichia coli through Surface Display of an Adhesive Catecholamine Moiety 
Mussels attach to virtually all types of inorganic and organic surfaces in aqueous environments, and catecholamines composed of 3,4-dihydroxy-l-phenylalanine (DOPA), lysine, and histidine in mussel adhesive proteins play a key role in the robust adhesion. DOPA is an unusual catecholic amino acid, and its side chain is called catechol. In this study, we displayed the adhesive moiety of DOPA-histidine on Escherichia coli surfaces using outer membrane protein W as an anchoring motif for the first time. Localization of catecholamines on the cell surface was confirmed by Western blot and immunofluorescence microscopy. Furthermore, cell-to-cell cohesion (i.e., cellular aggregation) induced by the displayed catecholamine and synthesis of gold nanoparticles on the cell surface support functional display of adhesive catecholamines. The engineered E. coli exhibited significant adhesion onto various material surfaces, including silica and glass microparticles, gold, titanium, silicon, poly(ethylene terephthalate), poly(urethane), and poly(dimethylsiloxane). The uniqueness of this approach utilizing the engineered sticky E. coli is that no chemistry for cell attachment are necessary, and the ability of spontaneous E. coli attachment allows one to immobilize the cells on challenging material surfaces such as synthetic polymers. Therefore, we envision that mussel-inspired catecholamine yielded sticky E. coli that can be used as a new type of engineered microbe for various emerging fields, such as whole living cell attachment on versatile material surfaces, cell-to-cell communication systems, and many others.
PMCID: PMC3911018  PMID: 24123747
17.  Adhesion of mussel foot proteins to different substrate surfaces 
Mussel foot proteins (mfps) have been investigated as a source of inspiration for the design of underwater coatings and adhesives. Recent analysis of various mfps by a surface forces apparatus (SFA) revealed that mfp-1 functions as a coating, whereas mfp-3 and mfp-5 resemble adhesive primers on mica surfaces. To further refine and elaborate the surface properties of mfps, the force–distance profiles of the interactions between thin mfp (i.e. mfp-1, mfp-3 or mfp-5) films and four different surface chemistries, namely mica, silicon dioxide, polymethylmethacrylate and polystyrene, were measured by an SFA. The results indicate that the adhesion was exquisitely dependent on the mfp tested, the substrate surface chemistry and the contact time. Such studies are essential for understanding the adhesive versatility of mfps and related/similar adhesion proteins, and for translating this versatility into a new generation of coatings and (including in vivo) adhesive materials.
PMCID: PMC3565691  PMID: 23173195
mussel foot proteins; coatings and adhesives; molecular interactions; surface forces; bioadhesion
18.  Augmentation of post-swelling surgical sealant potential of adhesive hydrogels 
Two-component hydrogels formed with star polyethylene glycol amine and linear dextran aldehyde polymers (PEG:dextran) show promise as tissue-specific surgical sealants. There is however a significant loss of adhesion strength to soft tissues following PEG:dextran swelling, which may limit material ability to appose disjoined tissues and prevent leakage from surgical sites. We covalently incorporated the modified amino acid l-3,4-dihydroxyphenylalanine (l-DOPA) into PEG:dextran to enhance post-swelling sealant performance. l-DOPA is an essential component of marine animal adhesive plaques and has been used to confer wet adhesion in synthetic materials. As both PEG:dextran cohesion and adhesion are mediated by aldehyde-amine interactions, l-DOPA side-groups make it a potent network modulator with potential to affect multiple material properties. Following one hour submersion in aqueous media, PEG:dextran doped with 3 mM l-DOPA/M aldehyde on average swelled 50.3% less, had 287.4% greater stiffness and had 53.6% greater functional adhesion strength compared to the neat hydrogel. Increased concentrations of l-DOPA up to 11 mM l-DOPA/M aldehyde similarly curtailed swelling and mitigated property loss with hydration, but sacrificed initial functional adhesion strength, material modulus and biocompatibility. Taken together, these data support tailored l-DOPA conjugation as a promising approach to enhance the clinical performance of PEG:dextran sealants.
PMCID: PMC2988649  PMID: 20878989
Aldehyde; Biocompatibility; Hydrogel; l-3,4-dihydroxyphenylalanine (l-DOPA); Tissue adhesive
19.  l-dopa-induced dopamine synthesis and oxidative stress in serotonergic cells 
Neuropharmacology  2012;67:243-251.
l-dopa is a precursor for dopamine synthesis and a mainstay treatment for Parkinson's disease. However, l-dopa therapy is not without side effects that may be attributed to non-dopaminergic mechanisms. Synthesized dopamine can be neurotoxic through its enzymatic degradation by monoamine oxidase (MAO) to form the reactive byproduct, hydrogen peroxide and hydroxyl radicals or through auto-oxidation to form highly reactive quinones that can bind proteins and render them non-functional. Since l-dopa could be decarboxylated by aromatic amino acid decarboxylase (AADC) present within both dopamine and serotonin neurons, it was hypothesized that serotonin neurons convert l-dopa into dopamine to generate excessive reactive oxygen species and quinoproteins that ultimately lead to serotonin neuron death. To examine the effects of l-dopa on serotonin neurons, the RN46A-B14 cell line was used. These immortalized serotonergic cell cultures were terminally differentiated and then incubated with varying concentrations of l-dopa. Results show that RN46A-B14 cells contain AADC and can synthesize dopamine after incubation with l-dopa. Furthermore, l-dopa dose-dependently increased intracellular reactive oxygen species (ROS) and cell death. Dopamine, ROS production and cell death were attenuated by co-incubation with the AADC inhibitor, NSD-1015. The MAO inhibitor, pargyline, also attenuated cell death and ROS after l-dopa treatment. Lastly, quinoprotein formation was enhanced significantly by incubation with l-dopa. Taken together, these data illustrate that serotonergic cells can produce dopamine and that the accumulation of dopamine after l-dopa and its subsequent degradation can lead to ROS production and death of RN46A-B14 serotonergic cells.
PMCID: PMC3638241  PMID: 23196068
L-dopa; Serotonin; Dopamine; Reactive oxygen species; Cell death; RN46A-B14 cells
20.  Levodopa Deactivates Enzymes that Regulate Thiol-Disulfide Homeostasis and Promotes Neuronal Cell Death - Implications for Therapy of Parkinson’s Disease 
Biochemistry  2010;49(12):2715-2724.
Parkinson’s disease (PD), characterized by dopaminergic neuronal loss, is attributed to oxidative stress, diminished glutathione (GSH), mitochondrial dysfunction, and protein aggregation. Treatment of PD involves chronic administration of Levodopa (L-DOPA) which is a pro-oxidant and may disrupt sulfhydryl homeostasis. The goal of current studies is to elucidate the effects of L-DOPA on thiol homeostasis in a model akin to PD, i.e., immortalized dopaminergic neurons (SHSY5Y cells) with diminished GSH content. These neurons exhibit hypersensitivity to L-DOPA-induced cell death, which is attributable to concomitant inhibition of the intracellular thiol disulfide oxidoreductase enzymes. Glutaredoxin (Grx) was deactivated in a dose-dependent fashion; but its content was unaffected. Glutathione disulfide (GSSG) reductase (GR) activity was not altered. Selective knockdown of Grx resulted in increased apoptosis, documenting the role of the Grx system in neuronal survival. L-DOPA treatments also led to decreased activities of thioredoxin (Trx) and thioredoxin reductase (TR), concomitant with diminution of their cellular contents. Selective chemical inhibition of TR activity led to increased apoptosis, documenting the Trx system’s contribution to neuronal viability. To investigate the mechanism of inhibition at the molecular level the isolated enzymes were each treated with oxidized L-DOPA. GR, Trx, and TR activities were little affected. However, Grx was inactivated in a time- and concentration-dependent fashion indicative of irreversible adduction of dopaquinone to its nucleophilic active site Cys-22, consistent with intracellular loss of Grx activity but not Grx protein content after L-DOPA treatment. Overall L-DOPA is shown to impair the collaborative contributions of the Grx and Trx systems to neuron survival.
PMCID: PMC3201939  PMID: 20141169
21.  Molecular identification of differentially regulated genes in the hydrothermal-vent species Bathymodiolus thermophilus and Paralvinella pandorae in response to temperature 
BMC Genomics  2009;10:222.
Hydrothermal vents and cold seeps represent oases of life in the deep-sea environment, but are also characterized by challenging physical and chemical conditions. The effect of temperature fluctuations on vent organisms in their habitat has not been well explored, in particular at a molecular level, most gene expression studies being conducted on coastal marine species. In order to better understand the response of hydrothermal organisms to different temperature regimes, differentially expressed genes (obtained by a subtractive suppression hybridization approach) were identified in the mussel Bathymodiolus thermophilus and the annelid Paralvinella pandorae irlandei to characterize the physiological processes involved when animals are subjected to long term exposure (2 days) at two contrasting temperatures (10° versus 20°C), while maintained at in situ pressures. To avoid a potential effect of pressure, the experimental animals were initially thermally acclimated for 24 hours in a pressurized vessel.
For each species, we produced two subtractive cDNA libraries (forward and reverse) from sets of deep-sea mussels and annelids exposed together to a thermal challenge under pressure. RNA extracted from the gills, adductor muscle, mantle and foot tissue were used for B. thermophilus. For the annelid model, whole animals (small individuals) were used. For each of the four libraries, we sequenced 200 clones, resulting in 78 and 83 unique sequences in mussels and annelids (about 20% of the sequencing effort), respectively, with only half of them corresponding to known genes. Real-time PCR was used to validate differentially expressed genes identified in the corresponding libraries. Strong expression variations have been observed for some specific genes such as the intracellular hemoglobin, the nidogen protein, and Rab7 in P. pandorae, and the SPARC protein, cyclophilin, foot protein and adhesive plaque protein in B. thermophilus.
Our results indicate that mussels and worms are not responding in the same way to temperature variations. While the results obtained for the mussel B. thermophilus seem to indicate a metabolic depression (strong decrease in the level of mRNA expression of numerous genes) when temperature increased, the annelid P. pandorae mainly displayed a strong regulation of the mRNA encoding subunits and linkers of respiratory pigments and some proteins involved in membrane structure. In both cases, these regulations seem to be partly due to a possible cellular oxidative stress induced by the simulated thermal environment (10°C to 20°C). This work will serve as a starting point for studying the transcriptomic response of hydrothermal mussels and annelids in future experiments in response to thermal stress at various conditions of duration and temperature challenge.
PMCID: PMC2689276  PMID: 19439073
22.  In vivo modification of tyrosine residues in recombinant mussel adhesive protein by tyrosinase co-expression in Escherichia coli 
In nature, mussel adhesive proteins (MAPs) show remarkable adhesive properties, biocompatibility, and biodegradability. Thus, they have been considered promising adhesive biomaterials for various biomedical and industrial applications. However, limited production of natural MAPs has hampered their practical applications. Recombinant production in bacterial cells could be one alternative to obtain useable amounts of MAPs, although additional post-translational modification of tyrosine residues into 3,4-dihydroxyphenyl-alanine (Dopa) and Dopaquinone is required. The superior properties of MAPs are mainly attributed to the introduction of quinone-derived intermolecular cross-links. To solve this problem, we utilized a co-expression strategy of recombinant MAP and tyrosinase in Escherichia coli to successfully modify tyrosine residues in vivo.
A recombinant hybrid MAP, fp-151, was used as a target for in vivo modification, and a dual vector system of pET and pACYC-Duet provided co-expression of fp-151 and tyrosinase. As a result, fp-151 was over-expressed and mainly obtained from the soluble fraction in the co-expression system. Without tyrosinase co-expression, fp-151 was over-expressed in an insoluble form in inclusion bodies. The modification of tyrosine residues in the soluble-expressed fp-151 was clearly observed from nitroblue tetrazolium staining and liquid-chromatography-mass/mass spectrometry analyses. The purified, in vivo modified, fp-151 from the co-expression system showed approximately 4-fold higher bulk-scale adhesive strength compared to in vitro tyrosinase-treated fp-151.
Here, we reported a co-expression system to obtain in vivo modified MAP; additional in vitro tyrosinase modification was not needed to obtain adhesive properties and the in vivo modified MAP showed superior adhesive strength compared to in vitro modified protein. It is expected that this co-expression strategy will accelerate the use of functional MAPs in practical applications and can be successfully applied to prepare other Dopa/Dopaquinone-based biomaterials.
PMCID: PMC3533756  PMID: 23095646
Mussel adhesive protein; Dopa; Dopaquinone; In vivo modification; Tyrosinase; Co-expression; Escherichia coli
23.  Levodopa Activates Apoptosis Signaling Kinase 1 (ASK1) and Promotes Apoptosis in a Neuronal Model: Implications for the Treatment of Parkinson's Disease 
Chemical research in toxicology  2011;24(10):1644-1652.
Oxidative stress is implicated in the etiology of Parkinson's disease (PD), the second most common neurodegenerative disease. PD is treated with chronic administration of L-3,4-dihydroxyphenylalanine (Levodopa, L-DOPA), and typically increasing doses are used during progression of the disease. Paradoxically L-DOPA is a pro-oxidant and induces cell death in cellular models of PD through disruption of sulfhydryl homeostasis involving loss of the thiol-disulfide oxidoreductase functions of the glutaredoxin (Grx1) and thioredoxin (Trx1) enzyme systems (Sabens et al. 2010). Considering this loss of both Grx1 and Trx1 activities upon L-DOPA treatment, we sought to elucidate the mechanism(s) of L-DOPA induced apoptosis. In other contexts both the NFκB (nuclear factor κB) pathway and the ASK1 (apoptosis signaling kinase 1) pathway have been shown to be regulated by both Grx1 and Trx1, and both pathways have been implicated in cell death signaling in model systems of PD. Moreover, mixed lineage kinase (MLK) has been considered as a potential therapeutic target for PD. Using SHSY5Y cells as model dopaminergic neurons we found that NFκB activity was not altered by L-DOPA treatment, and the selective MLK inhibitor (CEP-1347) did not protect the cells from L-DOPA. In contrast, ASK1 was activated with L-DOPA treatment as indicated by phosphorylation of its downstream mitogen activated protein kinases (MAPK), p38 and JNK. Chemical inhibition of either p38 or JNK provided protection from L-DOPA induced apoptosis. Moreover, direct knockdown of ASK1 protected from L-DOPA induced neuronal cell death. These results identify ASK1 as the main pro-apoptotic pathway activated in response to L-DOPA treatment, implicating it as a potential target for adjunct therapy in PD.
PMCID: PMC3196761  PMID: 21815648
24.  Natural Underwater Adhesives 
The general topic of this review is protein-based underwater adhesives produced by aquatic organisms. The focus is on mechanisms of interfacial adhesion to native surfaces and controlled underwater solidification of natural water-borne adhesives. Four genera that exemplify the broad range of function, general mechanistic features, and unique adaptations are discussed in detail: blue mussels, acorn barnacles, sandcastle worms, and freshwater caddisfly larva. Aquatic surfaces in nature are charged and in equilibrium with their environment, populated by an electrical double layer of ions as well as adsorbed natural polyelectrolytes and microbial biofilms. Surface adsorption of underwater bioadhesives likely occurs by exchange of surface bound ligands by amino acid sidechains, driven primarily by relative affinities and effective concentrations of polymeric functional groups. Most aquatic organisms exploit modified amino acid sidechains, in particular phosphorylated serines and hydroxylated tyrosines (dopa), with high-surface affinity that form coordinative surface complexes. After delivery to the surfaces as a fluid, permanent natural adhesives solidify to bear sustained loads. Mussel plaques are assembled in a manner superficially reminiscent of in vitro layer-by-layer strategies, with sequentially delivered layers associated through Fe(dopa)3 coordination bonds. The adhesives of sandcastle worms, caddisfly larva, and barnacles may be delivered in a form somewhat similar to in vitro complex coacervation. Marine adhesives are secreted, or excreted, into seawater that has a significantly higher pH and ionic strength than the internal environment. Empirical evidence suggests these environment triggers could provide minimalistic, fail-safe timing mechanisms to prevent premature solidification (insolubilization) of the glue within the secretory system, yet allow rapid solidification after secretion. Underwater bioadhesives are further strengthened by secondary covalent curing.
PMCID: PMC3104275  PMID: 21643511
adhesives; biomimetic; biopolymers
25.  Roles of Tyrosine-Rich Precursor Glycoproteins and Dityrosine- and 3,4-Dihydroxyphenylalanine-Mediated Protein Cross-Linking in Development of the Oocyst Wall in the Coccidian Parasite Eimeria maxima 
Eukaryotic Cell  2003;2(3):456-464.
The oocyst wall of apicomplexan parasites protects them from the harsh external environment, preserving their survival prior to transmission to the next host. If oocyst wall formation could be disrupted, then logically, the cycle of disease transmission could be stopped, and strategies to control infection by several organisms of medical and veterinary importance such as Eimeria, Plasmodium, Toxoplasma, Cyclospora, and Neospora could be developed. Here, we show that two tyrosine-rich precursor glycoproteins, gam56 and gam82, found in specialized organelles (wall-forming bodies) in the sexual stage (macrogamete) of Eimeria maxima are proteolytically processed into smaller glycoproteins, which are then incorporated into the developing oocyst wall. The identification of high concentrations of dityrosine and 3,4-dihydroxyphenylalanine (DOPA) in oocyst extracts by high-pressure liquid chromatography, together with the detection of a UV autofluorescence in intact oocysts, implicates dityrosine- and possibly DOPA-protein cross-links in oocyst wall hardening. In addition, the identification of peroxidase activity in the wall-forming bodies of macrogametes supports the hypothesis that dityrosine- and DOPA-mediated cross-linking might be an enzyme-catalyzed event. As such, the mechanism of oocyst wall formation in Eimeria, is analogous to the underlying mechanisms involved in the stabilization of extracellular matrices in a number of organisms, widely distributed in nature, including insect resilin, nematode cuticles, yeast cell walls, mussel byssal threads, and sea urchin fertilization membranes.
PMCID: PMC161462  PMID: 12796290

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