There have developed a variety of microsystems that harness energy and convert it to mechanical motion. Here we developed new autonomous biochemical motors by integrating metal-organic framework (MOF) and self-assembling peptides. MOF is applied as an energy-storing cell that assembles peptides inside nanoscale pores of the coordination framework. The robust assembling nature of peptides enables reconfiguring their assemblies at the water-MOF interface, which is converted to fuel energy. Re-organization of hydrophobic peptides could create the large surface tension gradient around the MOF and it efficiently powers the translation motion of MOF. As a comparison, the velocity of normalized by volume for the DPA-MOF particle is faster and the kinetic energy per the unit mass of fuel is more than twice as large as the one for previous gel motor systems. This demonstration opens the new application of MOF and reconfigurable molecular self-assembly and it may evolve into the smart autonomous motor that mimic bacteria to swim and harvest target chemicals by integrating recognition units.
We highlight our recent applications of functional peptide nanotubes, self-assembled from short peptides with recognition elements, as building blocks to develop sensors. Peptide nanotubes with high aspect ratios are excellent building blocks for directed assembly into device configurations, and their combining structures with the nanometric diameters and the micrometric lengths enables to bridge the nano-world and the micro-world.
peptide nanotube; biosensor; self-assembly; pathogens; heavy metals; bionanotechnology; electrochemistry
Genetically-engineered collagen peptides were assembled into freestanding films when QDs are co-assembled as joints between collagen domains. These peptide based films show excellent mechanical properties with Young’s modulus of ~20 GPa, much larger than most of multi-composite polymer films and previously reported freestanding nanoparticle-assembled sheets, and it is even close to the bone tissue in nature. These films show little permanent deformation under small indentation while the mechanical hysteresis becomes remarkable when the load approaches near and beyond the rupture point, which is also characteristic to the bone tissue.
Inguinal hernias often occur after radical retropubic prostatectomy (RRP). We present a novel and simple technique for preventing inguinal hernias after RRP, which any surgeon can complete within a few minutes.
A total of 230 Japanese prostate cancer patients underwent RRP between January 2007 and September 2011. From July 2009, 115 patients underwent inguinal hernia prevention procedures at the same time as RRP. In this procedure, we released approximately 5 cm of the bilateral vas deferens and spermatic vessels from the peritoneum. In cases in which the processus vaginalis had spread into the abdomen, we ligated it close to the peritoneal cavity and then transected it. The remaining 115 patients who underwent RRP but did not undergo the hernia prevention procedure were used as the control group. The incidence rate of postoperative inguinal hernia was compared between the 2 groups.
Inguinal hernias developed during the postoperative follow-up period in 18 of the 115 control patients (15.7%) (median duration, 50 months). The hernia-free survival rate of this group was 89.6% and 84.1% at 1 and 2 postoperative years, respectively. In contrast, only 1 of the 115 patients (0.87%) who underwent the hernia prevention procedure developed an inguinal hernia during the follow-up period (median duration, 27 months). The hernia-free survival rate of this group was 100% at both 1 and 2 postoperative years (P<0.0001).
We developed a simple method for preventing post-RRP inguinal hernias. The procedure is easy to perform and produces excellent outcomes.
Inguinal hernia; Control and prevention; Prostate neoplasms; Prostatectomy
To investigate the clinical efficacy of low-dose chlormadinone acetate (CMA) in prostate cancer patients who suffer from hot flushes that is a major side effect of androgen deprivation therapy.
Our study included 32 prostate cancer patients who had severe hot flush after undergoing hormone therapy for more than 3 months. The average age of the patients was 72.5 years. In the beginning, patients received CMA at 100 mg orally per day. We defined the hot flush as disappeared, improved, or not improved. In patients with disappeared or improved symptoms, we decreased CMA dose to 50 mg per day, and after we reevaluated the effect, we decreased CMA dose to 25 mg per day. When hot flush appeared again at 25 mg per day, we returned the dose of CMA to 50 mg per day. In cases with no change for more than two months, we canceled the treatment of CMA.
Hot flush disappeared in 17 patients, improved in 10 patients, and did not improve in 5 patients (reduction in 84% of hot flush patients). The median time to hot flush reduction was 1.16 months. The effect of CMA was maintained at 25 mg per day in 19 patients and at 50 mg per day in 8 patients. No patients had prostate-specific antigen failure in the treatment of CMA.
When hot flush appears during treatment with luteinizing hormone-releasing hormone agonist for prostate cancer, it seems that CMA can improve it immediately in most patients.
Hormonal antineoplastic agents; Chlormadinone acetate; Hot flashes; Prostate neoplasms
The β form of p120 is reported to be a strong coactivator of the androgen receptor. We investigated the gene expression profiles of the α and β forms of p120 in prostate cancer cell lines, benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), nontreated prostate cancer (NTPC), and prostate cancer after androgen deprivation therapy (PCA-ADT).
We obtained 154 prostate needle biopsy specimens (81 in BPH, 51 in NTPC, and 22 in PCA-ADT). Levels of p120α and β expression were determined by multiplex real-time polymerase chain reaction.
Prostate cancer cell lines, LNCaP, PC-3, DU-145, and LNCaP-LA, which is a derivative of LNCaP under androgen deprivation, expressed both p120α and p120β. p120α expression levels were significantly higher than those of p120β in all cell lines examined. In human prostate tissues, p120α expression was significantly higher than that of p120β in BPH and NTPC. p120α expression in BPH was significantly higher than in other groups. In contrast, p120β expression was significantly higher in NTPC and PCA-ADT than in BPH. Expression of the two forms of p120 was not correlated with age, prostate-specific antigen, or Gleason score.
The expression profiles of p120α and p120β significantly differ in cancerous and benign prostatic tissues.
Androgen receptor; Nuclear coactivator; Prostatic neoplasms
catalytic peptides; biomineralization; phage display; nanocrystals; ZnO; bionanotechnology
Capacitances of five types of viruses, adenovirus type 5 (AV 5) herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV1), simian virus 40 (SV40), vaccinia (MVA), and cowpea mosaic virus (CPMV) were compared by AC capacitance scanning probe microscopy. This technique, using a Pt-coated AFM tip as an electrode to probe capacitance of materials between the tip and a bottom electrode, has been applied to study surface structures of semiconductors and polymers with nanometer spacial resolution, however biological samples at the nanoscale have not been explored by this technique yet. Because most biological cells are poor conductors, this approach to probe electric properties of cells by capacitance is logical. This scanning probe technique (SPM) showed that all of these viruses have distinguishable and characteristic capacitances, respectively. Series of control experiments were carried out using mutant viruses in order to validate the origin of the characteristic capacitance responses for different viruses. A mutation on the capsid in HSV1 virus with green fluorescence proteins (GFP) increased capacitance from 9×10−6 F/cm2 to 1×10−5 F/cm2 at the frequency of 104 Hz. HSV2 virus decreased capacitance when its envelope and glycoproteins were chemically extracted. These control experiments indicate that dielectric properties of capsid proteins and envelope glycoproteins significantly influence overall dielectric constants of viruses. Because those capsid proteins and glycoproteins are characteristic to the virus strain, this technique could be applied to detect and identify viruses at the single viron level using their distinct capacitance spectra as fingerprints without labeling.
AC impedance; Bionanotechnology; Capacitance; Virus; Sensor; Label-free detection
While cancer is still an implacable disease, many cancers can be cured if they are diagnosed in an early stage. Recently, it was reported that the transformation from normal cells to cancer cells can change their mechanoelastic properties to become softer and more deformable. If some cancer cells are more deformable, then a progressive increase of the volume of softer cancer cells should be induced as an abrupt change in osmolarity is applied. Based on this hypothesis, we developed a sensor that can electronically monitor the volume increase of cancer cells under hyposmotic pressure. By this methodology, K:Molv NIH 3T3 cells, 786-O human kidney carcinoma cells, and MPSC-1 ovarian cancer cells were successfully detected within 30 minutes using on the order of 10 cells. These cancer cells could be detected with the same sensitivity even in the presence of a vast excess of the respective non-cancerous cells (NIH 3T3 cells, Human Embryonic Kidney (HEK) 293 cells, ovarian surface epithelial (OSE) cells). Since the proposed impedimetric sensor could be useful for detecting cancer cells fast and reliably, it could be further implemented in the screening of large populations of tissue samples and the detection of circulating tumor cells for point-of-care applications.
Biomolecules such as enzymes and antibodies possess binding sites where the molecular architecture and the physicochemical properties are optimum for their interaction with a particular target, in some cases even differentiating between stereoisomers. Here, we mimic this exquisite specificity via the creation of a suitable chemical environment by fabricating artificial binding sites for the protein calmodulin (CaM). By downscaling well-known surface chemical modification methodologies to the nanometer scale via silicon nanopatterning, the Ca2+-CaM conformer was found to selectively bind the biomimetic binding sites. The methodology could be adapted to mimic other protein-receptor interactions for sensing and catalysis.
The risk of infectious diseases has compelled some industries to establish a zero-tolerance standard for the presence of microorganisms in a given sample. Here, we address this issue with a novel reverse-phase immunoassay on impedimetric transducers for the specific detection of extremely low numbers of pathogens (less than 10 cells). After simply spotting the sample onto the electrodes, physisorbed analytes were targeted with urease-labeled antibodies, and the urease on the pathogens hydrolyzed urea to ionic species with a concomitant decrease of the resistivity of the solution. By this methodology, the limit of detection (LOD) based on the 3σ criterion was 1 Escherichia coli cell with an assay time under 1 h. However, the precise number of cells present in highly diluted samples is uncertain, making it difficult to assess the final LOD of the sensor. We overcome this problem by using an atomic force microscope to deposit and image in situ the exact number cells on the transducer. After performing the immunoassay, a single E. coli cell was successfully detected without ambiguity in the number of cells even in the presence of a 104 excess of a competing microorganism, thus demonstrating the outstanding LOD and selectivity of the proposed reverse-phase immunoassay.
Detection of physical changes of cells is emerging as a new diagnostic approach to determine their phenotypical features. One of such changes is related to their viability; live (viable) cells are more voluminous than the dead ones, and monitoring this parameter in tissue cells becomes essential in fields such as drug discovery and hazard evaluation. In the area of pathogen detection, an analytical system capable of specifically detecting viable cells with the simple sample preparation and detection process would be highly desirable since live microorganisms can rapidly increase their numbers even at extremely low concentration and become a severe health risk. However, current sensing strategies cannot clearly determine the viability of cells, and hence they are susceptible to false-positive signals from harmless dead pathogens. Here we developed a robust electronic immunoassay that uses a pair of polycrystalline silicon interdigitated electrodes for the rapid detection of pathogens with high specificity for live cells. After bacterial cells were specifically anchored to the surface of the antibody-modified electrode, the characteristic geometry of the transducer enables the selective detection of viable cells with a limit of detection of 3 × 102 cfu/mL and an incubation time of only 1 h. The CMOS compatible fabrication process of the chip along with the label-free, reagentless electronic detection and the easy electrode regeneration to recycle for another impedance measurement make this approach an excellent candidate for oncoming economical in-field viable-cell detection systems, fully integrable with sophisticated signal processing circuits.
Biomineralization Nanolithography: Combination of Bottom-Up and Top-Down Fabrications to Grow Arrays of Monodisperse Au Nanoparticles along Peptide Lines on Substrates
Combination of the top-down (peptide nanolithography) and the bottom-up fabrications (biomineralization) yielded arrays of monodisperse Au nanoparticles on the peptide lines on substrates. The number of particle lines was simply determined by the width of peptide pattern.
Biomineralization; Nanolithography; Bionanotechnology; Nanoparticle; Peptide
Gastro-intestinal mucosal cells have a potent mechanism to eliminate a variety of pathogens using enzymes that generate reactive oxygen species and/or nitric oxide (NO). However, a large number of bacteria survive in the intestine of human subjects. Enterococcus faecalis (E. faecalis) is a Gram-positive bacterium that survives not only in the intestinal lumen but also within macrophages generating NO. It has been reported that E. faecalis generated the superoxide radical (O2−). To elucidate the role of O2− and NO in the mechanism for the pathogen surviving in the intestine and macrophages, we studied the role and metabolism of O2− and NO in and around E. faecalis. Kinetic analysis revealed that E. faecalis generated 0.5 µmol O2−/min/108 cells in a glucose-dependent manner as determined using the cytochrome c reduction method. The presence of NOC12, an NO donor, strongly inhibited the growth of E. faecalis without affecting in the oxygen consumption. However, the growth rate of NOC12-pretreated E. faecalis in NO-free medium was similar to that of untreated cells. Western blotting analysis revealed that the NOC12-treated E. faecalis revealed a large amount of nitrotyrosine-posititive proteins; the amounts of the modified proteins were higher in cytosol than in membranes. These observations suggested that O2− generated by E. faecalis reacted with NO to form peroxinitrite (ONOO−) that preferentially nitrated tyrosyl residues in cytosolic proteins, thereby reversibly inhibited cellular growth. Since E. faecalis survives even within macrophages expressing NO synthase, similar metabolism of O2− and NO may occur in and around phagocytized macrophages.
Enterococcus faecalis; Superoxide; nitric oxide; peroxynitrite; nitro-tyrosine
Pz peptidase A has been cocrystallized with a phosphine peptide inhibitor (PPI) that selectively inhibits thimet oligopeptidase and neurolysin.
Pz peptidase A is an intracellular M3 metallopeptidase found in the thermophile Geobacillus collagenovorans MO-1 that recognizes collagen-specific tripeptide units (Gly-Pro-Xaa). Pz peptidase A shares common reactions with mammalian thimet oligopeptidase (TOP) and neurolysin, but has extremely low primary sequence identity to these enzymes. In this work, Pz peptidase A was cocrystallized with a phosphine peptide inhibitor (PPI) that selectively inhibits TOP and neurolysin. The crystals belong to space group P21, with unit-cell parameters a = 56.38, b = 194.15, c = 59.93 Å, β = 106.22°. This is the first crystallographic study of an M3 family peptidase–PPI complex.
Pz peptidase A; M3 metallopeptidases; collagen degradation; Geobacillus collangenovorans MO-1
The room temperature synthesis of β-Ga2O3 nanocrystal was examined by coupling two biomimetic crystallization techniques, the enzymatic peptide nano-assembly templating and the aggregation-driven crystallization. The catalytic template of peptide assembly nucleated and mineralized primary β-Ga2O3 crystals, and then fused them to grow single-crystalline and monodisperse nanoparticles in the cavity of the peptide assembly at room temperature. In this work, the peptide assembly was exploited as a nano-reactor with an enzymatic functionality catalyzing the hydrolysis of gallium precursors. In addition, the characteristic ring-structure of peptide assembly is expected to provide an efficient dehydration pathway and the crystallization control over the surface tension, which are advantageous for the β-Ga2O3 crystal growth. This multifunctional peptide assembly could be applied for syntheses of a variety of nanomaterials that are kinetically difficult to grow at room temperature.
Self-assembly; Bionanotechnology; Biomineralization; Peptide; Nanoreactors
Preliminary X-ray crystallographic study of a proline-specific aminopepitdase from Aneurinibacillus sp, strain AM-1 was carried out.
To elucidate the structure and molecular mechanism of a characteristic proline-specific aminopeptidase produced by the thermophile Aneurinibacillus sp. strain AM-1, its gene was cloned and the recombinant protein was overexpressed in Escherichia coli, purified and crystallized using the hanging-drop vapour-diffusion method. X-ray diffraction data were collected to 1.8 Å resolution from the recombinant aminopeptidase crystal. The crystals belong to the orthorhombic space group P21212, with unit-cell parameters a = 93.62, b = 68.20, c = 76.84 Å. A complete data set was also obtained from crystals of SeMet-substituted aminopeptidase. Data in the resolution range 20–2.1 Å from the MAD data set from the SeMet-substituted crystal were used for phase determination.
proline-specific aminopeptidase; Aneurinibacillus sp. strain AM-1; thermophiles
We present web servers for analysis of non-coding RNA sequences on the basis of their secondary structures. Software tools for structural multiple sequence alignments, structural pairwise sequence alignments and structural motif findings are available from the integrated web server and the individual stand-alone web servers. The servers are located at http://software.ncrna.org, along with the information for the evaluation and downloading. This website is freely available to all users and there is no login requirement.
A collagen-degrading thermophile, Geobacillus collagenovorans MO-1, extracellularly produces a collagenolytic protease with a large molecular mass. Complete nucleotide sequencing of this gene after gene cloning revealed that the collagenolytic protease is a member of the subtilisin family of serine proteases and consists of a signal sequence for secretion, a prosequence for maturation, a catalytic region, 14 direct repeats of 20 amino acids at the C terminus, and a region with unknown function intervening between the catalytic region and the numerous repeats. Since the unusual repeats are most likely to be cleaved in the secreted form of the enzyme, the intervening region was investigated to determine whether it participates in collagen binding to facilitate collagen degradation. It was found that the mature collagenolytic protease containing the intervening region at the C terminus bound collagen but not the other insoluble proteins, elastin and keratin. Furthermore, the intervening region fused with glutathione S-transferase showed a collagen-binding ability comparable to that of the mature collagenolytic protease. The collagen-binding ability was finally attributed to two-thirds of the intervening region which is rich in β-strands and is approximately 35 kDa in molecular mass. In the collagenolytic protease from strain MO-1, hydrogen bonds most likely predominate over the hydrophobic interaction for collagen binding, since a higher concentration of NaCl released collagen from the enzyme surface but a nonionic detergent could not. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first report of a thermophilic collagenolytic protease containing the collagen-binding segment.
A collagen-degrading thermophile, Geobacillus collagenovorans MO-1, was found to produce two metallopeptidases that hydrolyze the synthetic substrate 4-phenylazobenzyloxycarbonyl-Pro-Leu-Gly-Pro-d-Arg (Pz-PLGPR), containing the collagen-specific sequence -Gly-Pro-X-. The peptidases, named Pz peptidases A and B, were purified to homogeneity and confirmed to hydrolyze collagen-derived oligopeptides but not collagen itself, indicating that Pz peptidases A and B contribute to collagen degradation in collaboration with a collagenolytic protease in G. collagenovorans MO-1. There were many similarities between Pz peptidases A and B in their catalytic properties; however, they had different molecular masses and shared no antigenic groups against the respective antibodies. Their primary structures clarified from the cloned genes showed lower identity (22%). From homology analysis for proteolytic enzymes in the database, the two Pz peptidases belong to the M3B family. In addition, Pz peptidases A and B shared high identities of over 70% with unassigned peptidases and oligopeptidase F-like peptidases of the M3B family, respectively. Those homologue proteins are putative in the genome database but form two distinct segments, including Pz peptidases A and B, in the phylogenic tree. Mammalian thimet oligopeptidases, which were previously thought to participate in collagen degradation and share catalytic identities with Pz peptidases, were found to have lower identities in the overall primary sequence with Pz peptidases A and B but a significant resemblance in the vicinity of the catalytic site.
We previously observed secretion of active-form transglutaminase in Corynebacterium glutamicum by coexpressing the subtilisin-like protease SAM-P45 from Streptomyces albogriseolus to process the prodomain. However, the N-terminal amino acid sequence of the transglutaminase differed from that of the native Streptoverticillium mobaraense enzyme. In the present work we have used site-directed mutagenesis to generate an optimal SAM-P45 cleavage site in the C-terminal region of the prodomain. As a result, native-type transglutaminase was secreted.
The transglutaminase secreted by Streptoverticillium mobaraense is a useful enzyme in the food industry. A fragment of transglutaminase was secreted by Corynebacterium glutamicum when it was coupled on a plasmid to the promoter and signal peptide of a cell surface protein from C. glutamicum. We analyzed the signal peptide and the pro-domain of the transglutaminase gene and found that the signal peptide consists of 31 amino acid residues and the pro-domain consists of 45 residues. When the pro-domain of the transglutaminase was used, the pro-transglutaminase was secreted efficiently by C. glutamicum but had no enzymatic activity. However, when the plasmid carrying the S. mobaraense transglutaminase also encoded SAM-P45, a subtilisin-like serine protease derived from Streptomyces albogriseolus, the peptide bond to the C side of 41-Ser of the pro-transglutaminase was hydrolyzed, and the pro-transglutaminase was converted to an active form. Our findings suggest that C. glutamicum has potential as a host for industrial-scale protein production.
In the heat shock response of bacillary cells, HrcA repressor proteins negatively control the expression of the major heat shock genes, the groE and dnaK operons, by binding the CIRCE (controlling inverted repeat of chaperone expression) element. Studies on two critical but yet unresolved issues related to the structure and function of HrcA were performed using mainly the HrcA from the obligate thermophile Bacillus thermoglucosidasius KP1006. These two critical issues are (i) identifying the region at which HrcA binds to the CIRCE element and (ii) determining whether HrcA can play the role of a thermosensor. We identified the position of a helix-turn-helix (HTH) motif in B. thermoglucosidasius HrcA, which is typical of DNA-binding proteins, and indicated that two residues in the HTH motif are crucial for the binding of HrcA to the CIRCE element. Furthermore, we compared the thermostabilities of the HrcA-CIRCE complexes derived from Bacillus subtilis and B. thermoglucosidasius, which grow at vastly different ranges of temperature. The thermostability profiles of their HrcA-CIRCE complexes were quite consistent with the difference in the growth temperatures of B. thermoglucosidasius and B. subtilis and, thus, suggested that HrcA can function as a thermosensor to detect temperature changes in cells.
The Helix Research Institute (HRI) in Japan is releasing 4356
HUman Novel Transcripts and related information in the newly established
HUNT database. The institute is a joint research project principally funded
by the Japanese Ministry of International Trade and Industry, and
the clones were sequenced in the governmental New Energy and Industrial
Technology Development Organization (NEDO) Human cDNA Sequencing
Project. The HUNT database contains an extensive amount of annotation
from advanced analysis and represents an essential bioinformatics
contribution towards understanding of the gene function. The HRI human
cDNA clones were obtained from full-length enriched cDNA libraries
constructed with the oligo-capping method and have resulted in novel
full-length cDNA sequences. A large fraction has little similarity
to any proteins of known function and to obtain clues about possible
function we have developed original analysis procedures. Any putative
function deduced here can be validated or refuted by complementary
analysis results. The user can also extract information from specific
categories like PROSITE patterns, PFAM domains, PSORT localization,
transmembrane helices and clones with GENIUS structure assignments.
The HUNT database can be accessed at http://www.hri.co.jp/HUNT.