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26.  The effect of amino acid deletions and substitutions in the longest loop of GFP 
Background
The effect of single and multiple amino acid substitutions in the green fluorescent protein (GFP) from Aequorea victoria has been extensively explored, yielding several proteins of diverse spectral properties. However, the role of amino acid deletions in this protein -as with most proteins- is still unknown, due to the technical difficulties involved in generating combinatorial in-phase amino acid deletions on a target region.
Results
In this study, the region I129-L142 of superglo GFP (sgGFP), corresponding to the longest loop of the protein and located far away from the central chromophore, was subjected to a random amino acid deletion approach, employing an in-house recently developed mutagenesis method termed Codon-Based Random Deletion (COBARDE). Only two mutants out of 16384 possible variant proteins retained fluorescence: sgGFP-Δ I129 and sgGFP-Δ D130. Interestingly, both mutants were thermosensitive and at 30°C sgGFP-Δ D130 was more fluorescent than the parent protein. In contrast with deletions, substitutions of single amino acids from residues F131 to L142 were well tolerated. The substitution analysis revealed a particular importance of residues F131, G135, I137, L138, H140 and L142 for the stability of the protein.
Conclusion
The behavior of GFP variants with both amino acid deletions and substitutions demonstrate that this loop is playing an important structural role in GFP folding. Some of the amino acids which tolerated any substitution but no deletion are simply acting as "spacers" to localize important residues in the protein structure.
doi:10.1186/1472-6769-7-1
PMCID: PMC1919350  PMID: 17594481
27.  Studies on the synthesis, characterization, binding with DNA and activities of two cis-planaramineplatinum(II) complexes of the form: cis-PtL(NH3)Cl2 where L = 3-hydroxypyridine and 2,3-diaminopyridine 
Background
Cis-planaramineplatinum(II) complexes like their trans isomers are often found to be active against cancer cell lines. The present study deals with the synthesis, characterization and determination of activity of new cis-planaramineplatinum(II) complexes.
Results
Two cis-planaramineplatinum(II) complexes: cis-(3-hydroxypyridine)(ammine)dichloroplatinum(II) (code named AH3) and cis-(2,3-diaminopyridine)(ammine)dichloroplatinum(II) (code named AH7) have been prepared and characterised based on elemental analyses, IR, Raman, mass and 1H NMR spectral measurements. The interactions of the compounds with pBR322 plasmid DNA have been investigated and their activity against ovarian cancer cell lines: A2780, A2780cisR and A2780ZD047Rhave been determined. Like cisplatin, AH3 and AH7 are believed to form mainly monofunctional N7(G) and bifunctional intrastrand N7(G)N7(G) adducts with DNA, causing a local distortion of a DNA strand. As a result, gel mobility of the DNA changes. Both AH3 and AH7 are found to be less active than cisplatin against the three cell lines with AH3 being the more active compound of the two. The higher activity of AH3 is in line with its lower molar conductivity value corresponding to a lower degree of dissociation.
Conclusion
The differences in activity of AH3, AH7 and cisplatin against the cell lines illustrate structure-activity relationship.
doi:10.1186/1472-6769-6-3
PMCID: PMC1431574  PMID: 16533399
28.  Small-molecule and mutational analysis of allosteric Eg5 inhibition by monastrol 
Background
A recent crystal structure of monastrol in a ternary complex with the kinesin Eg5 motor domain highlights a novel, induced-fit drug binding site at atomic resolution. Mutational obliteration of the monastrol binding site results in a monastrol-resistant, but otherwise catalytically active Eg5 motor domain. However, considering the conformational changes at this site, it is unclear what specific interactions stabilize the interaction between monastrol and the Eg5 motor domain.
Results
To study the molecular complementarity of the monastrol-Eg5 interaction, we used a combination of synthetic chemistry and targeted mutations in Eg5 to measure the contribution of specific contacts to inhibition of Eg5 in vitro and in cultured cells. Structure-activity data on chemical derivatives, sequence analysis of Eg5 homologs from different species, and the effect of mutations near the drug binding site were consistent with the crystal structure.
Conclusion
The mechanism of monastrol revealed by our data rationalizes its specificity for Eg5 over other kinesins and highlights a potential mechanism of drug resistance for anti-cancer therapy targeting this site in Eg5.
doi:10.1186/1472-6769-6-2
PMCID: PMC1448180  PMID: 16504166
29.  Uncharged isocoumarin-based inhibitors of urokinase-type plasminogen activator 
Background
Urokinase-type plasminogen activator (uPA) plays a major role in extracellular proteolytic events associated with tumor cell growth, migration and angiogenesis. Consequently, uPA is an attractive target for the development of small molecule active site inhibitors. Most of the recent drug development programs aimed at nonpeptidic inhibitors targeted at uPA have focused on arginino mimetics containing amidine or guanidine functional groups attached to aromatic or heterocyclic scaffolds. There is a general problem of limited bioavailability of these charged inhibitors. In the present study, uPA inhibitors were designed on an isocoumarin scaffold containing uncharged substituents.
Results
4-Chloro-3-alkoxyisocoumarins were synthesized in which the 3-alkoxy group contained a terminal bromine; these were compared with similar inhibitors that contained a charged terminal functional group. Additional variations included functional groups attached to the seven position of the isocoumarin scaffold. N- [3-(3-Bromopropoxy)-4-chloro-1-oxo-1H-isochromen-7-yl]benzamide was identified as an uncharged lead inhibitor of uPA, Ki = 0.034 μM. Molecular modeling of human uPA with these uncharged inhibitors suggests that the bromine occupies the same position as positively charged arginino mimetic groups.
Conclusion
This study demonstrates that potent uncharged inhibitors of uPA can be developed based upon the isocoumarin scaffold. A tethered bromine in the three position and an aromatic group in the seven position are important contributors to binding. Although the aim was to develop compounds that act as mechanism-based inactivators, these inhibitors are competitive reversible inhibitors.
doi:10.1186/1472-6769-6-1
PMCID: PMC1479381  PMID: 16466576
30.  Covalent attachment of the plant natural product naringenin to small glass and ceramic beads 
Background
Natural products have numerous medicinal applications and play important roles in the biology of the organisms that accumulate them. Few methods are currently available for identifying proteins that bind to small molecules, therefore the discovery of cellular targets for natural products with pharmacological activity continues to pose a significant challenge in drug validation. Similarly, the identification of enzymes that participate in the biosynthesis or modification of natural products remains a formidable bottleneck for metabolic engineering. Flavonoids are one large group of natural products with a diverse number of functions in plants and in human health. The coupling of flavonoids to small ceramic and glass beads provides a first step in the development of high-throughput, solid-support base approaches to screen complex libraries to identify proteins that bind natural products.
Results
The utilization of small glass and ceramic beads as solid supports for the coupling of small molecules was explored. Initial characterization of the beads indicated uniform and high capacity loading of amino groups. Once the beads were deemed adequate for the linking of small molecules by the coupling of NHS-fluorescein followed by microscopy, chemical hydrolysis and fluorometry, the flavonoid naringenin was modified with 1,4-dibromobutane, followed by the attachment of aminopropyltriethoxysilane. After NMR structural confirmation, the resulting 7-(4-(3-(triethoxysilyl)propylamino)butoxy) naringenin was attached to the ceramic beads.
Conclusion
Our results demonstrate that ceramic and glass beads provide convenient solid supports for the efficient and facile coupling of small molecules. We succeeded in generating naringenin-coupled ceramic and glass beads. We also developed a convenient series of steps that can be applied for the solid-support coupling of other related flavonoids. The availability of solid-support coupled naringenin opens up new opportunities for the identification of flavonoid-binding proteins.
doi:10.1186/1472-6769-5-3
PMCID: PMC1274306  PMID: 16216122
31.  Electronic properties of amino acid side chains: quantum mechanics calculation of substituent effects 
Background
Electronic properties of amino acid side chains such as inductive and field effects have not been characterized in any detail. Quantum mechanics (QM) calculations and fundamental equations that account for substituent effects may provide insight into these important properties. PM3 analysis of electron distribution and polarizability was used to derive quantitative scales that describe steric factors, inductive effects, resonance effects, and field effects of amino acid side chains.
Results
These studies revealed that: (1) different semiempirical QM methods yield similar results for the electronic effects of side chain groups, (2) polarizability, which reflects molecular deformability, represents steric factors in electronic terms, and (3) inductive effects contribute to the propensity of an amino acid for α-helices.
Conclusion
The data provide initial characterization of the substituent effects of amino acid side chains and suggest that these properties affect electron density along the peptide backbone.
doi:10.1186/1472-6769-5-2
PMCID: PMC1185526  PMID: 16078995
32.  Development of ERK Activity Sensor, an in vitro, FRET-based sensor of Extracellular Regulated Kinase activity 
Background
Study of ERK activation has thus far relied on biochemical assays that are limited to the use of phospho-specific antibodies and radioactivity in vitro, and analysis of whole cell populations in vivo. As with many systems, fluorescence resonance energy transfer (FRET) can be utilized to make highly sensitive detectors of molecular activity. Here we introduce FRET-based ERK Activity Sensors, which utilize variants of Enhanced Green Fluorescent Protein fused by an ERK-specific peptide linker to detect ERK2 activity.
Results
ERK Activity Sensors display varying changes in FRET upon phosphorylation by active ERK2 in vitro depending on the composition of ERK-specific peptide linker sequences derived from known in vivo ERK targets, Ets1 and Elk1. Analysis of point mutations reveals specific residues involved in ERK binding and phosphorylation of ERK Activity Sensor 3. ERK2 also shows high in vitro specificity for these sensors over two other major MAP Kinases, p38 and pSAPK/JNK.
Conclusion
EAS's are a convenient, non-radioactive alternative to study ERK dynamics in vitro. They can be utilized to study ERK activity in real-time. This new technology can be applied to studying ERK kinetics in vitro, analysis of ERK activity in whole cell extracts, and high-throughput screening technologies.
doi:10.1186/1472-6769-5-1
PMCID: PMC1180429  PMID: 15998468
33.  An informatics search for the low-molecular weight chromium-binding peptide 
Background
The amino acid composition of a low molecular weight chromium binding peptide (LMWCr), isolated from bovine liver, is reportedly E:G:C:D::4:2:2:2, though its sequence has not been discovered. There is some controversy surrounding the exact biochemical forms and the action of Cr(III) in biological systems; the topic has been the subject of many experimental reports and continues to be investigated. Clarification of Cr-protein interactions will further understanding Cr(III) biochemistry and provide a basis for novel therapies based on metallocomplexes or small molecules.
Results
A genomic search of the non-redundant database for all possible decapeptides of the reported composition yields three exact matches, EDGEECDCGE, DGEECDCGEE and CEGGCEEDDE. The first two sequences are found in ADAM 19 (A Disintegrin and Metalloproteinase domain 19) proteins in man and mouse; the last is found in a protein kinase in rice (Oryza sativa). A broader search for pentameric sequences (and assuming a disulfide dimer) corresponding to the stoichiometric ratio E:D:G:C::2:1:1:1, within the set of human proteins and the set of proteins in, or related to, the insulin signaling pathway, yields a match at an acidic region in the α-subunit of the insulin receptor (-EECGD-, residues 175–184). A synthetic peptide derived from this sequence binds chromium(III) and forms a metal-peptide complex that has properties matching those reported for isolated LMWCr and Cr(III)-containing peptide fractions.
Conclusion
The search for an acidic decameric sequence indicates that LMWCr may not be a contiguous sequence. The identification of a distinct pentameric sequence in a significant insulin-signaling pathway protein suggests a possible identity for the LMWCr peptide. This identification clarifies directions for further investigation of LMWCr peptide fractions, chromium bio-coordination chemistry and a possible role in the insulin signaling pathway. Implications for models of chromium action in the insulin-signaling pathway are discussed.
doi:10.1186/1472-6769-4-2
PMCID: PMC539358  PMID: 15603587
34.  Redesigned and chemically-modified hammerhead ribozymes with improved activity and serum stability 
Background
Hammerhead ribozymes are RNA-based molecules which bind and cleave other RNAs specifically. As such they have potential as laboratory reagents, diagnostics and therapeutics. Despite having been extensively studied for 15 years or so, their wide application is hampered by their instability in biological media, and by the poor translation of cleavage studies on short substrates to long RNA molecules. This work describes a systematic study aimed at addressing these two issues.
Results
A series of hammerhead ribozyme derivatives, varying in their hybridising arm length and size of helix II, were tested in vitro for cleavage of RNA derived from the carbamoyl phosphate synthetase II gene of Plasmodium falciparum. Against a 550-nt transcript the most efficient (t1/2 = 26 seconds) was a miniribozyme with helix II reduced to a single G-C base pair and with twelve nucleotides in each hybridising arm. Miniribozymes of this general design were targeted to three further sites, and they demonstrated exceptional cleavage activity. A series of chemically modified derivatives was prepared and examined for cleavage activity and stability in human serum. One derivative showed a 103-fold increase in serum stability and a doubling in cleavage efficiency compared to the unmodified miniribozyme. A second was almost 104-fold more stable and only 7-fold less active than the unmodified parent.
Conclusion
Hammerhead ribozyme derivatives in which helix II is reduced to a single G-C base pair cleave long RNA substrates very efficiently in vitro. Using commonly available phosphoramidites and reagents, two patterns of nucleotide substitution in this derivative were identified which conferred both good cleavage activity against long RNA targets and good stability in human serum.
doi:10.1186/1472-6769-4-1
PMCID: PMC544870  PMID: 15588292
35.  Chemical cleavage reactions of DNA on solid support: application in mutation detection 
Background
The conventional solution-phase Chemical Cleavage of Mismatch (CCM) method is time-consuming, as the protocol requires purification of DNA after each reaction step. This paper describes a new version of CCM to overcome this problem by immobilizing DNA on silica solid supports.
Results
DNA test samples were loaded on to silica beads and the DNA bound to the solid supports underwent chemical modification reactions with KMnO4 (potassium permanganate) and hydroxylamine in 3M TEAC (tetraethylammonium chloride) solution. The resulting modified DNA was then simultaneously cleaved by piperidine and removed from the solid supports to afford DNA fragments without the requirement of DNA purification between reaction steps.
Conclusions
The new solid-phase version of CCM is a fast, cost-effective and sensitive method for detection of mismatches and mutations.
doi:10.1186/1472-6769-3-1
PMCID: PMC156887  PMID: 12744723
solid phase; chemical cleavage reaction; mutation detection; chemical modification of DNA
36.  Synthesis and cytotoxicity of a biotinylated CC-1065 analogue 
Background
The use of pretargeting technology for cancer imaging and treatment has made significant progress in the last few years. This approach takes advantage of the fact that biotin binds strongly to proteins avidin and streptavidin. Thus, a non-toxic tumor cell specific antibody is conjugated with avidin/streptavidin, and is administered to patients. After the antibody binds to tumor cells (usually 24–48 h); a clearing agent is given to remove the residual circulating antibodies in blood. Lastly, a toxic biotin-radioisotope conjugate is administered. Due to the small size of the biotin-radioisotope molecule and tight binding between biotin and avidin/streptavidin, the biotin-radioisotope rapidly binds to tumor cells with high specificity. CC-1065 (1) is one of a few classes of extremely potent antitumor agents, and a biotinalyted CBI-bearing CC-1065 analogue is a promising candidate to be used in the pretargeting technology to treat cancer.
Results
A biotinalyted CBI-bearing CC-1065 analogue, 6, was synthesized. The IC50 of 6 was 0.7 nM against U937 cells. Compound 6 caused apototsis of U937 cells.
Conclusions
For the first time, a biotinalyted CBI-bearing CC-1065 analogue, 6, was synthesized. The biotinylated 6 can serve as a model compound to explore the usefulness of non-radioactive small molecule anticancer drugs in the pretargeting strategy for cancer imaging and therapy.
doi:10.1186/1472-6769-2-1
PMCID: PMC65513  PMID: 11846891
37.  Synthesis and preliminary cytotoxicity study of a cephalosporin-CC-1065 analogue prodrug 
Background
Antibody-directed enzyme prodrug therapy (ADEPT) is a promising new approach to deliver anticancer drugs selectively to tumor cells. In this approach, an enzyme is conjugated to a tumor-specific antibody. The antibody selectively localizes the enzyme to the tumor cell surface. Subsequent administration of a prodrug substrate of the enzyme leads to the enzyme-catalyzed release of the free drug at the tumor site. The free drug will destroy the tumor cells selectively, thus, reducing side effects.
Results
A CC-1065 analogue was conjugated to a cephalosporin affording prodrug 2. The prodrug and its corresponding free drug, 1, have IC50 values of 0.9 and 0.09 nM, respectively, against U937 leukemia cells in vitro.
Conclusions
For the first time, a prodrug comprised of a cephalosporin and a CC-1065 analogue has been synthesized. The preliminary in vitro studies show that the prodrug was 10-fold less toxic than the free drug. Prodrug 2 has the potential to be useful in cancer treatment using the ADEPT approach.
doi:10.1186/1472-6769-1-4
PMCID: PMC59845  PMID: 11710971
38.  Di-, tri- and tetra-5'-O-phosphorothioadenosyl substituted polyols as inhibitors of Fhit: Importance of the α-β bridging oxygen and β phosphorus replacement 
Background
The human FHIT gene is inactivated early in the development of many human cancers and loss of Fhit in mouse predisposes to cancer while reintroduction of FHIT suppresses tumor formation via induction of apoptosis. Fhit protein, a diadenosine polyphosphate hydrolase, does not require hydrolase activity to function in tumor suppression and may signal for apoptosis as an enzyme-substrate complex. Thus, high affinity nonhydrolyzable substrate analogs may either promote or antagonize Fhit function, depending on their features, in Fhit + cells. Previously synthesized analogs with phosphorothioadenosyl substitutions and "supercharged" branches do not bind better than natural substrates and thus have limited potential as cellular probes.
Results
Here we link adenosine 5'-O-phosphates and phosphorothioates to short-chain polyols to generate a series of substrate analogs. We obtain structure-activity data in the form of in vitro Fhit inhibition for four types of analog substitutions and describe two compounds, inhibitory constants for which are 65 and 75-fold lower than natural substrates.
Conclusions
The best Fhit inhibitors obtained to date separate two or more 5'-O-phosphoromonothioadenosyl moieties with as many bond lengths as in AppppA, maintain oxygen at the location of the α-β bridging oxygen, and replace carbon for the β phosphorus.
doi:10.1186/1472-6769-1-3
PMCID: PMC59680  PMID: 11701096
39.  Calculated conformer energies for organic molecules with multiple polar functionalities are method dependent: Taxol (case study) 
Background
Molecular mechanics (MM) and quantum chemical (QM) calculations are widely applied and powerful tools for the stereochemical and conformational investigations of molecules. The same methods have been extensively used to probe the conformational profile of Taxol (Figure 1) both in solution and at the β-tubulin protein binding site.
Results
In the present work, the relative energies of seven conformations of Taxol derived from NMR and X-ray analyses were compared with a set of widely used force fields and semiempirical MO methods coupled to a continuum solvent treatment. The procedures not only diverge significantly in their assessment of relative conformational energies, but none of them provide satisfactory agreement with experiment.
Conclusions
For Taxol, molecular mechanics and semiempirical QM methods are unable to provide a consistent energetic ranking of side-chain conformations. For similar highly polar organic structures, "energy-free" conformational search methods are advised.
doi:10.1186/1472-6769-1-2
PMCID: PMC59844  PMID: 11710970
40.  Analysis of fluorescently labeled substance P analogs: binding, imaging and receptor activation 
Background
Substance P (SP) is a peptide neurotransmitter found in central and peripheral nerves. SP is involved in the control of smooth muscle, inflammation and nociception. The amino acid sequence of SP is Arg-Pro-Lys-Pro-Gln-Gln-Phe-Phe-Gly-Leu-Met-NH2. Five different forms of fluorescently labeled SP have recently been synthesized, in which Alexa 488, BODIPY Fl, fluorescein, Oregon Green 488 or tetramethylrhodamine has been covalently linked to SP at Lys3. Here, these novel analogs are characterized as to their ligand binding, receptor activation and fluorescence labeling properties.
Results
Competition binding studies, using radiolabeled [125I] SP, revealed that all of the labeled forms of SP, except for Alexa 488-SP, effectively competed with radiolabeled SP for binding at the rat SP receptor. With the exception of Alexa 488-SP, all of the SP analogs produced Ca++ elevations and fluorescence labeling of the SP receptor expressed in Chinese hamster ovary cells. In SP-responsive neurons, BODIPY Fl-SP and Oregon Green 488-SP were as effective as unlabeled SP in producing a reduction of the M-type K+ current. Fluorescein-SP produced variable results, while tetramethylrhodamine-SP was less potent and Alexa 488-SP was less effective on intact neurons.
Conclusions
The above results show that fluorescent labeling of SP altered the biological activity and the binding properties of the parent peptide. Oregon Green 488 and BODIPY FL-SP are the most useful fluorophores for labeling SP without affecting its biological activity. Given these results, these probes can now be utilized in further investigations of the mechanisms of SPR function, including receptor localization, internalization and recycling.
doi:10.1186/1472-6769-1-1
PMCID: PMC33344  PMID: 11418083

Results 26-40 (40)